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Microsoft is inching forward toward the gold bits of Windows XP Service Pack 3. In its latest move, the Redmond company has made available for download an interim build of the third and final service pack for XP. Windows XP SP3 Release Candidate 2 Refresh Build 5508 is now up for grabs directly from Microsoft. So far the RC2 Refresh bits are only served via Windows Update, and not as standalone packages. There are no indications from the Redmond company that XP SP3 RC2 Build 5508 will be served otherwise than through WU.

“The purpose of RC2 Refresh is to validate improvements to the Windows Update experience with Service Pack 3. Therefore, this beta release will be available only on Windows Update, in English, German and Japanese. Beyond fixes for common Windows Update issues and the inclusion of support for HD Audio, there are no substantial differences between this beta release (build 5508) and XP SP3 RC2 (build 3311),” revealed the Release Manager for Windows Serviceability.

Microsoft continues to stick to its official timeframe for the delivery of XP SP3. This means that according to the latest signs related to the delivery of the service pack, the deadline is still set sometime by mid 2008, as initially announced. Because of past leaked builds of XP SP3, Microsoft has urged users not to download RC2 Refresh Build 5508 from alternative sources in addition to Windows Update. What the Redmond company is offering is a registry script designed to make copies of XP SP2 to detect XP SP3 RC2 Refresh Build 5508 via WU. Build 5508 does not support build to build upgrades, and as such XP SP3 RC2 Build 3311 and the leaked Build 5503 will have to be uninstalled before applying version 5508.

“The application to enable download of XP SP3 RC2 Refresh is the same application as was used to distribute XP SP3 RC2. This is an application that can be found at the Microsoft Download Center. Running this application on a machine with Windows XP Service Pack 2 will enable Windows Update to offer XP SP3 RC2 Refresh to that machine. Build to build upgrades are not supported for this beta release, so if you have installed XP SP3 RC1 or XP SP3 RC2, please uninstall it before running this application,” added the Windows Serviceability Release Manager.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 2 Refresh can be downloaded from here.


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