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Windows XP Service Pack 3 delayed until 2008

Microsoft is pushing back the release of XP Service Pack 3 until the first half of 2008. By the time SP3 comes out, it will have been four years since the release of XP SP2.

Microsoft is not releasing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP until the first half of 2008, the company said today. The last service pack for XP was released in August 2004.

Windows Server 2003's SP2 release date has also been pushed back from the second half of 2006 to first quarter 2007. Microsoft did not give an explanation for the delays.

"I'm personally disappointed," said Mike Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft in Kirkland, Wash. "Microsoft talks about maintaining a roadmap of releases for customers. That in my mind should include predictive [roadmaps] for Service Packs, and it's been a significant amount of time since we've had a Service Pack for XP."

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Josh MacNeil, assistant director of technology services and network operations for the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District in Whitman, Mass., said the delays will have little -- if any -- impact on his organization because the district is moving to Vista over the summer.

"We already implemented the Windows Server 2003 R2 version after Service Pack 1, so I don't see the [Windows Server 2003] SP2 delay as a problem or the 2008 delay for [Windows XP] SP3," MacNeil said. "As long as you've been on top of the critical upgrades and enhancements, you shouldn't have a problem with this."

However, sCherry said there are a few reasons why IT organizations, whether moving to Vista or not, should be concerned.

For one, a Vista rollout is not going to happen overnight, and many companies will be running in a mix mode of operating systems until the Vista rollout is complete, he said.

"We also all live on the same network," Cherry said. "Because of that, even if I run in Vista and others run on XP and are not patched correctly, they are going to hammer me with spam," he said. "The attitude that I'm safe doesn't work if a chain in the link doesn't stay up to date."

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