Update: Microsoft postpones release of Windows XP SP3

Fingers unspecified 'compatibility issue' with retail sales software

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday postponed the expected release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) after it found a compatibility bug between the operating system and retail management software it sells.

Last week, Microsoft said the service pack would be available for download from Windows Update (WU) and as a standalone installer from the company's Web site on April 29.

"In the last few days, we have uncovered a compatibility issue between Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) and both Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1)," said Chris Keroack, XP SP3's release manager, in a message posted to the TechNet support forum around noon Tuesday. "In order to make sure customers have the best possible experience, we have decided to delay releasing Windows XP Service Pack 3."

Microsoft's Dynamics RMS is point-of-sale and store management software designed for small and midsize retailers.

There was no word on when the company would add XP SP3 to WU and post the standalone installer. Microsoft intends to place a blocking filter on Windows Update to hide SP3 from machines running Dynamics RMS; when that's deployed, the company will resume its XP3 release schedule, said Keroack.

He also advised RMS users to not install XP SP3 — or Vista SP1, the service pack Microsoft released to WU on March 18 — until Microsoft has patched the bug. Vista SP1 has not been pulled from Windows Update, however, and there is no blocker barring Dynamics RMS users from grabbing that update.

"RMS customers running Windows XP SP3 or Windows Vista SP1 should contact Microsoft Customer Support Services for additional information," urged Keroack.

There is no timeline for the Dynamics RMS fix. Keroack said a patch is being tested and would be posted "once that process is complete."

Microsoft's recent Windows service packs have been plagued by problems and controversy. Vista SP1, for example, was held from most users for several weeks while the company came up with ways to prevent PCs running certain device drivers from obtaining the update. And Microsoft initially barred paying subscribers of its IT and developer services — TechNet and Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), respectively — from downloading either Vista SP1 or XP SP3.

When the software vendor told users last week that it had finished Windows XP SP3, it said it would automatically download and install the upgrade to most users' PCs sometime in "early summer." Keroack did not say whether Tuesday's postponement would affect that schedule.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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