It's official – the wait
for Windows XP Service Pack 3
is officially over, with the update finally making its way to a permanent home at Windows Update yesterday.
Although the issue which resulted in the update being withdrawn from the Windows Update site – a critical incompatibility with Microsoft's RMS point-of-sale software – has yet to be fixed, a filter has been introduced that prevents the service pack being downloaded if you are running software affected by the bug.
For the vast majority of users, Service Pack 3 should be a seamless install – at least, as seamless as major system updates ever are under Windows – which holds the promise of a ten percent performance boost on average, along with various security updates and bug fixes. If you're the anal retentive type, you'll also be pleased to find that the vast majority of entries in Add or Remove Programs
for Windows updates also get tidied up into a generic Windows XP Service Pack 3
The update is also freed for installation via Automatic Updates, so if your system is configured to automatically download new patches expect a reboot in the near future as your Windows install gets automagically upgraded to the latest version.
This latest service pack for the popular Windows XP operating system is also likely to be its last, as Microsoft gently 'encourages' users to upgrade to its latest and greatest, Vista.
Was anybody waiting for the official download to be made available via Windows (and Microsoft) Update, or did we all install the standalone version from the link provided by phuzz
? Share your thoughts over in the forums