Today Microsoft released Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2), which as many know by now is a cumulative service pack that provides the latest updates, security and stability enhancements, and newest features for the Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional x64 operating systems.
In particular, it covers Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 in all the various editions for the x86, x64 and IA64 platforms.
Windows Server 2003 SP2 is also the foundation operating system for the upcoming service pack of Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, which will be available for download and CD orders within the next 30 days.
Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 page has links to all the various downloads and tools and the SP2 Technical Overview explains the installation paths for the various versions as well as explaining what’s new and improved besides the roll-up of fixes. Although SP2 was expected in 1Q and there isn’t much of that left, it arrived without warning and that has some system administrators a little grumpy.
Microsoft today released Virtual PC 2007 which, in keeping with the competition in virtualization, is available as a free download from the web. You can check out the overview document for technical details, but it uses Microsoft’s XPS format which means you have to install .NET Framework 3.0 to read it if you aren’t running Vista. If that’s impossible or the prospect fills you with dismay, the net is that Virtual PC 2007 adds:
* Support for x64 Windows as a host operating system
* Support for hardware virtualization support
* Support for Windows Vista as a guest and host operating system
* Support for PXE network booting of virtual machines
* Support for the use of fullscreen virtual machines on multi-monitor systems (VM still stays on just one monitor though)
However, as we mentioned in January, you won’t be running any Home versions of Vista in a Virtual PC because it is forbidden. Allowable hosts are Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional, or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.
As expected, Windows Live OneCare, Microsoft’s new entry in the PC security software market, will ship a new version 1.5 with Vista support along with Vista on January 30. Also not unexpected given the lagging sales, there will be some retailer promotions as well as a last ditch appeal for beta users who didn’t take advantage of last year’s promotion directed at them.
One Caveat: Even the new version of OneCare does not support 64-bit versions of Vista or XP.
Microsoft today released Release Candidate 1 of their Internet Explorer 7 Web browser. It is publicly available for download here for Windows XP SP2 and the other Windows operating systems (XP x64, Windows Server 2003) that it supports. This is likely the last public beta download before it goes gold and Paul Thurrott has a guide as to what to expect including:
Microsoft says there are no major new features in this version, but there is one feature that should cause users to cheer: It no longer requires you to manually uninstall any previous IE 7 beta versions you might have installed. Instead, the IE 7 RC1 installer will uninstall previous IE 7 versions for you, after a reboot, and then proceed with installing RC1, after a second reboot. Bravo.
More by following the link.