Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 is reportedly being released to testers, and updates to Windows 7 beta are slated for next week.
Although Microsoft is being relatively mum on the subject, a variety of Web sites are reporting that a release candidate build of Service Pack 2 for Vista and Server 2008 has been released to Microsoft Connect testers. The build, according to the sites, is 6002.16670.090130.
'More to Share' Soon
Ars Technica, for instance, has reported that SP2 is available to testers through Windows Update, adding that Microsoft -- as it usually does -- is recommending that regular users wait until the final release to download it.
SP2 adds a variety of improvements. In terms of hardware, for instance, there is integration of the Feature Pack for Wireless, with support for the most recent Bluetooth, version 2.1, and the Windows Connect Now Wi-Fi configuration. Wi-Fi performance after waking from sleep mode is improved, as are RSS feeds and the ability to record data onto Blu-ray discs.
In operating-system enhancements, Search 4.0 is updated to improve indexing, relevance, and finding or previewing documents, e-mail, music files and photos. SP2 also offers improved content protection for TV in the Windows Media Center.
For the enterprise, the Hyper-V virtualization environment is provided in SP2 as an integrated part of Server 2008.
Microsoft said it is looking for additional feedback from its testers, and it will "track customer and partner feedback from the beta program before setting a final date for distribution." Microsoft added that it will "have more to share" on SP2 "soon," and that final delivery is targeted for the second quarter. Some observers have speculated the release might be in April, which has also been rumored as the target for the release candidate for Windows 7.
Windows 7 Updates
The Windows 7 updates -- up to five total -- are planned to begin on Feb. 24. According to Microsoft, the updates won't add features or fix bugs. Instead, according to a posting on the Microsoft Update Product Team blog, the updates "test the Windows 7 servicing infrastructure ."
The notice, posted Thursday by the Microsoft update team, noted that the company sometimes verifies "update scenarios during a beta, and releasing these test updates will help that when we need to release real updates," so "the process will run smoothly." There had been some speculation online that this batch of updates might address some security issues found in Windows 7 beta.
The updates will be offered interactively, meaning users will be notified, but they won't be installed automatically. Instead, users will be required to go the Windows Update Control Panel and manually start the installation. But users can also right-click on the updates and select "hide update" to avoid having it show up in the available update list. The company said the updates will be "clearly titled" as tests.