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The Microsoft support page just says to enable automatic updates, but I've got broadband and my friend who's machine I'm repairing has a very slow connection.

Can I download it here and take over an .exe or something on a thumb drive?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Here is a direct download to Windows XP SP3 offline install.

For your information, it is 316.4MB


Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system. This update also includes a small number of new functionalities, which do not significantly change customers’ experience with the operating system. If you're updating just one computer, please visit Windows Update at


Customers running Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) are advised to install a hotfix for a Microsoft Dynamics RMS issue prior to installing Windows XP SP3.


UPDATING JUST ONE COMPUTER: A smaller, more appropriate download is now available on Windows Update. The best way to ensure you get Windows XP Service Pack 3 is by turning on the Automatic Updates feature in Windows XP. You can use our step-by-step instructions or, if you prefer, let us do it for you.

The Microsoft Download Center site is your only authorized web source for downloading a licensed copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3. To report a website offering unlicensed copies of Windows XP SP3 for download, please send e-mail to: or visit

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But if I recall correctly, it requires service pack 2 to be installed prior – Josh Hunt Oct 10 '09 at 1:58
nope, this one includes all prior service packs and can be installed on any previous version of XP. from the link: "Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP Home Edition ; Windows XP Professional Edition ; Windows XP Service Pack 1; Windows XP Service Pack 2" – quack quixote Oct 10 '09 at 7:02
which is why it's 300+MB. – quack quixote Oct 10 '09 at 7:03
"To install SP3, either Windows XP Service Pack 1a (SP1a) or Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) must already be installed." – Josh Hunt Oct 11 '09 at 5:47
@DavidPearce is correct. The service pack throws an error of "Setup has detected that the version of the Service Pack installed on your system is lower than what is necessary to apply this hotfix. At minimum, you must have Service Pack 1 installed." – Jesse Aug 8 '13 at 21:35

This answer to my question gives a link to a DIY solution where you can download patches offline (even from a linux machine if you wish).

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