Vista & Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Beta!

Direct Downloads ( Service Pack 2 Beta KB948465)

Code: Windows Vista & Server 2008 all
Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Vista SP2 Beta Download

The “Notable Changes” document" on TechNet lists some of the new features and enhancements slated for Vista SP2. According to TechNet, SP2 does the following:

[li] Supports the 64-bit processor from VIA Technologies Inc.
[/li][li] Supports Bluetooth v2.1 delivered by the inclusion of the Vista Feature Pack for Wireless.
[/li][li] Provides better performance for Wi-Fi connections after the PC comes out of sleep mode.
[/li][li]Improves performance of the RSS feeds sidebar.
[/li][li]Supports exFAT, a system that supports the larger capacity of files used in Flash memory and consumer devices.
[/li][li]Improves power management efficiency by up to 10% on both client PCs and servers.
[/li][li]Detects incompatible drivers, then blocks installation of the service pack, or warns users of possible problems.

Other additions to Vista delivered by SP2 are spelled out elsewhere, however. For example, Celine Allee, a director in the Windows client IT team, listed several more new features in a post yesterday afternoon to her group’s blog. They include that SP2 does the following:

[li] Records data on Blu-ray Discs.
[/li] [li] Adds Windows Search 4, the current version of Microsoft’s desktop search engine. Microsoft issued Search 4 to Vista users via Windows Update last July as a separate update.
[/li] [li] Reduces resources required for sidebar gadgets.
[/li] [li] Cleans up service pack aftereffects and recovers storage space by deleting the previous versions of the files that are updated by SP2.

Later, Allee clarified a mix-up regarding Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology, which is included in the service pack but not installed on Vista machines. “To clarify, Hyper-V is not included in Windows Vista SP2,” Allee said. “It is part of the Windows Server 2008 service pack.”

The confusion arose because this is the first time that Microsoft has packaged a single service pack that updates both the client and server editions of Windows.

Microsoft has also posted a long list of the bug fixes and security patches that it bundled into Vista SP2. However, the patches do not include the vulnerability updates that Microsoft released last month or the emergency patch the company pushed to users in late October when it discovered active attacks that exploited a flaw in the Windows Server service.

Microsoft has said it will follow past practice and offer a blocking tool that will let organizations bar machines from receiving SP2 through Windows Update.