As has been the case with every Windows service pack, Microsoft also provided updates for security, reliability, and bug fixes. Security fixes from the relevant service packs were used for patches released for Security Bulletins (MS10-057 through MS15-005) on April 26, 2008, with SP3 being the last version of Windows to support Security Bulletins (MS16-101 to MS16-106) through MS16-129. Microsoft released service packs for Vista and later versions of Windows Server to provide security updates for older versions of those operating systems.
Officially released as Windows XP SP3, the service pack was offered for download in late July for the consumer and OEM versions of the operating system. Negotiations to continue supporting XP lacked the necessary momentum from Microsoft to come to an agreement within the deadlines set by OEMs for releases of Windows Vista, due to the end of the BizTalk Server 7.0 release cycle, an integration to Windows Server to strengthen it against malicious code, and a focus on securing the operating system. According to Microsoft, Vista was and remains the number-one selling version of Windows, while those that had not yet migrated past Windows XP may not have seen a legitimate software upgrade path from the operating system. According to the site teardown site iFixit, the upgrade path from Vista x64 was the second-most difficult PC repair in their history, with most hardware modifications required.
As with previous Windows service packs, Microsoft also increased the speed of the Windows Update service to be equivalent to that of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition without incurring the substantial costs of deployment and supported lifecycle of the previous service packs. Licensed customers could receive service packs directly or download them as a standalone package. 7211a4ac4a