Announcing the Release Candidate of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

As you probably know, the Windows Client team has been developing Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, representing our commitment to continuous improvement. Last week, on February 25, the Release Candidate (RC) was made available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers; this week we’re pleased to announce broad availability under the Customer Preview Program as of today, March 4. Your automated feedback will help us deliver the highest quality final release possible.

SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 builds on the advancements delivered in SP1, and simplifies administration by enabling the deployment and support of a single service pack for client and servers. SP2 includes all of the updates that have been delivered since the release of SP1, along with support for new types of hardware and emerging standards that will grow in importance in the coming months.

A few of the highlights are:

Hardware and Standards support

  • Bluetooth 2.1 feature pack to support the most recent Bluetooth device specifications
  • Windows Connect Now (WCN) WiFi configuration
  • Enhanced exFAT file system to support correct file synchronization across time zones

Performance, Reliability and Security improvements

  • All previously released updates since SP1
  • Improved wireless reconnection performance for mobile PCs resuming from hibernation
  • Reduced audio and video streaming performance for specific hardware configurations
  • Windows Search 4, with improved indexing performance, extended file types, and improved Group Policy integration

Deployment and Support enhancements

  • A single installer covers both client PC and servers
  • Driver detection that will either block SP2 installation or warn users of functionality loss, whichever is more appropriate
  • Improved error handling and more descriptive error messages
  • Event logging support for administrators who use quiet-mode installations
  • Includes the Service Pack Clean-Up tool to restore hard disk space by removing redundant files from RTM and SP1

Many of you also manage server infrastructure. If you are testing out Windows Server 2008 R2, here are a few other things you’ll see in this Release Candidate:

  • Easier virtualization—Hyper-V RTM is included in the Service Pack
  • Reduced power consumption—Windows Server 2008 R2 is up to 10% more power efficient than Windows Server 2008 RTM
  • Unified—there is one package for 32 bit and one package for 64 bit that covers both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

For more detail on these and other changes in SP2, please check the Windows Team Blog.