Starting tomorrow SP3 for Windows XP is an automatic update
As early as tomorrow, Microsoft could begin distributing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP as an automatic update. In a recently updated list of patches distributed via the WSUS update server, the Redmond company specified July 10 as the date after which SP3 would be distributed automatically. Experience has shown that it can take a couple of days for PCs outside the US to automatically download and install the package. Previously, the service pack could be manually installed using the Windows update website.
There are still a few users complaining of problems after completing the SP3 installation. Since mid-June a patch has been available from Microsoft as an automatic update with KB number 953356 that prevents some systems from completely crashing following the SP3 installation.
Users that want to prevent Windows from automatically installing SP3 can install a Blocker patch that Microsoft offers for download. Although Microsoft apparently is no longer concerned about installing SP3 on all of its customers computers, today would be a good time for users to back up their systems using a hard drive imager, or something similar.