Microsoft says XP SP3 complete, available imminently

Microsoft Monday completed work on Windows XP SP3. The company said the final code of the service pack has been released to manufacturing and now is working its way to OEMs and corporate customers. Access via Microsoft's Automatic Update feature will begin April 29.

XP SP3 has been a long time coming, with new beta code released just last month. It includes all the previously released updates for Windows XP, including security updates, and is for x86 machines only.

Windows XP was given a reprieve late last year when Microsoft extended its availability date to June 30, 2008, after customers complained they were not willing or ready to migrate to Vista. The software, which was the XP SP2 version that included security improvements, originally had been slated to be taken out of OEM and retail channels on Jan. 30.

Microsoft reiterated earlier this month that it would not extend the Windows XP deadline a second time and that June 30 remains the cutoff date.

In its final release, XP SP3 will be supported as a guest operating system on Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology, which is slated to ship in the fall.

Microsoft last month released the first feature-complete beta of Hyper-V, which is an add-on to Windows Server 2008.

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