Microsoft has made available to a select group of testers an updated test build of Service Pack (SP) 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
Microsoft made the so-called "escrow" Release Candidate build available site on January 28.
From the e-mail Microsoft sent to testers:
"We are excited to announce RC-Escrow build as the next milestone release of Windows Vista SP2 / Windows Server 2008, now available for download. This build is available on Windows Update for download and install, or by a number of other package options."
Microsoft warned those testing the forthcoming service pack on Windows Small Business server against downloading the new SP2 bits, citing a "known issue that effects branding."
Microsoft is advising testers to wait until tomorrow, January 30, to get the escrow build via Windows Update Service. According to the e-mail sent to testers, "(s)tarting with RC Escrow, Windows Update installation is available to ALL supported languages for Vista and Server 2008." (Supported languages include English, Spanish, German, French and Japanese.)
Microsoft officials reminded testers that it is not looking for new feature suggestions at this point and "only SP2 regressions and confirmation of fixes we've made will be considered for this milestone." SP2 includes a number of fixes and updates for the current Windows client and server releases.
Microsoft officials have declined to provide guidance as to when users should expect the final release of SP2 for Vista and Windows Server 2008. The company's goal has been to release SP2 before it delivers the final Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 code.
According to the TechARP Web site, Microsoft's latest timetable calls for SP2 to go final in the second quarter of 2009, a quarter later than many originally were expecting.