Microsoft has begun to release some details on the enhancements that they intend to bring with Windows Vista Service Pack 2. As we reported on Neowin last week, Microsoft has released an early beta build of Vista SP2 to testers weighing in at around 290MB.
The reason why the file size is so much smaller then SP1 is that SP2 will require SP1 to be installed before upgrading and this is something Microsoft intends to carry through to the final product. This is a departure from Microsoft's past service pack philosophy that was used in Windows XP and Windows 2000, where each new package included all of the fixes from the previous versions.
Starting October 29, SP2 will be available to customers of the Technology Adoption Program. Microsoft intends a public release in the first half of 2009. After feedback from the beta program has come in, they state that they will use that data to better set a schedule for the final release.
What hasn't been talked about much is that Windows Vista SP2 will also be Windows Server 2008 SP2, embodied in a single service pack which Microsoft said, on their Springboard Series blog, "continues the single serviceability model established with the Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 RTM release. This approach helps reduce the testing and deployment complexity for our customers."
Windows Server 2008 RTM (release to manufacturing) is labeled as "Service Pack 1" in the about dialog, so when Microsoft releases SP2 it will actually be the first true service pack for that operating system.
In addition to building on top of all of the fixes and enhancements included in Windows Vista SP1 and in Windows Server 2008 RTM, Service Pack 2 will feature:
- Support for VIA 64-bit CPUs
- Support for Bluetooth 2.1.
- Support for ICCD/CCID smart cards.
- Support for native Blu-Ray media recording.
- Windows Connect Now (WCN), a new tool to assist in connecting to Wi-Fi networks.
- ex-FAT file system, supporting UTC timestamps to ensure correct file synchronization across time zones.
- Windows Search 4.0 integration.
- Improved support for resuming with active Wi-Fi connections.
Microsoft plans to retain full backwards compatibility on Windows Vista SP2 with applications that run on Windows Vista and Windows Vista SP1 and are written using public APIs. They recommend that companies who intend on adopting Windows Vista SP1, plan to deploy SP2 when it becomes available.