Windows XP SP3 Beta Expanded to MSDN, Technet

Although we know Windows XP SP3 isn't going to be feature-laden, it does offer, according to tests, a noticeable speed increase. And on Monday Microsoft increased the beta coverage of SP3 by making it available to MSDN and Technet subscribers.

Microsoft late Monday expanded its beta test of Windows XP Service Pack 3 to subscribers of its MSDN and TechNet programs, releasing what is being called a "near-final release candidate." The move is likely harbinger of a public beta, as the latest SP3 code will be in the hands of far more than the 15,000 who originally were given access in mid-November.

As we know, SP3 is a rollup of all previously released XP updates consisting, according to Microsoft of "security updates, out-of-band releases, and hotfixes." What we don't know is when the public beta will occur, though it would seem likely it's going to be soon, or exactly when SP3 will ship. As always that will depend on "feedback," meaning how many bugs beta testers find.