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Windows XP Service Pack 3

Soon to be released Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) is bundled with all Windows XP updates released by Microsoft. This includes hotfixes, security updates, and a selection of other releases.

The following is a list of some of the functionalities included in the Windows XP SP3 that are already available as standalone updates:

  • MMC 3.0: Simplifies common PC activities by providing controls, such as toolbars, menus, workflow and navigation. MMC 3.0  does this by unifying and simplifying system management tasks.
  • MSXML6: Conforms with XML 1.0 and XML schema 1.0 W3C and is compatible with System.XML 2.0. This helps in making Windows XP more reliable and secure.
  • Microsoft Windows Installer 3.1 v2 (3.1.4000.2435): Addresses certain problems that existed in Windows Installer 3.0 and comprises new and improved functionalities.
  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) 2.5: Improves flexibility and security and is required by Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and Windows Live OneCare.
  • IPsec Simple Policy Update for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP: Simplifies the task of creating and maintaining IPsec filters and reduces the number of filters needed for a server and domain isolation deployment.
  • Digital Identity Management Service (DIMS): Enables users to log on to computers in a domain and silently access the private keys and certificates required to run services and applications.
  • Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP) 2.1: Enables the Windows XP SP3 program to communicate with Windows Vista PNRP programs.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2): Confirms to the latest wireless networking standards laid down in the IEEE 802.11i standard.

The following is a list of some of the new and enhanced features that Microsoft has added in Windows XP SP3:

  • Black Hole Router Detection: Improves the feature of black router detection that helps identify the routers that silently discard packets. When you install Windows XP SP3, the Black Hole Router Detection feature is turned on by default.
  • Network Access Protection (NAP): Helps protect network assets by enforcing compliance for requirements of system health. This feature is already included in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
  • Descriptive Security Options User Interface: Adds a more descriptive text in the Security Options control panel to help users understand various setting options and avoid incorrect configuration.
  • Enhanced security for Administrator and Service policy entries: Adds Administrator and Service entries by default in any new instance of System Center Essentials policy. These settings cannot be removed even with the user interface for the Impersonate Client After Authentication user right is enabled
  • Windows Product Activation: Keeping in line with the installation of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003 SP2, you can perform complete installation of the Windows XP SP3 without providing a product key. You will be prompted for the product key as a part of the Genuine Advantage later after the installation is complete.

In addition to installing the SP3, to enhance the performance of your Windows PC you can perform certain other preventive maintenance tasks to fix computer errors and maintain a healthy computer. These include performing regular antivirus and antispyware scans, maintaining a healthy hard disk with the help of the Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter tools, and ensuring an error-free and compact Windows registry by regularly cleaning it with the help of a reliable and efficient registry cleaner tool.


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