I have been reading posts in various locations that there is some confusion regarding the IEBlog post, IE and Windows XP Service Pack 3. Let's take a closer look.
Although IE7 is the current Internet Explorer "standard" and has been out for some time, for various reasons, there are many companies that have not been able to upgrade to IE7. As an example, perhaps there are custom or proprietary applications that are not compatible with IE7. With SP3, those companies who still are not in a position to tool-up for installing IE7 can take advantage of the additional security features and improvements afforded by SP3. The same can be said for home installations.
With that explanation, it makes sense that SP3 is "tailored" for IE6. So what happens to Internet Explorer if you use IE7 and install SP3? Actually, nothing except that you will not be able to revert to IE6 unless you uninstall both SP3 and IE7 and then reinstall SP3.
I would strongly advise anyone using IE8 Beta to uninstall IE8 Beta prior to installing SP3.
Important Additional Notes:
I learned from ravencajun at the Garden Web* that there appears to be issues with non-Intel OEM machines, particularly HP and COMPAQ, resulting in a reboot loop where only Safe Mode is possible. See Microsoft MVP, Bill Castner's instructions at BBR.
There have also been reports of people having problems with SP3 because they did not follow the instructions at Recommendations before you install Windows XP Service Pack 3. When installing any software, but most particularly a major update such as a service pack, always disconnect from the internet and close anti-virus, anti-malware and any "real-time protection" software.
If you use Avast anti-virus software, also disable the Avast Self-Defense Module (Right-click the Avast icon > Program Settings > Troubleshooting > place a check mark in the box: "Disable avast! self-defense module"). It can be re-enabled after the installation has been completed.
Microsoft is providing free, unlimited installation and compatibility support for Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) through April 14, 2009. Additional information is available at http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?ln=en-us&prid=11273&gprid=522131
Note: For information on AMD-based machines, see the Windows XP SP3 and the Reboot Loop.
*Most appropriate, Security Garden learning from Garden Web!