Third time

Our colleagues at ComputerWorld U.S. report:

Two weeks after it last handed a new build of Windows XP ServicePack 3 (SP3) to several thousand invitation-only testers, MicrosoftCorp. has posted that version for public downloading.

“We’re broadening the availability of the release candidate in orderto receive further user feedback prior to the release of Windows XPSP3,” a company spokeswoman said in an e-mail Tuesday afternoon.“Windows XP SP3 RC2 will be made publicly available today at 5:00 p.m.Pacific time.”

On Feb. 7, Microsoft seeded Release Candidate 2 (RC2) with the15,000 or so testers who had been working with SP3 for several months.At that time, the company said nothing about taking the version public.

This is just the second time that all Windows XP users have had thechance to try out SP3, the last scheduled major update to thesix-year-old operating system. The only other public posting was of SP3RC in December.

The release notes are available here

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