A tech blog at Neowin.net has reported that the latest and final service pack for Windows XP will be released to original equipment manufacturers and to Microsoft’s MSDN and TechNet subscribers on April 21st. XP SP3 will be generally released to Windows XP users through Microsoft’s online Windows Update service on April 29.
Some of the reported new features are:
1. A feature called Network Access Protection that’s borrowed from the newer Windows Vista operating system. NAP automatically validates a computer’s health, ensuring that it’s free of bugs and viruses before allowing it access to a network.
2. Windows XP SP3 also includes improved “black hole” router detection — a feature that will be turned on by default that automatically detects routers that are silently discarding packets
3. Windows XP SP3 also steals a page from Vista’s product activation model, meaning that product keys for each copy of the operating system don’t need to be entered during setup. The feature should prove popular with corporate IT managers, who often need to oversee hundreds, or even thousands, of operating system installations.