News on Microsoft’s aging Windows XP operating system has surprisingly been coming in at a steady pace over the past few weeks. Although Windows Vista is Microsoft’s current bread-and-butter consumer operating system, there is still much love to go around for Windows XP.
In late September, DailyTech reported that Microsoft is providing XP downgrades for unhappy Vista customers. Microsoft followed up on that news a few days later with the announcement that Windows XP sales would be extended to June 30, 2008.
The company followed up with a new build of Internet Explorer 7.0 for Windows XP that doesn’t require product activation and released a Service Pack 3 (SP3) beta for a select group of testers.
The latest SP3 beta is labeled as build 3205 and is a rather small 334.92 MB download. The bloggers over at NeoSmart have gotten a hold of the new SP3 release and have detailed many of the new features and bugfixes with the software update.
According to NeoSmart, SP3 contains 1,073 hotfixes and patches; 114 of which are security related. SP3 also adds four major features to the Windows XP operating systems.
The first is a new activation scheme which will not require a product key during installation. The second feature is a new Network Access Protection Module first featured in Windows Vista. Other new items include a Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographics Module and a Black Hole Router detection algorithm.
The release of SP3 coupled with the announcement that XP will be available to businesses and consumers for a longer period of time could breathe new life into the venerable operating system. Many gamers have stuck by the operating system and OEMs like HP and Dell still offer XP on brand new systems.