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Feel free to check out its latest service pack, everyone is a VIP now, says Microsoft

DailyTech reported a couple weeks back on Microsoft's release of its Windows Vista and Server 2008 Service Pack 2's Release Candidate.  The SP2 RC was only available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.  Not wanting to leave the general public out of the testing process, Microsoft has at last announced the availability of the SP2 RC to the masses.

The service pack brings a number of changes and bug fixes to Windows Vista.  It provides support for VIA's new 64-bit CPU, Bluetooth v2.1, Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration wireless functionality, faster Wi-Fi resume times after hibernation, and most significantly the ability to record Blu-ray.

It also features a number of software/connectivity improvements, including faster RSS feeds in the sidebar, Windows Search 4.0, the ability to configure the maximum number of TCP connections.

The service pack is also for Windows Server 2008, and offers the Hyper-V virtualization environment as a free fully integrated feature, with 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.  It also improves the management options in Windows Server 2008 and fixes some licensing key problems.

To top it off, the service pack bundles into a single package numerous bug fixes that Microsoft has been working on over the past several months and slowly releasing over Windows Update.  Altogether, SP2 should help to make Windows Vista and Server 2008 more solid platforms, with many small improvements.

Testing is critical to the service packs success.  Microsoft has been burned by past SP releases, which at times caused extreme errors like machine resetting.  The company is looking to give this one a thorough public testing and resolve any issues before deeming it complete.

For those wanting to grab the new SP2 RC, you can download it here.  You will have to uninstall the beta of SP2, if you have it currently installed.

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RE: im confused
By TomZ on 3/5/2009 11:58:34 AM , Rating: 0
...why do you think it's irrational to wait for the first SP? No matter how broad your beta testing is, you'll never fix all the major just makes sense for a business to wait for the first SP so they don't have to risk it.
I couldn't disagree more. What that argument ignores is the "risk" of continuing to use an old operating system like XP. XP subjects users, on a daily basis, to all the small productivity hits and problems that have been "fixed" in Vista and/or Windows 7.

For example, problems with USB drives not being recognized, the need to manually find programs in the start menu to launch, the lack of search in Control Panel, the lack of an improved windowing interface in Windows 7, etc.

Where I work, we proactively upgrade to the latest versions of software just after they are released. I'm sure we've had some issues, but they are far less than the ongoing issues related to running older software versions. Waiting to upgrade until SP1 is foolish. While there are very valid reasons to delay upgrading, waiting until SP1 is not one of them.

RE: im confused
By vapore0n on 3/5/2009 12:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
You must work in a really small company.

The average user does not use the control panel, all USB drives work on XP, cosmetic changes are small compared to the huge impact of upgrading to an unstable OS (Vista release), big OS change requires big hardware change too (Vista again).

Big companies have an IT that takes care of testing that everything works before upgrading, even for patches and service packs.
It costs a lot of money to test and upgrade. I dont see a company dumping a lot of money for this unless it really wants to go for it. In my case, we got XP when support for 2000 ran out, which forced an upgrade.

RE: im confused
By Lugaidster on 3/5/2009 12:56:10 PM , Rating: 1
To me the argument to wait until SP1 reminds me of the days when I used Debian Stable. People tend to create links between the words stable and old. In reality, a software can be stable but not old and be old but not stable.

I'd rather have Vista as it comes with SP1 than XP as it comes with SP2 or SP3. How many times have I inserted a pendrive into an XP machine and it infected itself with some new virus. Yet Vista out of the box warns me of this things.
It's just a more pleasant experience.

My 2 cents.

RE: im confused
By TomZ on 3/5/2009 1:43:28 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, exactly. Both Vista and Windows 7 have a lot of new features that make things quicker and easier. It's foolish to delay upgrading to something better.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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