Windows Vista SP2 - What's Inside? What's Important?

With today's launch of the Customer Preview Program (CPP) for Windows Vista® Service Pack 2 (SP2), we wanted to provide a brief synopsis of the elements in this service pack, and encourage you to download and test this release. Windows Vista SP2 is a traditional service pack release with all cumulative released security updates available since the SP1 release in March 2008. In addition, Windows Vista SP2 includes support for new types of hardware and emerging standards that will grow in importance in coming months, along with fixes discovered via automated error reporting as part of our Customer Experience Improvement program.

What makes the Windows Vista SP2 release unique is that it represents a single service pack which applies to both client (Windows Vista SP1) and server (Windows Server 2008) operating systems—since the code base for Windows Vista is shared with that for Windows Server® 2008, a single update can be deployed across your infrastructure. This service model also provides the ability to detect an incompatible driver and block service pack installation, or warn users of any loss of functionality during installation. Other highlights for IT pros include:

Emerging Hardware Support

  • Bluetooth 2.1 feature pack
  • Ability to record data on Blu-ray media
  • exFAT file system now supports UTC timestamps, which enables correct file synchronization across time zones
  • Support for the new VIA 64-bit CPU
  • Support for ICCD/CCID smart cards

Hyper-V *

  • Windows Vista SP2 includes Hyper-V™ technology, enabling full virtualization of server workloads

*To clarify, Hyper-V is not included in Windows Vista SP2, it is part of the Windows Server 2008 service pack. This means that when you install SP2 for Windows Server 2008, or if you install a slipstreamed version of Windows Server 2008 with SP2, the RTM version of the Hyper-V role will be included. Hyper-V was released after Windows Server 2008, which means that the role you currently install is a pre-release role and needs to be updated to bring it up to RTM. This update will be applied (only if necessary) automatically when you install SP2.


  • Windows Vista SP2 incorporates previously released reliability updates, as well as addressing crashes discovered since the launch of Windows Vista SP1


  • Inclusion of Windows Search 4 for improved indexing performance, improved relevancy in search, broader indexing scenario inclusion, as well as new Group Policy integration for Windows Search
  • Reduction of resources required for sidebar gadgets


  • Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless
  • Fixed issue where Wi-Fi connection was no longer available after resume from sleep

Administration and Support Improvements

  • Service pack clean-up tool: Restores hard disk space by permanently deleting the previous versions of the files (Windows Vista RTM and Windows Vista SP1) that are being serviced by Windows Vista SP2

We encourage you to download this service pack and test it on your lab machines. You should find that most if not all of your applications continue to function properly with this release. Also, we should point out that either Windows Vista SP1 or Windows Server 2008 is a prerequisite for installing this service pack.

Additional information on Windows Vista SP2 can be found in the Notable Changes in Windows Server 2008 SP2 Beta and Windows Vista SP2 Beta document. For more information on deploying and managing Windows Vista and related service packs, bookmark this blog and the Windows Client TechCenter at