Microsoft serves up SP2 for Vista, Server 2008

Updates include third-party application compatibility, version 4.0 of Windows Search technology, and native recording of data to Blu-ray.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Microsoft has released the second service pack for its Windows Vista and Server 2008 operating systems.

Vista SP2 and Server 2008 SP2, which pull together various updates to the operating systems that have already been rolled out by Microsoft in a piecemeal fashion, were uploaded to Microsoft's Download Center on Tuesday. The two service packs are combined in a standalone package that lets system administrators deploy and support both client and server updates in one operation.

Microsoft has not said precisely when the service packs will be rolled out as automatic updates, although Microsoft blogger Brandon LeBlanc said in a blog post on Tuesday that this would happen "sometime during the coming months".

Once the service packs become automatic updates, business customers who want more time to prepare for the implementation of SP2 can use the same blocking tool that Microsoft provided for Vista SP1, LeBlanc wrote.

Some of the updates included in SP2 cover third-party application compatibility, such the new ability for Spysweeper and ZoneAlarm to work with POP3 e-mail accounts. Microsoft has also included version 4.0 of its Windows Search technology in the new service pack.

SP2 also adds support for the Bluetooth v2.1 specification, improves performance for Wi-Fi connections after resuming from sleep mode, and makes it possible to natively record data to the Blu-Ray optical disk format. The service pack also adds support for Via's new 64-bit CPUs.

For enterprise customers, SP2 fully integrates Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization environment into Server 2008. The service pack also introduces the ability to manage server and desktop power management settings via group policy.

The standalone installer for both service packs--aimed at system administrators--weighs in at 390MB for the x86 version, and 622MB for the x64 version.

Those installing SP2 through Windows Update will, however, get away with much lower data usage, as that service only downloads the bytes that are changed. Using this method, the x86 versions of Vista SP2 and Server 2008 SP2 will involve 43MB and 47MB of downloads respectively, and the x64 versions will involve 60MB and 90MB of downloads respectively.

There are a few prerequisites for the installation of Vista and Server 2008 SP2, one of which is that the first service packs for the operating systems must already be installed.

IT managers who publish applications with Citrix XenApp will also need to install and configure Terminal Services (TS) Licensing before installing Windows Server 2008 SP2, otherwise their Citrix clients will not be able to connect to the server.

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