Windows XP SP3 RC2 Refreshed and Re-Released!

A new version of Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 2 was made available for download today, February 27, 2008.

At the beginning of the month, immediately on the heels of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RTM, XP SP3 moved from RC Refresh 2 into RC2 stage. The initial RC2 build was a private release, dropped exclusively to some 15,000 testers, but then Microsoft went public with the build. Now, the Redmond company has done it again, so to speak. A new, refreshed and re-released version of Windows XP SP3 RC2 can be grabbed, both via Windows Update or as a standalone download.

However, despite the fact that the new version of XP SP3 RC2 is up for grabs, the Redmond company failed to breathe a single word on the new release. Microsoft has managed to remain mute not only on the release to manufacturing date of XP SP3, but also on the development milestones of the service pack. The latest version opened to the XP SP2 users makes no exception. As was the case with the first XP SP3 RC2 build, a registry script will permit XP SP2 machines to detect, download and install the Release Candidate 2 version of the service pack through Windows Updates.

"Download the script and run it on a machine currently running Windows XP Service Pack 2. The script sets a registry key on your system. The registry key is required for Windows Update to recognize your machine as a valid target for Windows XP Service Pack 3 RC2," Microsoft explained.

The Release Candidate notes for the latest version of XP SP3 RC2 have not been touched in the least. Every detail is exactly the same as in the previous build of XP SP3 RC2. But now, Microsoft has also made available the German, English and Japanese standalone versions of XP SP3 RC2, weighing 312.0 MB for WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-DEU.exe, 315.2 MB for WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-ENU.exe and 324.5 MB for WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-JPN.exe.

"Versions of Windows XP Service Pack 3 prior to Release Candidate 2 should be removed before attempting to use the registry key. Windows Update will not offer Release Candidate 2 to machines with previous versions of the Windows XP Service Pack 3 beta. It is recommended that you apply the resulting update package to an activated, genuine copy of Windows XP, in a test environment. As with any pre-release software, it is also recommended that you back up files and settings on your machine before applying this update package," Microsoft informed.

Note: When I tried to install the new Windows XP SP3 RC2 build on top of XP SP2 on a machine where SP3 had never been deployed, I got an "access denied error" and installation failed. At the time of this article, all efforts to deploy the standalone package of XP SP3 RC2 resulted in failed attempts.

Download: Windows XP SP3 RC2


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