ComputerWorld’s Gregg Keizer updates the IT industry on the status of Windows XP Service Pack 3

Microsoft Corp. will release Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) tocomputer makers and some IT professionals next week, and it will offerit to all users via Windows Update April 29, according to an internalschedule obtained by the Web site.

Although others had previously pegged SP3’s release to the last halfof April, Neowin’s dates are the most specific seen so far.

For its part, Microsoft has only said SP3 will be released during the first half of 2008.

But according to Neowin, the service pack will debut April 21, whenit’s shipped to computer manufacturers, offered to volume licensingcustomers and posted for download on TechNet and the MicrosoftDeveloper Network (MSDN), which are subscription services for IT staffand developers, respectively.

Most users, however, will first be able to obtain SP3 on April 29, when Microsoft lists it on Windows Update (WU) for download.

However, Microsoft won’t turn on the automatic download and installation of SP3 until June 10, according to Neowin.

Company administrators and users have been able to block theautomatic distribution of Windows XP SP3, as well as Vista SP1, sinceDecember 2007, when Microsoft published the Windows Service PackBlocker Tool Kit.