Vista SP1 and XP SP3 public release expected this week

microsoftMicrosoft is poised to release Windows Vista Service Pack (SP1) to the retail channel this week. And the final release-to-manufacturing (RTM) of Windows XP SP3 is not far behind, according to testing sources. has published to its site Vista SP1 availability dates of Wednesday March 19. (Thanks to Computerworld for spotting Amazon’s SP1 availability notice.)

Microsoft officials have been saying for the past few weeks to expect Microsoft to release Vista SP1 through retail channels and via Windows Update in mid-March. Even though Microsoft released Vista SP1 to manufacturing in early February — and (after user protest) delivered the final SP1 bits to its TechNet and Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers a couple of weeks after that — company officials said they were holding back on making the service pack more broadly available due to driver-installation problems.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has removed XP SP3 from its private Connect test site, according to testers who requested anonymity, in preparation for the delivery of the final XP SP3 bits. Over the weekend of March 15, another new test build of XP SP3 leaked out. The latest XP SP3 build, No. 5503, was available on torrent sites over the weekend, testers said.

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