Windows XP SP3 Download

The Windows XP SP3 Download tutorial is a plea to all home computer users who are still running Windows XP. If you do not have Service Pack 3 installed, please read this page and upgrade ASAP!

To protect your computer from Malware and other cyber criminal activity You Must Upgrade To XP Service Pack 3!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Windows XP has gone End of Life (EOL) on April 8th 2014. This means no further security patches or updates for this Operating System!

Microsoft recently announced the continuation of advisories for newly discovered vulnerabilities, and the continuation of updates for things like Windows Defender only.

My advice is to move to Windows 7 (assuming you wish to stay on a Windows platform) as soon as possible.

I also advise not moving to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. At the time of writing it appears this Operating System is experiencing numerous issues.

Windows 10 is to be released in 2015. After moving to Windows 7 it is worth waiting to see what Windows 10 brings before deciding to move to this latest version.

This tutorial is the 2nd of a 2-part series based on Windows XP Service Pack download options. Here we discuss:

Part 1 shows you the reasons why you should upgrade from Service Pack 2. It is surprising how many home computers do not have SP3 installed.

Part 1 also explains the benefits of installing SP3; increased performance and security, for example.

There is also good checklist for what you need to do prepare your computer before upgrading to Service Pack 3. This is an essential read!

Applying Service Packs is quite an easy thing to do. Just follow the guide and you should be able to upgrade without any problems.

Do you have Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3, or Home Edition Service Pack 3 installed? If not, explain to your fellow readers why you  haven't upgraded yet?

If you have already upgraded to SP3, explain how easy (or hard) it is. We are interested in your thoughts and opinions!

Share your views and write your own personal web page by completing the Do You have SP3 installed? Form at the bottom of this page.

Read Other Site visitors Thoughts on all things XP SP3 related.


  1. Download And Install SP3 Manually
  2. Download And Install SP3 Via Automatic Updates
  3. Windows XP SP3 Download Final Thoughts

Download And Install SP3 Manually

The following steps show you how to apply the Windows XP SP3 download yourself. Some professionals prefer this method so they can control when the Service Pack is applied.

However, I am more than happy to let Automatic Updates control this.

For the purposes of this tutorial I am using Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3. You can use the same download for whatever version of Windows XP you are using.

Depending on the speed of your computer the process could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

To apply the Windows XP SP3 download:

  1. Select the Microsoft XP Service Pack Download link (Opens New Window) to get Service Pack 3. Select the Download button on the web page:

  2. Windows XP SP3 Download
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Windows XP SP3 Download

  3. Select the Save Button on the File Download Prompt then wait patiently for the Service Pack to download.

    Depending on your Internet speed this could take a while

  4. Service Pack 3 Downloading
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Service Pack 3 Downloading

  5. Once the EXE is downloaded, double click to start the process. Select the Run Button when prompted, then wait for the files contained within the EXE to be extracted:

  6. Windows XP Service Pack 3 Download Security Warning
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Windows XP Service Pack 3 Download Security Warning

    Extracting Files Process
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Extracting Files Process

  7. When the files finish extracting select the Next Button on the Software Update Installation Wizard.

    Note the advice to Backup your system (and your data files) and close all open programs. Open programs can cause the installation to fail.

  8. The Start Wizard
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    The Start Wizard

  9. Select the I Agree option on the License Agreement screen, then select Next:

  10. License Agreement
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    License Agreement

  11. Next you can choose where to store the current system files that Service Pack 3 modify and replace. My advice is to accept the suggested location and select Next:

  12. File Location Choice
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    File Location Choice

  13. The Update Wizard will inspect your computer then start the backup of your system files. Depending on the speed of your computer this could take a while:

  14. System Inspection
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    System Inspection

    Service Pack 3 Backing Up Files
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Service Pack 3 Backing Up Files

  15. After the Backup step is complete, a System Restore Point is created. If there is an problem, you have the option to rollback to before you started the update process:

  16. Create Restore Point
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Create Restore Point

  17. Once the Restore Point is created the new Service Pack files are installed:

  18. Installation Process
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Installation Process

  19. After the Service Pack 3 files are installed, a series of clean up tasks are performed. Again the speed of your computer will determine how long this step takes.

    After these tasks are complete, the service Pack installation process finishes. Click the Finish Button prompting your computer to Restart:

  20. Installation Finishing
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Installation Finishing

    Installation Complete
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Installation Complete

  21. When your computer restarts, you should have SP3 installed. To confirm this:

    Right click the My Computer icon on your desktop then select Properties from the resulting menu. Do you see SP3?

  22. System Properties Showing Service Pack 3 Installed
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    System Properties Showing Service Pack 3 Installed

That's it! Straightforward or what! You will find that once Service Pack 3 is installed there will be a raft of additional updates waiting to be installed via Automatic Updates.

Return to the Table of Contents

Download And Install SP3
Via Automatic Updates

If you have Windows XP SP2 you can download Service Pack 3 via the Automatic Update utility.

This is the common method of installation for most home computer users.

  1. Whether you initiate the installation, or Automatic Updates does, you are prompted to Accept The License Agreement:

  2. Windows XP SP3 Download
    Automatic Updates License Agreement

    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Automatic Updates License Agreement

  3. Service Pack 3 will now download to your computer

  4. Windows XP SP3 Download Automatic Updates Downloading
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Windows Automatic Updates Downloading

  5. Once Service Pack 3 is downloaded the Microsoft Windows Update begins to install. From this point you follow Steps 7 To 10 Inclusive from the manual install process:

  6. Automatic Updates Installing
    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Automatic Updates Installing

  7. When the installation completes, click the button to Restart Your Computer:

  8. Windows XP SP3 Download
    Automatic Updates Installation Complete

    (Click Image To Enlarge)

    Automatic Updates Installation Complete

As with the manual process there is a load of subsequent Security Updates to apply. These updates are what Microsoft have released since Service Pack 3.

Return to the Table of Contents

Windows XP SP3 Download
Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you are going to download Windows XP SP2, DON'T!. Install Service Pack 3 instead.

PC Advisor (Opens New Window) has a good 3-part article on Service Pack 3 that is worth a read.

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Do You have SP3 installed?

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

A Strange Way To Finally Get SP3 To Install 
At the VistaHeads Forum (Opens New Window) one of the users suggests something that worked for me and might work for you as well! I have no idea how …

SP3 Mission Impossible Not rated yet
I was able to download from the Microsoft Web site but in an unreadable ISO form only. Unfortunately that is where my troubles started. I used Nero …

Some Clarity On This Upgrade? Not rated yet
I have Windows XP and have no idea if I have upgraded to Service Pack 2 or 3. What put me off the idea of upgrading is that you have to backup everything. …

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