Windows XP SP3 RC2 means imminent release

More than 400 million Windows XP users are getting ready to download the latest version of Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 2.

The world's biggest Patch process will certainly put a strain on already overloaded networks as people flock to download the 66MB file from Microsoft's servers.

Windows users who already have SP2 on their computers can download a small update which will allow them to download SP3 via Windows update.

The last pre-release version of SP3 could only be downloaded by a select few beta testers although P2P networks had thousands of seeds offering the service pack for download.

Build number 3311, as it is known, can be installed without a product key and will last until the end of the 30-day activation period.

SP3 will add a few welcomed features coming straight from Windows Vista like black hole router detection, Network Access Protection and Windows Imaging Component.

It also contains nearly 1100 fixes according to the Tech Area website and should bring some surprising speed boosts.

Microsoft has also announced earlier that the Windows XP Operating System will no longer be on sale as from the 30th June 2008.