Microsoft has put the brakes on Windows XP Service Pack 3, which was supposed to be available yesterday through the Windows Update Website. A Tuesday post on its TechNet site said a “compatibility issue” between Microsoft’s Dynamics Retail Management System point-of-sale application and SP3 has caused the delay.

The same issue effects Vista SP1, but that update, released last week, has already been pushed out via Microsoft’s Automatic Updates.
The XP service pack had already been released to manufacturing but was not in wide distribution otherwise. XP SP3 continues to be available online at Tip and Trick for those willing to brave the installation on their own.

The company has not indicated when the buggy service packs will be repaired. But Microsoft is modifying its update site to prevent Dynamics users from downloading either service pack. "To help protect our customers, we plan to put filtering in place shortly to prevent Windows Update from offering both service packs to systems running Microsoft Dynamics RMS," said the post. "Once filtering is in place, we expect to release Windows XP SP3 to Windows Update and Download Center." No timeline was provided for when the filter would be in place.

XP’s latest service pack contains some useful capabilities, many of which are otherwise available only in Vista. My thinking was that Microsoft was trying to migrate XP users to Vista gradually, but an XP SP3 white paper published by Microsoft in advance of the update denies that assertion. Curiously, the paper makes no mention of Dynamics RMS.

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I am Technical Editor of the [url=http://www.crn.com]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=http://crn.com]www.crn.com[/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

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I'm curious as to whether or not, at this point in time, Microsoft has made this SP safe to install. In my searches to find solutions to other problems on my computer, I saw quite a few things about the SP 3 causing problems connecting to the internet as well as quite a few others.

Is there a functional XP SP 3 available, or is it still being fixed?