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.