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Get the Latest on XP SP3

The office pool for Windows XP Service Pack 3's (SP3) release date is starting to run out. Some pundits had picked XP SP3 to begin shipping by the middle of April – but the final service pack for XP has yet to arrive.

Now the betting crowd is putting its chips on April 29, thanks to Windows enthusiast site Neowin.net, which claims to have acquired a copy of the plan.

"With Service Pack 3 for Windows XP just over the horizon, we've managed to get our hands on the internal schedule for the release of the highly anticipated update to the aging operating system," said a posting on Neowin Tuesday.

Rumors have been flying for weeks about when XP SP3 will come out and whether demand for it will swamp interest in Vista SP1. Actually, like the ongoing Windows Vista SP1 process, XP SP3 will be released in stages.

According to Neowin's timetable, that process begins next Monday, April 21, when the final code becomes available to original equipment manufacturers (OEM), as well as to volume license and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Connect customers, and to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.

Then, on Tuesday, April 29, the plan is to make the code available for download from various Microsoft sites -- Microsoft Update, Windows Update, and the Microsoft Download Center, according to Neowin's posting.

Finally, Microsoft will start pushing the service pack out to consumers and other users who have not already manually downloaded it via Automatic Updates on June 10, Neowin's post said.

Microsoft officials would not confirm or deny whether Neowin had, indeed, acquired a current schedule, except to repeat earlier boilerplate statements.

"We expect Windows XP SP3 to be available in 1H 2008, provided it meets our quality bar for release," a spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.