Microsoft Vista SP2 beta: Nothing new has been added (yet)

If you install the beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) expecting to see visible changes to your version of Vista, you'll be sorely disappointed. At least in this initial beta, all the changes are under the hood, and even they are far from earth-shaking.

Microsoft says that it has fixed compatibility problems with the third-party Spy Sweeper and ZoneAlarm security applications, enhanced hardware support for Direct X, improved Wi-Fi connections after a system resumes from sleep, improved Windows Search, added support for the newest Bluetooth specification (2.1) and rolled up all previous Vista updates.

But at the same time we should not forget that this is an initial beta and things may change gradually in the final release. The Notable Changes Document highlights the various improvements and enhancements in this current beta release.

The Windows Vista SP2 Beta and Windows Server 2008 SP2 Beta Test Focus Guide focuses on various factors for evaluating this beta. You can provide your valuable feedback and submit bugs for SP2 at the Microsoft Connect website.

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Actually, native Blu-Ray support is a pretting big feature. It's great. A 25GB Live File System on BD-RE ... I think I bought too many discs.

I'm extremely delighted at SP2 due to the fact that they fixed the bug where when I put my laptop in Sleep/Standby/Hibernate, I would turn on my computer and Vista would not recognize that the AP I was connected to even existed anymore. The only way to remedy it was to restart, but no longer.

I am very happy with SP2 so far.

Why does everyone think that SP's bring new feature? They're maintenance releases, with the occasional exception of a few features every great while they normally ONLY ever bring bug fixes and other minor updates.

Notable Changes in Windows Server 2008 SP2 Beta and Windows Vista SP2 Beta

Application compatibility improvements
Thanks to the rich instrumentation capability of Windows operating systems, we are able to understand the types of issues that our customers experience while respecting their personal information and privacy preferences. We use this information to focus improvements in Windows, but we also share this information with our software vendor partners to help improve the reliability and compatibility of non-Microsoft applications. For example, in Windows Vista SP2, Spysweeper and ZoneAlarm, now work with POP3 e-mail accounts.
Our goal for Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 is that applications that are written by using public APIs and that run on the Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 operating systems will continue to work as designed.
Microsoft has already released several application compatibility updates which allow more applications to work seamlessly for the end user. These appear in Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2, but they are also available through Windows Update. Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 contain additional application compatibility fixes for individual applications.

Hardware ecosystem support and enhancements
- Adds support for the 64-bit central processing unit (CPU) from VIA Technologies, which adds the ID and vendor strings for the new VIA 64-bit CPU.
- Integrates the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, which contains support for Bluetooth v2.1. Bluetooth v2.1 is the most recent specification for Bluetooth wireless technology and Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration.
- Improves performance for Wi-Fi connection after resuming from sleep mode.
- Adds new capabilities to Direct X Graphic display reliability. The graphics experience has been greatly improved for users, such as gamers, running applications that require a lot of graphics processing.
- Includes updates to the RSS feeds sidebar with improved performance and responsiveness.
- Improves audio and video performance for streaming high definition content.
- Includes ability to record data to Blu-Ray media.

Operating system experience updates
- Windows Search 4.0 builds on Microsoft's search technology with improved indexing and search relevance. It also helps find and preview documents, e-mail messages, music files, photos, and other items on the computer. The search engine in Windows Search 4.0 is a Microsoft Windows� service that is also used by programs such as Microsoft Office Outlook� 2007 and Microsoft Office OneNote� 2007.
- Improves Windows Media Center (WMC) in Content protection for TV.

Enterprise improvements
- Provides the Hyper-V virtualization environment as a fully integrated feature of Windows Server 2008, including one free daughter OS with Windows Server 2008 Standard, four free licenses with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and an unlimited number of free licenses with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter.
- Provides an improved power management policy that is up to 10% more efficient than the original in some configurations (both on the server and the desktop), and includes the ability to manage these settings via Group Policy.
- Improves backwards compatibility for Terminal server license keys. Windows Server 2008 changed the licensing key from 512 bytes to 2,048 bytes which caused clients using older Terminal versions to fail. SP2 allows legacy license keys on Citrix applications to work with Windows Server 2008 Terminal server.

Setup and deployment improvements
The SP2 standalone installer:
- Provides a single installer for both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
- Includes the ability to detect an incompatible driver and block service pack installation or warn users of any potential loss of functionality.
- Provides better error handling and descriptive error messages where possible.
- Improves manageability through logging in the system event log.
- Provides a secure install experience.
- Includes the ability to service the installer post release.

SP2 also includes a Service Pack Clean-up tool (Compcln.exe) which helps restore the hard disk space by permanently deleting the previous versions of the files (RTM and SP1) that are being serviced by SP2. The Pack Clean up tool can also be run offline while creating slipstream images to reduce the size of the image.

Whats the purpose of this article? To tell us nothing? Neowin needs to get more quality news postings or something if they are reporting on something like this.

If SP2 isnt going to give new features, then who cares and why write a 4 paragraph article....

I am using Vista SP2 beta and very happy with it. The system became more responsive and the copy bug has finally been fixed! When I wanted to copy files to one of my external hard drives using Vista Sp1, it would start copying files at the speed of 25MB/sec and then in a few seconds it would dropy to 2MB/sec. It is all fine now.

John MacMenamin said,
Microsoft doesn't want to fix Vista becuase they want us all to go but Windows 7 when it comes out.

What's wrong with Vista?

hahahah I crack up when I read the title of the news. If nothing has been updated, why is it necessary to do a report?

According to this post, XP SP3 was a disappointment too. o.O

WTF! Service Packs always include changes under the hood, only XP SP2 didn't.

Is article serious? This isn't a new OS, a SP pack is a rollout of all the previous patches and KB fixes. They also did add some new features, they added updated bluetooth and windows connect now. There is also support to write to blue-ray devices. If they think something dramatic is going to happen they are surely mistaken.

I like Service Packs though, they generally seem to improve performance and reliability on most Operating Systems, which is always a plus. In Vista's case, almost essential!

Raa said,
I like Service Packs though, they generally seem to improve performance and reliability on most Operating Systems, which is always a plus. In Vista's case, almost essential! ;)

Here we go again...

Majesticmerc said,
Service Packs are primarily a rollup of patches, they're not generally used to add new features, the exception being XP SP2.

Vista SP1 did add a few niceties: EFI support, exFAT, etc.

I think this public beta will open up a whole new can of worms for Microsoft, in the good way though. It will provide a much more broad range of issues and potential improvements that can be both fixed and implemented. It means that the more casual enthusiast can do their daily computer tasks with SP2 and Microsoft will have a better, real world, idea of what needs to be improved for either the next Beta or Release Candidate.

So far so good, really, in the grand scheme of things.

I don't think they every said they'd be adding anything new anyways. What are people actually waiting for? Some surprising new feature?

At best you'll get better support and performance. That's all you can ask for in a service pack.

Xerxes said,
It's because of XP SP2, ever since then people have expected new features.

Yep, thats one of the reasons.

Microsoft have repeatedly said in no uncertain terms that XP SP2 was a one-off and would not be repeated with future service packs. Anyone expecting otherwise is deluded.

A traditional service pack is just a rollup of bug fixes, compatibility updates, and performance patches. Nothing more, nothing less.

TCLN Ryster said,
Microsoft have repeatedly said in no uncertain terms that XP SP2 was a one-off and would not be repeated with future service packs. Anyone expecting otherwise is deluded.

A traditional service pack is just a rollup of bug fixes, compatibility updates, and performance patches. Nothing more, nothing less.

I have to agree, most service packs with any other products are just roll ups of small patches. Personally I think Microsoft madea big mistake adding features to XP with SP2, now people expect new feature with every SP that is released, even tho Microsoft have repeatily said it was a one off. There should have been an OS release instead of SP2.