The Windows team is readying second service packs (SP2) for Vista -- and for its server complement, Windows Server 2008 -- and is aiming to deliver these SP2s before it releases Windows 7, according to my sources.
I'm hearing that Microsoft already has delivered a beta of at least Vista SP2 to select hardware and software partners, the same way that it has been providing a hand-chosen few with early builds of Windows 7. I noticed that Microsoft has put up a place holder Knowledge Base article on October 2 regarding the forthcoming SP2 betas. (I see a couple of other bloggers saw this, as well.)
I haven't heard details from any testers regarding any of the features due in Vista SP2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2. But here are some tidbits of what I have heard from my sources:
- Microsoft's goal is to deliver both SP2 releases before it delivers Windows 7 in order to lessen confusion among users as to whether to deploy Vista and Windows Server 2008 -- or to wait for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (a k a Windows 7 Server). Currently, Microsoft is believed to be attempting to RTM Windows 7 in the second half of 2009. The Softies have said Windows Server 2008 R2 is on track for 2010.
- Because Microsoft is trying to keep Windows client and server code in lock-step, Windows Server 2008 was built around the Vista SP1 codebase. That's why the first standalone service pack for Server 2008 is being called SP2. As many customers still are reticent to deploy a new OS until the first standalone SP goes out, Microsoft also is pushing to get SP2 for server out there to convince these users to consider upgrading.
- The biggest deliverable in SP2 for Windows Server 2008 will be the integration of the Hyper-V bits with the server OS.
(I've asked the Windows client and server teams for comment on their respective SP2 features/timing and will update this post if and when I hear back. Given how tough it was to get info out of Microsoft on Vista SP1, I am not holding my breath....)
Update: Here's all the Vista team will say, courtesy of a spokesperson: "Microsoft is working on a second Windows Vista service pack (Windows Vista SP2) and will share more details in the coming months."
Update No. 2: From the server team, via a spokesperson: "(T)he comment (above) 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."
Microsoft is expected to release a public Beta 1 of Windows 7 in mid-December, according to internal schedule information from sources. I haven't yet heard when Beta 1 of Windows Server 2008 R2 is due, but I would bet it will be in the next month or two, as well. If Microsoft really is hoping to get Vista SP2 and Win Server 2008 SP2 out first, that doesn't give the Redmondans a whole lot of time to test and deliver its pair of SP2s.
Given the timing, I'm wondering whether Microsoft might decide to deliver any of the tweaks or features it is building into Windows 7 via Vista SP2. Are there any fixes or tweaks you are hoping Microsoft delivers as part of Vista/Win Server 2008 SP2?