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Microsoft Delays Service Pack 3 Again

Microsoft quietly let it be known this week that it plans yet again to delay the release of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP users, this time until some point in the first half of 2008.

At the beginning of 2006, I wrote that Microsoft was delaying SP3 until the latter half of 2007 in order to concentrate on development work for Windows Vista, the long-promised next new version of its flagship operating system. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had earlier said that SP3 would ship prior to the release of Vista.

Now, according to a change made to Microsoft's Service Pack Roadmap site, Microsoft is delaying Service Pack 3 again. The 2008 date is still marked as tentative, so who knows whether this will get pushed back again. I can only guess at the company's motives here, but it appears as though they are concerned that issuing SP3 so close to the Vista launch will discourage people from paying to upgrade to the shiny new operating system.

Over the past five years, I've had to reinstall XP on at least two systems I own, and each time it has been a time-consuming process -- and I have a copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 2 already preloaded. Even after you install SP2, XP users still have to download and install more than 100 updates (not including a substantial number of Microsoft Office fixes, if a user has that suite installed).

Users can lessen the pain of reinstalling by taking some time to learn about "slipstreaming," which involves marrying Service Packs and subsequent patches and burning the image onto a DVD or CD-ROM . Paul Thurrott has a nice tutorial on slipstreaming. Other decent how-to's can be found here and here.

By Brian Krebs  |  October 23, 2006; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  From the Bunker  
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