UPDATED: Monday passed without the product updates being uploaded to Windows Update, but my sources tell me that Monday was indeed the target date, due to the timing with OEM PC shipments. I'm expecting the updates to appear any day now, and will provide an update on this Web site when they do. --Paul
Sources close to Microsoft report that the company will release a wide range of product updates, new drivers, and other revisions today--the day that the first PC makers, including Compaq, Dell, Gateway, and Hewlett-Packard (HP), ship Windows XP-based PCs to customers. And in related news, Microsoft provided download access to XP Professional Edition for its Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Professional and Universal customers this weekend, giving them a single PC product key until the October MSDN CD-ROM shipments arrive. Users who want to determine how compatible their systems are with XP can also download a free Update Advisor that will generate a report detailing any potential problems.
Today's product updates are slated to include enhancements to Windows Messenger, Windows Movie Maker, and other XP applications, as well as a large set of driver updates and similar system upgrades, including Microsoft's final USB 2.0 drivers. Sources told me that the expected color and holiday-based UI schemes won't be included, however.
Last Friday, Microsoft gave its MSDN Professional and Universal subscribers download access to the final version of XP Pro only; the XP Home and XP Pro Editions--as well as a 10-PC product key--will be available in the October subscriber CD-ROM shipment. Microsoft will include the volume-license version of XP in October shipments to those customers who participate in the Microsoft Certified Partner, Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, Microsoft Open, Microsoft Select, or MSDN Academic Alliance programs.
If you want to determine whether an existing PC is compatible with Windows XP, Microsoft has made its Upgrade Advisor tool available for free download. This 31MB download provides a report that details which, if any, hardware and software components you need to update for XP. The Upgrade Advisor is based on code in the actual XP Setup routine, so you can update the tool over the Internet before it runs, guaranteeing that its compatibility information is always up-to-date. For more information about the Upgrade Advisor, visit the Microsoft Web site. I'll have full coverage of this tool in a Windows XP Installation Super Guide, due next week on the Windows SuperSite.