Microsoft published Service Pack 2 (SP2) on Monday for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
This "release-to-Web" version of SP2 is a more general public release than the "release-to-manufacturing" version (designed for PC hardware builders) that Microsoft announced late last month.
Those eager to get SP2 can grab it today through the Microsoft Download Center or through Windows Update. The service pack is available as both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. However, grabbing the bits directly means handling a fairly large download, ranging in size from 300 MB to 600 MB.
System administrators typically might accept waiting for such a large download because they'll be getting a complete standalone SP2 package. However, average users can get SP2 as a much smaller 43 MB download if they've turned on Automatic Update in Vista and are willing to wait.
Microsoft plans to begin delivering SP2 via Automatic Update in June, and it will gradually be pushed out to users over about two months' time.
Microsoft's business customers needing more preparation time can block Automatic Update from downloading SP2 by using the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit. They can also control the update by setting the group policy for Automatic Updates and Windows Software Update Services.
SP2 is a single installer for both Vista and Windows Server 2008. However, you need to have Service Pack 1 (SP1) installed first before installing this new service pack. Those using Windows Server 2008 already have SP1 installed, according to Microsoft's "Notable Changes" document.
New features in SP2 include support for VIA Technologies' 64-bit CPU, the addition of Windows Search 4.0 and updates to Wi-Fi wireless and Blu-Ray media support, among many other details described in the Notable Changes document. SP2 also contains all of the updates Microsoft has released since SP1.
The Microsoft Download Center portal provides access to the x86 version of SP2 here, while the x64 version can be accessed here.
IT pros can access the bits or an ISO file at Microsoft's TechNet portal here.