Microsoft is preparing new service packs for Windows Vista and its server counterpart, Windows Server 2008. The pair of service packs, according to sources, will likely land before the release of Windows 7 which is set to debut in late 2009 or early 2010. Microsoft confirmed that the project was in the works, with a Vista spokesman saying, "Microsoft is working on a second Windows Vista service pack (Windows Vista SP2) and will share more details in the coming months."
Windows Vista already saw the release of its first service pack in May of this year. The first release was marred by compatibility difficulties, which forced Microsoft to take it offline for a short time. Amid slower than-hoped-for adoption growth, Microsoft launched a reinvigorated push to convince people to adopt Windows Vista, highlighted by its "I'm a PC" commercials.
Reports indicate that Microsoft is hard at work preparing the second generation service packs, to help further this new campaign. It has reportedly delivered a beta of the Vista pack to select hardware and software partners. This is similar to its current distribution method for early builds of Windows 7. Microsoft also posted a placeholder article for Vista SP2 on its Knowledge Base site.
Details on the new packs are scarce, but sources with Microsoft say that the biggest deliverable for the Server version will be the integration of Hyper-V bits with it. Sources also say the reason Microsoft is pushing to release the pack before Windows 7 is to limit confusion about whether to upgrade to Windows 7 or choose the newly more functional Vista.
The service pack for Windows Server 2008 will also reportedly be called SP2, despite it being the first service pack for the OS. This because Windows Server 2008 was built on Vista with the SP1 service pack included. Still, the first real service pack for the server OS will be an essential boost as many corporate partners are hesitant to buy an OS without service packs.
Microsoft is remaining tight-lipped about the server SP2 as well, except to acknowledge that its coming soon. A Microsoft spokesperson stated, "[The] comment [on Vista] serves for Windows Server as well; Microsoft is not commenting further on the timing/release plans for the WS08 SP2 at this time, but will share more details in the coming months."
The Beta 1 releases for the two SP2s are expected within the next couple months. This will put some pressure on Microsoft's developer team to quickly complete the service pack, as the Windows 7 Beta 1 is slated for mid-December release.
It is rumored that Microsoft may be including some aspects of Windows 7's functionality into Vista via the new service packs.
quote: Most of the 'new features' were security related. The Popup/ActiveX blocker & Add-on manager in IE6 and the firewall, DEP stuff, and the whole 'windows security center' thing.