Microsoft will release a beta of its forthcoming Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) to a wider group of testers on October 29.
Microsoft had been testing SP2 among a very select group of testers for the past couple of weeks. Last week, the company began signing up testers for a broader beta, which testers were told would be released sometime in the next four weeks.
As the Hotfix.Net site reported, Microsoft has begun rolling out that broader beta of Vista SP2 this week. The build number for the beta is 16489. (Thanks to Neowin for the pointer to the Hotfix site.)
Via the Vista Team blog, Microsoft said on October 24 to expect an even wider group of Technology Adoption Program (TAP) testers to get the SP2 beta bits on October 29.
Testers who received invitations to the Vista SP2 beta said they were told it would incorporate Windows Search 4, support for the VIA 64-bit CPU and Bluetooth support. Microsoft confirmed some of those fixes and features will be in the final SP2 in today's blog posting. The company also said to expect SP2 to:
- Add the ability to record data on to Blu-Ray media natively in Windows Vista.
- Add Windows Connect Now (WCN) to simplify Wi-Fi Configuration.
- Enable the exFAT file system to support UTC timestamps, which allows correct file synchronization across time zones.
I haven't yet heard about any testers getting the Windows Server 2008 SP2 bits. That beta seemingly was timed to coincide with the Vista SP2 one. I've asked Microsoft for more information on when testers can expect to get those beta bits.
No word so far.
SP2 for Windows Server 2008,is expected to add backwards compatibility with Terminal Services licensing keys and various performance/manageability features. (I’ve been hearing Microsoft also will fold the Hyper-V bits into Windows Server 2008 SP2.)
Update: According to a posting on the Windows Server Division blog, TAP testers also can expect to get the Windows Server 2008 SP2 bits on October 29. The new blog posting confirms SP2 will include the Hyper-V bits.
I've heard from reliable sources that Microsoft's goal is to deliver the final version of Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 before the company ships Windows 7. Microsoft hasn't stated an updated ship-date goal for Windows 7, but I still hear it's before the end of calendar 2009.
(As I noted earlier this week, if you connect the dots, Microsoft might even be shooting to release to manufacturing (RTM) Windows 7 in the first half of 2009. I will be surprised if Microsoft can deliver the final Windows 7 just seven or eight months from now. But unlike many, I don't think it's totally impossible, given the fairly modest changes the company seems to be making to the Windows code base -- at least as have been noted by testers comparing the latest Vista builds and the pre-beta Windows 7 builds that have leaked out so far.)
Update No. 2: Microsoft -- on at least one of its Web sites -- is saying the ship target for Vista SP2 is in the first half of calendar 2009.