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On Monday, Microsoft released to manufacturers the final code for Windows XP SP3. The upgrade provides support for WPA2 and the Peer Name Resolution Protocol used in Windows Vista, among other things. The public version will be available for download via the Web on April 29. Based on our initial installation, the upgrade will be effortless for most Windows XP users.

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Upon opening the ISO image, Microsoft presents the following splash screen.

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We are not sure why the text refers to the Security Center or Windows Firewall, both were added in Windows XP SP2. Perhaps this is a placeholder.

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Although it says to do a backup yourself, the installation process itself also performs a backup.

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No surprises here.

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Although this file is not currently available to the public, we were able to download the RTM version of Windows XP SP3 from Microsoft. It took us about 30 minutes to download, and another 10 minutes to install on a system running Windows XP SP2 Home Edition.

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After agreeing to continue, the Wizard unzips the ISO files.

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We restarted our test Windows XP Home Edition system without incident.

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The longest part of the installation was the backup of the existing Windows XP SP2 code. Still, it could have been worse.

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After about 10 minutes, the Wizard did some last minute clean up.

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