Parts of Vista Incorporated Into Windows XP SP3
Since the introduction of Windows Vista, a lot of the emphasis has been on Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and little has has been mentioned regarding Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows XP. It was originally assumed that Windows XP SP3 would simply be a rolled up collection of bug fixes and patches but there reportedly seems to be more to it than that.
Recently, Microsoft released a beta of Windows XP SP3 to a select group of testers reportedly labeled as build 3205, weighing in at 334.92 MBs. Originally reported by NeoSmart, XP SP3 contains 1,073 hotfixes and patches released since XP SP2 as well as some new features backported from Windows Vista.
New features found in the beta of Windows XP SP3
New features back-ported to Windows XP from Windows Vista include a new Product Activation scheme, a Network Access Protection module, improved support for cryptographic algorithms and a Black Hole Router detection algorithm.
Explanations for each of the new features are below:
- New Product Activation module: as in Windows Vista, users will be able to install Windows XP without having to enter a product key.
- Network Access Protection (NAP): aimed at enterprises and due to be managed by Windows Server 2008, NAP is a policy enforcement platform built into Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 (now in beta testing) that allows you to better protect your private network by enforcing compliance with computer health requirements.
- Support for Cryptographic Algorithms: incorporates cryptographic algorithms by way of the Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module (KMCM) that is accessible by other kernel mode drivers.
- Black Hole Router Detection: path maximum transmission unit (PTMU) black hole router detection senses when large TCP segments are being retransmitted and automatically adjusts the PMTU for the connection, rather than relying on the receipt of the ICMP error messages. Instead of dropping the connection or timing out, this feature helps detect a connection failure by black hole routers and helps recover the connection. (In Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, PMTU black hole router detection is disabled by default).
- Windows XP SP3 is slated to be released during the first quarter of 2008. While Microsoft continues to insist that Windows Vista is performing and selling well, backporting these features into Windows XP contradicts that. It appears that Windows XP will be around for a good part of the foreseeable future.
Useful links to all the information above can be found below:
- Windows XP SP3 includes some Vista features article from Vista Blorge
- Information on and analysis of Windows XP SP3 article from NeoSmart.net (may take a moment to load)
- Definition of Backport from Wikipedia
- Network Access Protection explanation from Microsoft
- Cryptographic Algorithms and Protocols explanation from DWheeler.com
- Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module information from Microsoft
- Explanation of kernel and how it relates to computer science from Wikipedia
- Windows Vista Security: An Introduction to Kernel Patch Protection article from Microsoft
- Black Hole Router Detection information from Novell
- What is "Black Hole Detect?" article from SpeedGuide.net
- Next Generation TCP/IP Protocols and Networking Components information from Microsoft
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