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Microsoft finishes big XP update

Windows XP Service Pack 3 will be available via the Web next week. Microsoft plans to push it out to those who have signed up for automatic updates beginning this summer.

Microsoft said on Monday that it has wrapped up development of its long-awaited Service Pack 3 update to Windows XP.

The update, which consists of previously released updates and a few new bug fixes and changes, will be available for download via the Web on April 29. Microsoft said it plans to start pushing out XP SP3 this summer to "home users" who have Automatic Updates turned on.

A Microsoft representative said the company won't update boxed copies of Windows XP with the service pack, though it will be an option for computer makers that are still offering XP on new machines. Large computer makers have only until June to sell XP on standard systems, though some low-cost, low-memory machines can be sold with XP until 2010, as can some PCs aimed at emerging markets.

Microsoft has been testing Windows XP Service Pack 3 for some time. The product was planned to be released as early as 2006, but was pushed back several times as Microsoft focused on developing and updating Windows Vista.

Colleague Robert Vamosi will have a hands-on look shortly and I'll post a link here.

Update 12:40 p.m.: Robert's blog is now live and available here.