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Microsoft ships Vista SP1 release candidate to testers

Same group that's been working beta now gets RC; SP1 called on track for early '08

November 15, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. has delivered a release candidate of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 to some 15,000 invitation-only testers, and said today it was still on track to deliver the update early next year.

A new build of Service Pack 1 (SP1) dubbed Windows Vista SP1 RC Preview was made available to testers yesterday, a company spokeswoman said via e-mail today. "The RC Preview incorporates feedback from users in our beta program, including changes to the setup and installation experience," she said.

The first beta of SP1 was seeded to approximately 12,000 testers about seven weeks ago, after considerable ship date speculation and several months of uncertainty whether the company would even produce its usual service packs for the new operating system.

"We will release a [release candidate] of SP1 to a broader group of testers soon," the spokeswoman added. "And we are targeting the first quarter of 2008 to release SP1 to manufacturing."

Microsoft will offer a pre-release version of SP1 to all comers at some point, but declined to share a schedule for that stage of testing today. "We do not have details on the timing," the spokeswoman said.

Vista, which has received its share of criticism from users and reviewers, has been deployed by relatively few big businesses in the 12 months since it was given the green light by Microsoft. Just-published results of a survey by Forrester Research Inc., for example, said that only 7% of U.S. and European companies will have started deploying Vista by the end of the year; that number, however, will climb to 32% by the end of 2008, a Forrester analyst added yesterday.

Although Microsoft is obviously extending the service pack concept to Vista -- a fact that was unclear for several months after the operating system shipped to consumers in late January -- it's also made much of several recent performance, stability and reliability updates that have been pushed to all Vista users. The most recent was added to the Automatic Updates lineup offered via the Windows Update service on Tuesday.

"Continuous improvement is the name of this game," said Nick White, a Vista program manager, in a posting on a company blog that described the three updates provided to all users this week.

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