Before you download or install Windows XP SP3, first check hard-disk spaceDepending on where you obtain Windows XP SP3, you will have to have a minimum amount of space free on the system disk.
If you are running antivirus software, disable itWarning This workaround may make a computer or a network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We do not recommend this workaround but are providing this information so that you can implement this workaround at your own discretion. Use this workaround at your own risk.Although disabling your antivirus software is not usually recommended, some antivirus software prevents certain system files from being changed. This may cause the Windows XP SP3 installation to fail. To make sure that you can successfully install Windows XP SP3, temporarily disable your antivirus software including any antispyware and third-party firewall programs. To do this, right-click your antivirus program icon, and then click Disable. The antivirus program icon typically appears in the lower-right corner of the computer screen.Important Make sure that you enable the antivirus software after Windows XP SP3 is installed.Note An antivirus program is designed to help protect your computer from viruses. You must not download or open files from sources that you do not trust, visit Web sites that you do not trust, or open e-mail attachments when your antivirus program is disabled. For more information about computer viruses, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 cannot be applied to Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (WinFLP). A unique SP3 update package for WinFLP will be made available at download.microsoft.com.
Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 cannot be applied to Windows Embedded for Point of Service (WEPOS). A unique SP3 update package for WEPOS will be made available at download.microsoft.com.
Unofficial SP3 ZIP download packages were released on a now-defunct website called The Hotfix from 2005 to 2007. The owner of the website, Ethan C. Allen, was a former Microsoft employee in Software Quality Assurance and would comb through the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles daily and download new hotfixes Microsoft would put online within the articles. The articles would have a \"kbwinxppresp3fix\" and/or \"kbwinxpsp3fix\" tag, thus allowing Allen to easily find and determine which fixes were planned for the official SP3 release to come. Microsoft publicly stated at the time that the SP3 pack was unofficial and advised users to not install it. Allen also released a Vista SP1 package in 2007, for which Allen received a cease-and-desist email from Microsoft.
Variants of Windows XP for embedded systems have different support policies: Windows XP Embedded SP3 and Windows Embedded for Point of Service SP3 were supported until January and April 2016, respectively. Windows Embedded Standard 2009, which was succeeded by Windows Embedded Standard 7, and Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, which was succeeded by Windows Embedded POSReady 7, were supported until January and April 2019, respectively. These updates, while intended for the embedded editions, could also be downloaded on standard Windows XP with a registry hack, which enabled unofficial patches until April 2019. However, Microsoft advised Windows XP users against installing these fixes, citing incompatibility issues.
Windows XP Mode will only work in Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise editions. But any Windows 7 user can download the Windows Virtual PC engine and create their own virtual machines if they have the necessary licences. Vista and XP users are stuck with the old Microsoft Virtual PC 2007.
Because the XP Mode VM is totally isolated from the host PC, it needs its own separate anti-malware programs, which also need to be separately maintained with updates. All relevant Windows XP updates also need to be regularly downloaded and applied. If the VM's networked, it may also need a firewall.
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