Microsoft today released Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. What’s new:
It includes all updates that have been delivered since SP1, as well as support for new types of hardware and emerging hardware standards.
As we have mentioned before, here are some of the key benefits of Windows Vista SP2:
- Windows Search 4.0 for faster and improved relevancy in searches
- Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack supporting the most recent specification for Bluetooth Technology
- Ability to record data on to Blu-Ray media natively in Windows Vista
- Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) to simplify Wi-Fi Configuration
- Windows Vista SP2 enables the exFAT file system to support UTC timestamps, which allows correct file synchronization across time zones.
For "updates" in the first line, read "bug fixes" and you’ll get the drift – it’s a roll-up of all fixes plus minor feature upgrades which is just what a service pack should be.
Venturing a bit off topic – here’s a quote from the post above that I enjoyed:
Business customers with Windows Vista will find that the transition from Windows Vista to Windows 7 will be significantly more straightforward due to the high degree of compatibility between Windows Vista and Windows 7. If your Windows Vista SP1 deployment is already underway we recommend you continue with SP1 as planned. Then you can deploy SP2 using your systems management infrastructure. If you are in the early stages of deployment or still planning Windows Vista deployment our best advice is that you plan on testing and deploying Windows Vista SP2.
If you are like many of the business customers I talk to, you’ll just keep on installing Windows XP until Windows 7 arrives whereupon you’ll go through an evaluation process while still installing Windows XP until you are sure Windows 7 is not a dud.
Microsoft’s Mike Nash today announced that a beta Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 will be available for public preview starting December 4:
Beginning Thursday Dec. 4th, we will be making the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Beta available to everyone through a Customer Preview Program (CPP). The CPP will launch on TechNet and be available to anyone interested in trying out this service pack. The CPP is intended for technology enthusiasts, developers, and IT Pros who would like to test Service Pack 2 in their environments and with their applications prior to final release. For most customers, our best advice would be to wait until the final release prior to installing this service pack.
For those of you who choose to test this service pack, we encourage you to install the beta as soon as you can; your feedback will help us to ship a solid and stable service pack for Windows Vista.
Microsoft’s promised September virtualization fest kicked off today as they started a global series of “Get Virtual Now” marketing events, but the big news is that their Hyper-V virtualization server is now a free download and will be shipping within 30 days as will Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008.
Admittedly, Hyper-V Server 2008 was only a $28 add-on to Windows Server 2008, but the puzzle is why it wasn’t free in the first place. As to why it is free at all, Microsoft is trying to launch their fledgling in the face of VMware’s current hold on the virtualization market and if the Hyper-V features are "good enough," free seals the deal. VMware is not oblivious however and has their own free entry offerings.
Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc reports that Microsoft has released Windows Search 4.0 which replaces Windows Desktop Search in Windows XP and Instant Search in Windows Vista as well as the relevant applications in Windows Server 2003, 2008, and Windows Home Server. Downloads of Windows Search 4.0 are now available and if you can wait a bit, it will show up on Windows Update.
Some notable enhancements in the new version include cross system searches (as long as they all run Windows Search 4.0) and improved Group Policy management for large organizations, but I expect that the greatest initial interest will be in ordinary desktop search. XP’s Windows Desktop Search was a resource hog that produced such mediocre results that disabling it figured prominently on most lists of XP performance improvement tips and had me pining for my old copy of Lotus Magellan. Vista’s Instant Search is certainly improved in both form and function so it will be interesting to kick the tires. Early reviews of Windows Search 4.0 indicate that there are still some rough edges and while it beats Google Desktop search in function, it still lags in speed.