Microsoft is ending support for Windows Service Pack 2 (SP2) on July 13, 2010, a date that was originally set when Windows XP Service pack 3 (SP3) was released on April 21, 2008. After the July 13, 2010 cutoff computers running Windows XP SP2 will no longer be able to receive downloaded security patches and device drivers via Windows Update.
If you are running Windows XP and are not running Service Pack 3 (SP3) you will no longer receive software updates from Windows Update to protect your PC from viruses, spyware and other malware, as well as updates that improve Windows reliability, including new drivers for hardware. Without Service Pack 3 the next vulnerability in Windows XP that gets identified and fixed won’t get patched on your computer; potentially leaving you open to various forms of malicious software.
Windows XP SP3 Is A Wise Move
Users with a computer running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) should seriously consider upgrading to Service Pack 3 (SP3) at their earliest opportunity. Paid support and security updates for SP2 will also no longer be available, although Microsoft has stated that Windows XP SP2 users will still be allowed to access Microsoft online Knowledge Base articles, FAQs and troubleshooting tools.
Windows XP SP2 users can download the SP3 software package from Microsoft’s support site if they want to continue receiving security updates – Microsoft Windows XP SP3 Support Site.
Windows XP 64-Bit
Microsoft also produces a 64-bit version of Windows XP although it is not very widely used. There is no Service Pack 3 for the 64-bit version of Windows XP. Users running the 64-bit version of Windows XP with Service Pack 2, are on the latest service pack and will continue to be eligible for support and receive updates until April 8, 2014.
XP SP3 – Just Do It
For the average user, there are really very few reasons not to upgrade to Windows XP Service Pack 3 if you have not done so already. It is well worth the effort.