Windows XP SP3 is now available for download. Before you manually update your machine, check out KB936929, Release notes for Windows XP Service Pack 3. It has links to vaious other KB articles that discuss items such as troubleshooting installation problems. You can also read the Overview of Windows XP SP3.
Please be aware of the following scenarios prior to installing XP SP3:
If you are an IE 6 user, SP3 will simply updated your IE 6 installation. You will continue to be able to upgrade to IE 7 as an option.
If you are an IE 7 user, it will update your IE 7 installation. HOWEVER, you will NOT be able to go back to IE 6 after applying this service back.
If you are an IE 8 (beta) user, you will need to uninstall IE 8, apply the service pack, and then reinstall IE 8.
Check out Jane’s post for additional information regarding how XP SP3 affects the various versions of Internet Explorer.
If Windows XP SP3 is not yet ready for your environment, you can download the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit that will keep it from automatically installing the update for 12 months following the service pack’s release. Please note that this toolkit will not prevent the installation of the service pack from CD/DVD, or from the stand-alone download package.