A forthcoming update to Microsoft's Windows XP operating system will include patches that add pieces of Windows Vista to the operating system, according to a research group that has seen the code. "Contrary to popular belief, Windows XP SP3 does ship with all-new features, not just patches and hotfixes," said researchers at NeoSmart, a nonprofit group that tracks computer technology. Most of the new features are "backported from Windows Vista," according to NeoSmart.
Specifically, Windows XP Service Pack 3 steals a page from Vista's product activation model, meaning that product keys don't need to be entered during setup, said NeoSmart. The feature should prove popular with corporate IT managers, who often need to oversee hundreds, or even thousands, of operating system installations. Vista's Network Access Protection modules also will show up in XP SP3. The system verifies a computer's "health" before allowing it access to a network, and has been "one of the more well-received features in Windows Vista," according to NeoSmart.
XP SP3 also will include the Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module, which is meant to "provide easy access to multiple cryptographic algorithms," NeoSmart reports. Microsoft is typically secretive about the contents of its software service packs until they are released, but NeoSmart researchers say they've seen the code. Windows XP SP3 is set to debut early next year. Over the weekend, Microsoft reportedly widened the beta test program to include members of its MSDN and TechNet program.Windows XP, Windows Vista, Service Pack, SP3, XP SP3, Microsoft