Windows XP Service Pack 1 (XP SP1) is more than just a collection of security hot-fixes and bug fixes; instead, it's a full-on interim Windows release with tons of new functionality . So here's the first--and most comprehensive--FAQ dedicated to the next version of Windows XP Home Edition and Professional anywhere! Be sure to read my Windows .NET Server FAQ and Longhorn FAQ for information about other upcoming Windows versions.

UPDATE: This FAQ is now retired.

Q: What is Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1)?
A: Windows XP SP1 will roll up critical updates and contain enabling technologies for Windows Powered Smart Displays ("Mira") and new types of PCs like the Tablet PC and the Media Center ("Freestyle") PC. It will also include USB 2.0 support and the changes required by the consent decree with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and nine US states. Additionally, Microsoft has made a few changes to Windows Product Activation in XP SP1 that make it harder for people to pirate the software. For more information, please check out my Windows XP SP1 Preview.

Q: What are "Mira" and "Freestyle"?
A: Windows Powered Smart Displays (code-named "Mira") is a new remote display technology that uses Windows CE .NET, 802.11b (Wi-Fi) wireless capabilities, and XP's Remote Desktop feature to enable a new generation of smart displays which you can carry around the home.

Windows XP Media Center Edition ("Freestyle") is a new version of XP that includes a simple, graphical front-end to the XP-based digital media tasks you can perform with a remote control, rather than a keyboard and mouse. This includes listening to digital music, watching photo slideshows, and viewing digital movies and DVDs.

For more information about these exciting new technologies, please check out my Mira and Freestyle technology showcases.

Q: When will XP SP1 ship?
A: SP1 was finalized on August 30, 2002, and will ship publicly on September 9, 2002. This will give PC makers time to integrate the new XP into PCs for the 2002 holiday season.

Q: What's the XP SP1 code-name?
A: XP SP1 does not have a code-name.

Q: Wasn't this supposed to ship in early 2002?
A: Yes, the original plan was to ship XP SP1 in the first half of 2002. But with a slew of new features to add and its Trustworthy Computing code review to do, Microsoft decided to integrate it all into a single release aimed at satisfying the need for a yearly Windows release.

Q: So what about Longhorn?
A: Longhorn has been delayed until late 2004 and is now a major Windows release. See my Longhorn FAQ and showcase, the Road to Longhorn, for more information about the next Windows release after XP SP1.