What now: When can we get the new Service Pack?
You can still download the Vista Service Pack update manually from Microsoft. The Windows XP Service Pack 3, however, is not available for manual download from Microsofts download site.
Although this delay is expected to be relatively short in comparison to the last two major delays, nevertheless it will be delayed. Microsoft has not given any official timeline for a correction. What we do know is that a filter is being developed for Dynamics RMS users to block the automatic download of Windows Vista SP1 and for Windows XP SP3.
Even though the automatic download of SP3 is not available, you can still get it for your system. First, make sure you are not running RMS, especially on your home system. (Im not being too sarcastic, am I?)
If you are business and have access to a TechNet or MSDN subscription, you can download the service pack. However, for the rest of us there is another alternative.
Follow this SP3 download link; the update is available on this site for English and 14 other languages, including French, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese. Microsoft has officially stated that these links are probably linked to their Web site, but suggests users wait until the official download is published. In testing a few of the links, they all led back to the Microsoft downloads website.
Does Service Pack 3 really matter?
It would be great if Microsoft would create a more fool-proof method of releasing updates. It seems a bit bizarre that the SP3 update was distributed as Release Candidates months before the final release, and yet here we are in limbo.
Some may wonder if it is necessary to install service pack 3 at all. Well, the short answer is yes. Service Pack 3 comes with many of the updates that have been released since service Pack 2 which was released in 2004.
Some of the new features of Service Pack3 include items that have been ported from Windows Vista including:
Network Access Control
Black hole router detection
Windows Product Activation
Windows Imaging Component
Several other new security options make SP3 a worthwhile download. So worthwhile I hate to ask people to do Microsofts work for them, but it is better to install the new update manually than to wait for a fix from Bill & Co.
Maybe the three pillars of software design(reliability being one) Microsoft touts so much will makes its way into the release of service packs, updates and fixes. Until then, I hope the advice on manual installation SP3 will help make life easier for you. Since Microsoft decided it wasnt important enough for them to see to it that happened.