Microsoft recently released a beta of the Windows XP Service Pack 3 to select testers, and the folks at NeoSmart have now published a list of what XP users can expect from the upcoming service pack. According to NeoSmart, XP SP3 will bring a few major new features, including a revamped Windows Product Activation model that will no longer require users to enter their product keys during the setup process. Among the other new additions will be Network Access Protection modules and policies—a feature brought in from Windows Vista—and a new Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module.
In addition to new features, NeoSmart says Windows XP Service Pack 3 will include some 1,073 patches and hotfixes released since Service Pack 2. 114 of the fixes are security-related, while the rest are reportedly "updates to performance & reliability, bugfixes, improvements to kernel-mode driver modules, and many BSOD fixes."
Windows XP Service Pack 3 is scheduled for an official release in the first half of next year, according to Microsoft's service pack roadmap.