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Microsoft releases Vista SP2 beta

TechNet, MSDN subscribers get service pack today; it goes to Windows Update Thursday

December 2, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. today released the beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 to subscribers of its developer services and said it would open the preview to the general public on Thursday.

In a pair of postings to company blogs, Microsoft announced the availability of the single service pack that will update not only Vista, but also Windows Server 2008, the company's corresponding server software. This is the first time that Microsoft has packaged one download that applies to both the client and server editions of the operating system.

As of today, subscribers to TechNet and the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) can download the beta of Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2, Mike Nash, vice president of Windows product management, said in an entry to the Windows Vista blog.

Others will have to wait two days, Nash continued. "Beginning Thursday Dec. 4, we will be making the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Beta available to everyone through a Customer Preview Program (CPP)," he said.

According to a just-revamped page on TechNet, the Vista and Server 2008 SP2 betas will be available Thursday to the public via downloads over Windows Update, Microsoft's default update service. Links to downloads of stand-alone installers and disk images will also be added Thursday to both TechNet and MSDN.

As is the company's practice, Microsoft discouraged most users from trying out the beta. "The CPP is intended for technology enthusiasts, developers, and IT pros who would like to test Service Pack 2 in their environments and with their applications prior to final release," Nash said. "For most customers, our best advice would be to wait until the final release prior to installing this service pack."

Microsoft has not set a delivery date for Vista SP2 and Server 2008 SP2, saying only that it hopes to ship the update sometime in the first half of next year. Last week, however, a Web site that had accurately predicted several Vista and Windows XP ship dates earlier this year claimed that Microsoft would issue a release candidate in February and wrap up work in April 2009.

A limited number of beta testers have had Vista SP2 since late October, when Microsoft released the preview to its Technology Adoption Program, a long-standing group of company partners and customers.

Users who want to try the beta of Vista SP2 must have SP1 already installed; those grabbing the beta from Windows Update must also first install a component meant to improve the chances of a smooth upgrade.

Microsoft estimated the size of Windows Update download of Vista SP2 beta at 41MB for the 32-bit version and about 60MB for the 64-bit edition. Windows Server 2008 SP2's beta will weigh in at 47MB to 90MB.

Read more about Windows in Computerworld's Windows Topic Center.

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