Service Pack 3.0 includes support for Microsoft's message queuing technology, code-named Viper, and updates the company's encryption application programming interface, among other enhancements, according to Jeff Price, a product manager for Windows NT Server.
Service packs are released by software companies to fill in holes in previously released versions of software or to add functionality after comments from users.
"We want to expand the testing [of the service packs]," Price said. "We're putting it into beta to insure a high level of quality."
The company is also putting Service Pack 3.0 into beta to avoid a scenario similar to the one that followed the release of version 2.0, which users complained introduced new bugs into the system, including a "blue screen of death" and a bug that prevented data from being rewritten to a system's hard drive. Those problems initiated the formal beta program for the service packs.