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The folks over at Neowin have managed to get hold of an internal schedule release update from Microsoft concerning the release dates of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
If you haven't made the move to Vista yet and as our traffic stats confirm, there are many of you that haven't, you should pay attention to this news.
- April 14, 2008: Support is available for the release version of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP
- April 21, 2008: Original Equipment Manufacturers, Volume License, Connect, and MSDN and TechNet subscribers
- April 29, 2008: Microsoft Update, Windows Update, Download Center
- June 10, 2008: Automatic Updates
More over at Neowin.
Windows XP's third Service Pack has just reached RC2 status, having been handed out to testers last week.
If you're keen on trying it out yourself in this very near to completion stage, the good news is you rightfully can as Microsoft have made it available for download by the general public using Windows Update in conjunction with a small registry file.
Thanks to the folks at Dailytech for the heads up.
Microsoft released SP3 to testers last week, but the general public can now download the service pack via Windows Update. Users have to first download a small registry file from Microsoft which gives them special access to Windows Update to download SP3.
"The script sets a registry key on your system. The registry key is required for Windows Update to recognize your machine as a valid target for Windows XP Service Pack 3 RC2," states Microsoft. "It is recommended that you apply the resulting update package to an activated, genuine copy of Windows XP, in a test environment."
Despite recent news that Microsoft are apparently planning to withhold Windows 7 from being released until early 2011, we've decided to give you the other side of the story.
A recent roadmap suggests that Microsoft will launch "Windows 7", the successor to Vista as early as the second half of 2009. This is contrary to initial reports which stated its release sometime in 2010. According to APC Magazine, there are three milestone projects in the Windows 7 program, with the first stage already in progress. M1 is an Alpha build which has shipped to key partners for code evaluation. Stage two, due around April/May will be an updated version, and stage three is likely towards the end of the year if all goes to plan.
Apparently the Microsoft OS will be the last one available in 32-bit, although there will be a 64-bit version as well. This initial stage is only an English language version, with the upgrade to other languages likely as the OS reaches completion.
The shift to a 3 year cycle to initiate the new OS will be seen by many as an overtly aggressive move by Microsoft, who has only just begun to reap the rewards of the Vista launch in 2006.
With the advances in hardware far exceeding most people's budgets, one has to question if such advances in both software and hardware are simply too much too soon. A looming worldwide recession will answer that question.
Read more about Windows 7 here.
Along with Service Pack 1 for Office 2007 being released recently, Microsoft also let Service Pack 3 for Windows XP out of the bag.
It is not the final release which is expected sometime next year but still manages to pack in a total of 1073 fixes. It also includes four new features including a new activation scheme, Network Access Protection Module, Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module and a Black Hole Router detection algorithm.
There was talk of Windows XP SP3 including DX10 support but that didn't end up being the case. If you are still using Windows XP and haven't made the move to Vista yet, BetaNews is hosting the beta service pack for download.
Go grab it here! Keep in mind it is still in beta form, so take some caution and backup first!
As many of you would now be aware, Microsoft are working on a third Service Pack to further support Windows XP and keep it in good health for a while to come. Though it's been mentioned that upon release, SP3 will be Microsoft's final installment before they pull the plug on support from XP and focus entirely on getting Vista right.
Some details have come to light about the progress of SP3 and what we can expect from it once it reaches final status. A massive 1,073 patches and hotfixes will be embedded into the new Service Pack as well as four completely new features which have been backported from Vista; these being as follows :-
- New Windows Product Activation model: no need to enter product key during setup
- Network Access Protection modules and policies have been brought to XP after being one of the more-well-received features in Windows Vista. You can read more about NAP here
- New Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module - the Windows XP SP3 kernel now includes an entire module that provides easy access to multiple cryptographic algorithms and is available for use in kernel-mode drivers and services.
- New "Black Hole Router" detection - Windows XP SP3 can detect and protect against rogue routers that are discarding data
Dailytech have the full scoop on it here. Long Live XP!
News on Microsoft's aging Windows XP operating system has surprisingly been coming in at a steady pace over the past few weeks. Although Windows Vista is Microsoft's current bread-and-butter consumer operating system, there is still much love to go around for Windows XP.
In late September, DailyTech reported that Microsoft is providing XP downgrades for unhappy Vista customers. Microsoft followed up on that news a few days later with the announcement that Windows XP sales would be extended to June 30, 2008.
The company followed up with a new build of Internet Explorer 7.0 for Windows XP that doesn't require product activation and released a Service Pack 3 (SP3) beta for a select group of testers.
Our own Cameron Johnson just finished completed some basic testing comparing the performance differences between Windows XP Service Pack 2.
We used the leaked and non-final Service Pack 3 (Build 3180), which made its way onto the world wide web last week after being leaked out by MS BETA testers.
We tested using the latest versions of 3DMark05, 3DMark06 and PCMark05 and saw vertically no performance increases by updating to SP3 from SP2. We thought there might be some slight chance for somewhat of a performance boost but everything was exactly the same (or within the usual margin of error, which we always see).
We would have loved to report that SP3 provided a performance boost but at this stage it doesn't appear as if you should be holding onto Windows XP in the hopes that the upcoming service pack will boost your PC performance.
We'll keep you posted on further SP3 updates as they come in!
With the availability of the Hitachi/LG GGW-H10N Blu-ray/HD DVD combo drive, CyberLink will be supplying its Hi-Def Suite which allows for playback of Blu-ray and HD DVD movies. On top of this it also allows for Blu-ray disc burning as well as backing up your Blu-ray media onto DVD.
The Hi-Def Suite consists of PowerDVD for video playback, PowerProducer for Blu-ray authoring, Power2Go, InstantBurn and finally PowerBackup that allows you to do backups of your digital content.
"CyberLink and HLDS have released a software-hardware solution that supports both next-generation disc formats, eliminating the complication and expense of users having to operate multiple single-format drives," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink. "Instead, consumers can access all the features they want via a single software suite and play any movie they want via the same disc drive."
You can find out more about the various applications by visiting CyberLink
An announcement from NVIDIA today highlights the official final-build release of their Gelato 2.1 final-frame rendering software.
This software is designed to be used in conjunction with rendering programs like Maya 8.5 and 3dx Max 9.0 with improved performance all-round. It also allows for better ray-tracing and ambient occlusion, better stereo rendering and fog light support as well as support for Joe Alter's Shave and Haircut hair and fur effects software.
NVIDIA's press release has the full rundown on it.
SANTA CLARA, CA-March 12, 2006- NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processor technologies, today announced the release of NVIDIA® Gelato® 2.1 high-quality, GPU-accelerated rendering software, which now includes support for Joe Alter's Shave and a Haircut software for computer-generated hair and fur effects. Other enhancements in this newest release of Gelato include support for Autodesk® Maya® 8.5 and 3ds Max® 9.0, improved stereo rendering, fog lights, and significant performance improvements.
Word from Cyberlink today has it that they've just finished checking to make sure all of their home entertainment and personal creativity products are "Vista Ready", this includes the highly popular PowerDVD playback software suite.
Grab the press material here for more info.
Taipei, Taiwan----Feb. 14th, 2007----CyberLink Corp. (5203.TW), a world leader in digital home solutions, today announced that its complete range of home entertainment and personal creativity products are ready for the release of Microsoft® Windows® Vista.
CyberLink Vista Update Center: http://www.cyberlink.com/vista
CyberLink also launched a verification feature on its website that allows consumers to test if their existing software is "Vista Ready". The CyberLink Software Vista Upgrade Test quickly scans software and determines whether the versions of the software currently in use are ready for Vista. After testing, users can choose to update through available patches or purchase an upgrade to become "Vista Ready".
If you want a bit of benchmarking action under Windows Vista, here is some news for you from the UK.
London, UK, January 30th 2007 - We are pleased to announce that the latest version of SiSoftware Sandra XI Service Pack 1 (SP1) for download and to be included in all current versions of the Sandra family of product. This free service pack now offers full support for Microsoft Vista and includes an additional free theme.
"With a new operating system coming out technicians have more and more questions and we wanted to give them a familiar interface to simplify there jobs and increase productivity. We also value their investment and wanted to extend this investment in Sandra and by being able to offer Vista support in this version it helps protect there investment, this way even customers of the older 2007 version get free Vista support for free." said SiSoftware's Chief Technical Officer Adrian Silasi.
This latest version has been fully tested and certified against the production release of Microsoft Vista With the inclusion of features like Microsoft* cross-signed Kernel drivers for Vista* Aero (Glass) support in the Sandra Management Console, UAC (User Access Control) support for all services, to name a few, are alive and kicking in this service pack.
If you are running Vista or not there is a new look out there for everyone to enjoy with the addition of a new Sandra theme. This is the latest update version of its award-winning utility, which includes remote analysis, benchmarking and diagnostic features for PCs, servers, Pocket PC2, Smartphone2, small office/home office (SOHO) networks and enterprise networks.