SP2 for Vista is being made available to selected testers for beta evaluation on Wednesday, according to Microsoft's Mike Nash, corporate vice president, Windows Product Management, in a statement released last week. The beta release will include updates for both client and server (Windows 2008), just as SP1 for Vista did in February.
Nash said that Microsoft is committed to "continually improving Windows," and that the final release date for SP2 will be based on quality ascertained by customer and partner feedback.
New features in SP2 include an improved Windows Search 4.0, a feature pack for Bluetooth 2.1, Blu-Ray enhancements, a new Windows Connect Now for Wi-Fi configuration and a system to support UTC timestamps.
In a statement on Microsoft's Springboard blog, Celine Allee wrote that Windows SP2 is anticipated to go live in the first half of 2009.
"We expect that Windows Vista SP2 will retain compatibility with applications that run on Windows Vista and Windows Vista SP1 and are written using public APIs," stated Allee in her Oct. 24 post. "Consequently, you can (and should) continue your plans for adopting Windows Vista SP1, and roll SP2 into your deployment image when it becomes available." Windows Vista SP1 is a prerequisite for installing SP2.
Windows Vista is widely seen as a stepping stone to Windows 7, previewed this week at Redmond's Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles. John Lister noted in an "Infopacket" post that it was "unexpected" that Microsoft would issue a service pack so quickly after the first update in the spring. He notes in the October 28 post that the release of SP2 shows that Microsoft will likely continue to support and improve Vista in an effort to defer XP users from skipping Vista in anticipation of Windows 7.
Nash advised in his post last week that he will be sharing more about Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7 in the near future.
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