The release candidate of Windows XP Service Pack 3 is now available at Microsoft's download site.
The move marks the first opportunity for all users of the six-year-old operating system to try out its final upgrade. Previously, several thousand users were given access to test builds of SP3 only by Microsoft's invitation.
According to a company spokeswoman, Windows XP SP3 RC (release candidate) will be available only from the Microsoft Download Center. Unlike Vista SP1, which debuted last week, XP SP3 will not be soon added to Windows Update. In fact, the spokeswoman seemed to say SP3 wouldn't be offered to users via Microsoft's update service before the service pack is finished next year.
"XP SP3 2ill be added to WU [Windows Update] in 1H '08," she said in an e-mail late Tuesday.
The download weighed in at about 336MB, but when SP3 is offered through Windows Update, the installation file will be much smaller -- around 70MB.
Even though the release candidate can be installed by anyone running XP SP2, Microsoft warned off casual users from trying the preview. "As this is a release candidate, we strongly encourage only those who are comfortable installing pre-release code to download Windows XP SP3," said the spokeswoman.
The spokeswoman also confirmed that the final version of Windows XP SP3 remains slated for delivery in the first half of 2008.
Thinking about it. Probably will pass for now.
Edited by Major Payne, 26 December 2007 - 05:59 PM.