Microsoft's Windows Vista predecessor, Windows XP, last week saw the release of Service Pack 3 (SP3) beta for a select group of testers. The latest SP3 beta is labeled as build 3205 and is a rather small 334.92 MB download which, according to NeoSmart
, contains 1,073 hotfixes and patches along with new features and components, most of which have been backported from Windows Vista.
The enhancements include a new activation scheme that will not require a product key during installation and a network access protection module first featured in Windows Vista. Other new features include improved support for cryptographic algorithms and a Black Hole Router detection algorithm.
Slated to be released early in 2008, Windows XP SP3 will be the last major update to the six-year-old operating system, which last month received a five month reprieve
when Microsoft pushed back the end of retail sales and sales of XP-powered systems by large resellers to June 30, 2008.