In this issue:
Microsoft Releases Windows XP SP3, Release Candidate 2
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
This week, the very latest build of Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows XP was made available to beta testers and the general public. Windows XP SP3 includes all previously released updates for the operating system. It also includes previously released updates to the latest versions of some system components, as well as functionality for improved compatibility with Windows Vista.
The script to enable the Windows XP SP3 RC2 download can be found at the Microsoft Download Center. The script sets a registry key on your system. This registry key is required for Windows Update to recognize your machine as a valid target for Windows XP Service Pack 3 RC2.
Versions of Windows XP Service Pack 3 prior to Release Candidate 2 should be removed before attempting to use the registry key. Windows Update will not offer Release Candidate 2 to machines with previous versions of the Windows XP Service Pack 3 beta.
It is recommended that you apply the resulting update package to an activated, genuine copy of Windows XP, in a test environment. As with any pre-release software, it is also recommended that you back up files and settings on your machine before applying this update package.
You can find the Release Notes for Windows XP SP3 on the Microsoft Download Center. More information can also be found on the Microsoft TechNet site.
Note: When testing I found that SP3 is only offered to a fully updated SP2 install (i.e. after a clean install of XP SP2 there are still a huge number of updates to apply before SP3 was offered).
Microsoft to Offer Software at No Charge to Students
Early this week Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates unveiled a software giveaway that will ultimately provide millions of college and high school students around the world with access to the latest Microsoft developer and designer tools at no charge to unlock their creative potential and set them on the path to academic and career success.
The Microsoft DreamSpark student program makes available, at no charge, a broad range of development and design software for download. The program is now available to more than 35 million college students in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Broad global coverage, as well as an expansion of the program to high school students around the world, potentially reaching up to 1 billion students worldwide, will continue throughout the next year.
"We want to do everything we can to equip a new generation of technology leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to harness the magic of software to improve lives, solve problems and catalyze economic growth," Gates said. "Microsoft DreamSpark provides professional-level tools that we hope will inspire students to explore the power of software and encourage them to forge the next wave of software-driven breakthroughs."
Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all students whose studies touch on technology, design, math, science and engineering. Students around the world will be allowed to download developer-oriented products such as Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, Expression Studio, and XNA Game Studio 2.0, for free. The program will also provide students with free versions of SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition and Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition.
More information can be found on Microsoft's Channel 8 Web site.
Microsoft issued a number of updates for Windows Vista & Windows XP in the past weeks:
- KB946041 - Update to resolve some performance and reliability issues in Windows Vista.
- KB938371 - Update to enable future updates to install successfully on all editions of Windows Vista.
- KB943899 - Update to resolve some performance and reliability issues in Windows Vista.
- KB937287 - Update to enable future updates to install successfully on all editions of Windows Vista.
- KB947172 - Update to address issues with Media Center for Microsoft Windows Vista.
- KB946501 - Update to resolve an issue where a window with a language bar crashes when exiting on Windows XP Service Pack 2 multi-core machines.