Microsoft has released a beta refresh of its Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack (SP) 1 to selected PC and Technology Adoption Program (TAP) partners, company officials confirmed on August 30.
Microsoft made the refresh build -- the build number of which is said to be Build No. 7601.17077 -- available to a select group of testers on August 27. There's no word (so far) on whether there is anything new in that refresh.
"A private interim release went out Friday as part of our normal feedback loop with a small group of our testers – our TAP and OEMs," a company spokesperson told me via e-mail when I asked about the refresh.
The spokesperson said Microsoft would not comment on whether the company will release to the public another interim SP1 build before the first service pack is released to manufacturing. Microsoft officials said earlier this summer that the company is planning to deliver the final SP1 code in the first half of 2011, and the spokesperson said on August 30 that Microsoft is still on track with that stated release date.
Many Microsoft watchers, partners and customers had been expecting Microsoft to deliver the final SP1 bits before the end of calendar 2010. Microsoft officials have stressed that the client version of SP1 does not include any new features or funcitonality. (Windows 7 SP1 includes a few pieces of functionality that Microsoft hasn’t made available via Windows Update or through various security patches. Company officials said these are “enhancements,” rather than new features.These “enhancements” include things such as support for more third-party federation services; improved HDMI audio device support; and XPS printing fixes.)
The server version of SP1 includes two new virtualization-focused features: RemoteFX and a dynamic-memory adjustor for Hyper-V. I've heard speculation that the server version of SP1 is what's holding back the delivery of the client version, but have not heard this from any Microsoft officials.
Microsoft released a public beta of SP1 in mid-July.
Microsoft officials have been adamant that consumers and business customers don’t need to wait for SP1 to deploy Windows 7 and/or Windows Server 2008 R2. Still, a number of business customers use the release of SP1 as a milestone in terms of planning their deployments of a new operating system.