Testers get Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate build

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Microsoft has begun rolling out to testers a near-final Release Candidate (RC) build of Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3.

Testers said the new XP SP3 build is designated as a “Release Candidate,” not a preview of a release candidate (as was the case with the new Windows Vista SP1 RC release that went to 15,000 testers last week.

So far, no word back from Microsoft as to how many SP3 testers will be allowed to download the new XP SP3 test build. Last time Microsoft made an XP SP3 test build available — a private build Microsoft delivered in early October — it released the XP SP3 test bits to the same 12,000 folks testing Windows XP SP1.

Microsoft has said it plans to release the final version of XP SP3 in the first half of 2008. The final Vista SP1 release is slated to hit in the first calendar quarter of 2008.

Microsoft has been positioning SP1, due out in early 2008, as a catch-all build, delivering in one package the various performance, reliability, stability and security fixes that it has been pushing out via Windows Update since Vista was released to manufacturing last fall. A number of the updates included in the test builds of Vista SP1 have been focused on fixing battery life, start up and shutdown time, etc.

Performance is a tough criteria to evaluate, given that every tester has different applications loaded on their machines, not to mention different hardware makes and models. So if you look in the comments of some of the blog posts on SP1 and performance, some testers say they are seeing noticeable Vista performance improvements once they load the SP1 test code.

[Via ZDNet]
[Submitted By Reshadat]

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