Windows XP SP3 Beta (Build 3205) Released – Analysis Included

Following our coverage of the Windows XP SP3 beta leak almost a month ago in August, here’s some more info on the official beta, which just had its first authorized distributable released earlier today. Say hello to Windows XP SP3, build 3205!

While Microsoft’s [[MSFT]] newly-released build and the one leaked a month ago (Build 3180) may share the same name, we can exclusively reveal that they are not identical releases. This release, also shipped as windowsxp-kb936929-sp3-x86-enu.exe, is 334.2 megabytes and has been made available to tier-one Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP1 beta testers. Hashes are as follows:

CRC: 56e08837
MD5: c8c24ec004332198c47b9ac2b3d400f7

Along with the standalone installer redistributables (in English, Japanese, and German), Microsoft also provided the usual release notes and a list of all the hotfixes included in this release. Contrary to popular belief, Windows XP SP3 does ship with all-new features – not just patches and hotfixes, most of them backported from Windows Vista:

  • New Windows Product Activation model: no need to enter product key during setup. Thank God for that!
  • Network Access Protection modules and policies have been brought to XP after being one of the more-well-received features in Windows Vista. You can read more about NAP here.
  • New Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module – the Windows XP SP3 kernel now includes an entire module that provides easy access to multiple cryptographic algorithms and is available for use in kernel-mode drivers and services.
  • New “Black Hole Router” detection – Windows XP SP3 can detect and protect against rogue routers that are discarding data.

Windows XP SP3 is compatible with all versions of Windows x86, included Embedded, Fundamentals, Start, Professional, Media Center, and Home Editions.

Windows XP SP3 now contains 1,073 patches/hotfixes, not including those in previous service packs. Of the 1,073 included updates, 114 are for security-related issues. The remainder are updates to performance & reliability, bugfixes, improvements to kernel-mode driver modules, and many BSOD fixes.

As with Service Pack 2, these include both previously publicly-available updates (whether through or via Windows Update) as well as any and all privately-redistributed updates for select customers or partners with specific problems/scenarios.

The first included update: KB123456 (April 7, 2006). The last: KB942367 (September 29, 2007).

We’re checking with our MS contacts if we can provide you with the actual comprehensive list of updates included in Windows XP SP3, along with their descriptions and KB article links.

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  • 50 thoughts on “Windows XP SP3 Beta (Build 3205) Released – Analysis Included

    1. Sometimes, I used to get the feeling before Vista was released that XP was MS’s special OS, with which they finally gave customers the real deal. I know this is mad but still.

    2. Interesting news.  Looks like the NAP article also confirms SP3.  SP3 would at least make it easier to setup new XP installations w/o downloading all those updates everytime!

    3. “Windows XP SP3 is compatible with all versions of Windows x86, included Embedded, Fundamentals, Start, Professional, Media Center, and Home Editions.”

       It would help if you properly read the release notes regarding compatibility with some of those editions which also, as the document stated, is supposed to be under NDA.

    4. Don’t be ridiculous – Microsoft has never made the beta experience itself NDA’d.

      While the documents themselves might be under the NDA, posting stuff like screenshots and saying “I was able to install this on Windows X edition” are perfectly OK.

      Get a life.

    5. “While the documents themselves might be under the NDA, posting stuff like screenshots and saying ?I was able to install this on Windows X edition? are perfectly OK.”

       The info regarding compatibility was taken DIRECTLY from the document except he forgot to read/see the “should not install” regarding some of those editions.

       Also, those all-new features list are also taken directly from the document.


    6. To me, the fact that that information could have been experimentally determined is enough. But I’m not an MS-lackey, so excuse me.

    7. “To me, the fact that that information could have been experimentally determined is enough. But I?m not an MS-lackey, so excuse me.”


      Oh I’m sure it could but how many people do you know that have “Embedded, Fundamentals, Start” installed to try it on.

    8. Therefore it isn’t a big deal….

      Sorry to have been a bit rude, I just don’t think that (rather obvious) statement was worth any worrying πŸ™‚

      Anyway, peace out.

    9. you’re both bickering like old ladies over a hand of bridge. Act like mature adults.

    10. I just downloaded it, (x86 english) and it breaks XPize… Maybe XPize needs to release a new version to be compatible.

    11. Man, how can Micro$oft expect their .net platform to get more market share if they don’t even distribute it the way they should?

    12. Sp3 does not have IE7 or .NET in it, for the same reasons ComputerGuru cites on 10/9 12:03 pm post above.

      And unless someone here is a lawyer, I don’t how to really say what the legal difference is between posting one’s “beta experience” vs. a straight copy and paste from documents that are under NDA.

      Also depends on the beta program. A public beta? Post away. A private beta, like the one they had for Halo 3? People lose access, accounts and money posting info, or even posting that they’re part of the beta in the first place. It all depends. neoSmart might be getting a pat on the back, or a knock on the door. Who knows.

    13. I don’t think it’s about legality so much as it is the fact that msoft has previously encouraged testers to post their beta experiences…

    14. How about the x64 version? Will it also be released? I mean the Service Pack 3 for Win XP x64

    15. Probably not for a long time – SP2 for x64 just came out a couple of months ago.

      Don’t let the naming fool you though, SP2 for x64 contains most of what’s in SP3 for x86.

    16. I’ve heard rumors of SP3 for so so long, now to find out its in beta makes me so happy. Like a 4 year old on Christmas, happy.

    17. “New Windows Product Activation model: no need to enter product key during setup.”

      What exactly does that mean, that installing a fresh copy of the OS no longer requires the key code? Then how do you tell if it’s a valid code? Just go through the entire install and find out when the activation fails? Having no key code during installation could be more convenient if you know you have a legit code, but I’d rather find out that the OEM/wrong version/pirated key code I’m trying to re-format for someone is wrong at the start of an installation, not the end.

    18. It just becomes the same thing as Windows Vista. You can install and use Windows for 30 days without activation, and without even trying to enter a serial. Then you can dig out that serial key and enter it 30 days on, if it doesn’t work, you keep on trying.

      Take it from somone who has reinstalled Vista over 200 times since it’s release w/out deployment servers or unattended installs: it’s a huge relief and a big timesaver.

    19. I’ve been under NDA on various Microsoft beta programs, sometimes for years at a stretch, both as an individual tester and in various corporate roles. I assure you, the NDA contracts are air-tight. This is not just my own interpretation, but the opinions of corporate attorneys from a couple of the companies I’ve worked for, one of which is a vast Fortune 50 monster.

      You can tell people you’re beta-testing XYZ, but that’s about the extent of what you’re allowed to say. Details are off-limits, and screen shots are so far out of bounds it isn’t even funny. I’ve also been involved with one pre-beta under NDA, and with that contract we couldn’t even talk about the fact that the project exists. I assume once it’s in beta, Microsoft at least publicly acknowledges the product in question is real.

      Oddly, I was also once employed by a company to do some design and prototyping work for Microsoft (it later became their certification testing software) and that particular effort wasn’t under any contractual restrictions at all. It wasn’t in our best interests to discuss it, but MS had no demands of confidentiality that I can recall.

      In any case, Microsoft takes it’s NDAs very seriously, and anyone who assures you otherwise either has no direct experience with them, or is simply lying about it. Either way, it’s not the kind of legal advice I’d gamble on, personally.

    20. Hmm, interesting. Thanks for the info Computer Guru. With everyone fearing Vista I haven’t been able to play with it much, but I’m sure plenty of people will continue to decimate their XP machines and I’ll get to try this new system out.

    21. If you’re not in the official beta, you cannot legally obtain Windows XP SP3 at the moment.

      We expect Microsoft to open up the program to the general public in the coming weeks.

    22. 1073 patches excl. SP2 ?

      It should be a cumulative patch though.

      So how much patches in total ?

    23. hello for every body i have bad news i try sp3 on windows xp pro sp2 but i have problem on it when i work i have more than one message πŸ˜‰ “don’t send” i hate this so i remove sp3 and i work with sp2 and update it from microsoft update πŸ™‚

      sp3 under test not last edition

      take care πŸ˜‰

    24. listen, if you want a genuine download, go to google, and type in kb936929, and the first result = a “” website.

    25. Did anyone else notice this part of the agreement when installing?

      TIME-SENSITIVE SOFTWARE. The Software will
      stop running three hundred sixty (360) days after
      you install it. You will not receive any other notice.
      You may not be able to access data used with the
      Software when it stops running.

    26. there is no need to include IE7 or WMP 11, cuz is up to U if u want 2 upgrade those or not, cuz there is some ppl that doesn’t like IE7 like me, that’s why.

    27. Is there a Service pack 3 for Windows XP x64? and if there isn’t when is it going to be released, and if there is were can I download it.

    28. For those looking for SP3 for Windows XP 64 Bit Edition, I was told by a friend that works for MS Development team that their working on it. As for the release date, not before early 2009. Only a very small team is actually working on it as its not considered urgent. Most all MS’s brain power are either involved with Vista SP2 or Windows 7 due public around 2010. These release dates are speculative as only MS corp can decide of exact release dates, and not their employees.Scoop: Windows 7 is built from Scratch, and will not hold any previous Windows version libraries, so it will have a very small footprint ( 1.4GB’s). Vista is the last OS to carry around the bloat of previous OS’es with it.

    29. I found some problems intalling the Windows XP – Service Pack 3, i have installed it and rebooted my computer… But now, it just dont enters on Windows. It starts loading, finish, then reboot. Someone had the same experience?

    30. Maybe the same people who are working on SP3 for XP x64 are also working on the media connect for the 360, *STILL* no sign of it 2.5 years after the 360 was released!

    31. Wow, thats an awfully huge file to download, and thats an insane amount of updates! Why doesn’t Microsoft start working harder and make better things, since Bill Gates has a lot of money. πŸ˜›

      Well, I guess I’m not going to be the one updating my Grandmother’s computer with a Dial-up connection!

    32. Look on the bright side – with SP3 you can download it once and deploy it everywhere. Otherwise you’d have to run Windows Update on each of those PCs and download that huge package time and time again.

    33. For those asking about XP x64 and when it’s going to get Service Pack 3, XP x64 has the same patch cycle as Windows Server 2003, so it recives Services Packs at the same time.

    34. When I try to install Windows XP SP3 at the computer which pure XP without SP even none SP1, the Windows XP SP3 can not install at that XP, the minimum requirement for this service pack 3 is the XP should have SP1 first.

    35. I see in your review of XP SP3 – That you claim that no product key is needed to be input to install this SP – This is incorrect – I need to input my product key in order to use my PC at first reboot
      Why ?

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