About-face: Microsoft makes new Vista SP1 test build public

After saying it planned to make its latest test build of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 available to a private group of testers only, Microsoft has done an about-face and made the code available to the public.

After saying it planned to make its latest test build of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 available to a private group of testers only, Microsoft has done an about-face and made the code available to the public.

Late in the day on January 11, Microsoft posted the new Vista SP1 Release Candidate (RC) code -- which it rolled out a couple of days ago on its password-protected Web site -- to the Microsoft Downloads site.

Microsoft released the newest update of its Vista SP1 RC build on January 9. At that time, Microsoft made sure to note that the build was not available for public download.

According to a company spokeswoman, the build includes "a number of bugs that testers encountered in previous pre-release versions of SP1." She declined to be more specific.

On the Microsoft Downloads site, the company notes that "systems running on Windows Vista RTM typically require two or three updates before SP1 can be installed. These updates are permanent on your Windows Vista systems." Two of the updates "service specific Windows components prior to the installation of the service pack and a third update which services the installation software built into Windows Vista."

The three prerequisites, according to Microsoft:

  • KB935509 This updates is only required on Windows Vista Enterprise and Windows Vista Ultimate editions (which have Bitlocker capabilities).
  • KB938371 This update consists of fixes for several components (including the TrustedInstaller), increases the success rate for installing the service pack and enables the service pack to be uninstalled successfully.
  • KB937287 This is an update to the “Servicing Stack” or the Windows Vista component installer technologies built into Windows Vista.

Unlike the case when it released previous Vista SP1 builds, Microsoft did not release simultaneously a new build of Windows XP SP3, the spokeswoman confirmed.

Microsoft confirmed this week that Vista SP1 is still tracking toward first quarter 2008 availability. (February is the target month, my sources say.) Windows XP SP3 is due in the first half of 2008, according to the company.

(Thanks to Winbeta.org for a heads-up on availability of the public Vista SP1 RC download.)

Update: Here's Microsoft's statement, relayed after I posted on Friday, about the SP1 Release Candidate buil:

"In the interest of gaining additional tester feedback, on Thursday, we made the Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh available via Windows Update to interested beta testers on the public TechNet site. We are still on schedule to deliver SP1 RTM in Q1 CY08. The final release date is based on quality, so we will continue to track customer and partner feedback from the beta program before setting a final date."