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Microsoft sends out Windows 7 SP1 beta invites

Microsoft began sending beta invites to potential Windows 7 SP1 beta testers on Tuesday.

In an email to beta candidates, the Windows Customer Connection Team has picked select testers for an early copy of Windows 7 SP1. "You are receiving this invitation based on the quality of feedback you have provided on previous Windows programs", read the email promising early access to pre-release versions of the Service Pack.

The invite also confirms the Service Pack will be available in English, German, Japanese, French and Spanish. Microsoft revealed its plans for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 last week at its annual Tech-Ed conference. Windows 7 SP1 will include the usual hotfix patches and new virtualization tools in SP1 will help Windows Server 2008 R2 users prepare for cloud computing. SP1 will include RemoteFX which provides rich 3-D graphical experience for remote users. The service pack also will include a series of incremental updates, previously released on Windows Update for both Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

RemoteFX is a new enhancement to RDP's graphical remoting capabilities. The idea behind RemoteFX is to allow for a full remote experiences including multiple displays, Aero and multimedia streaming to all types of client devices including low cost thin clients. RemoteFX achieves this by using a technique known as host-based rendering. This technique allows for the final screen image to be rendered locally on the remote PC after being compressed and sent down to that remote host. The enhancements are expected to greatly improve video streaming across remote sessions which is currently one of the major drawbacks of virtualized computing.

In April this year an early copy of Windows 7 SP1 surfaced on the Internet. The build leaked to file sharing sites. SP1 is also rumoured to include USB 3.0 support and enhanced Bluetooth/Wi-Fi stacks but Microsoft has not  yet confirmed this.

Microsoft is planning to release a public beta of Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 by the end of July. Technical beta testers are expected to receive the bits by the end of June. Unlike the Windows 7 beta program there will not be any free gift for participating in the technical beta.

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