Vista SP2: What's inside?

Over on the jkOnTheRun blog, Kevin Tofel posted the most complete list I've seen of what's in Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) -- which sounds like it is on track to RTM in April of 2009.

Microsoft is continuing to broaden the pool of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) testers beyond the fairly small, select group who've been working with test builds for the past few months.

On December 2, Microsoft made the latest beta build of SP2 available for download by any TechNet and Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers.

Over on the jkOnTheRun blog, Kevin Tofel posted the most complete list I've seen of what's in Vista SP2. (Tofel's full list has disappeared, but not before I grabbed it. It's now at the bottom of this post.)

In addition to the known Vista SP2 features -- such as the ability to record data on to Blu-Ray media natively in Windows Vista and the addition of Windows Connect Now for simpler wifi configuration -- Tofel says SP2 also will include:

  • Built-in Hyper-V hypervisor
  • Event logging support in SPC
  • Fixes for DRM issues from WMP upgrades
  • Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless
  • Functionality to reduce resources required for sidebar gadgets
  • Improved power settings for Windows Server 2008

Note (added on December 3): Even though Microsoft originally listed Hyper-V as one of the features it would make available as part of Vista SP2, that information is incorrect. A company spokeswoman sent me the following update:

"Sorry for any confusion, but Hyper-V is in Windows Server 2008 SP2, not Windows Vista. Apparently it was listed incorrectly and they're correcting it now."

Microsoft made a first beta build of SP2 releases for both Vista and Windows Server 2008 available to select testers in late October. Company officials have said to expect the final Vista and Windows Server 2008 SP2 builds in the first half of 2009.

Last week, the Tech ARP site reported that Microsoft is targeting April 2009 as its final Vista SP2 release date. Given the Redmondians' desire to get Vista SP2 out the door before Windows 7 is released to manufacturing, April makes a lot of sense. The latest RTM targets I've heard for Windows 7 are in the June/July 2009 realm.

On a related note, speaking of service pack updates, the Windows Home Server team is readying its Power Pack 2 update for mid-2009. The second full-fledged release of Windows Home Server, which will possibly come in Basic and Premium editions, is now looking like a 2010 deliverable, according to APC Magazine.

Back to Vista and Windows Server 2008 SP2: Any testers out there anxiously awaiting any particular features?

Update: Tofel's list of Vista SP2 features is gone. Luckily, I saved his original full list. Here it is:

Emerging Hardware Support

•SP2 contains Blue tooth 2.1 feature pack supporting the most recent specification for Blue tooth technology •Ability to record data on Blu-Ray media, •Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration to Windows Vista SP2, •exFAT file system now supports UTC timestamps, which enables correct file synchronization across time zones. •SP2 provides support for new form factors, such as ICCD/CCID.  new form factor support --example USB form factor as opposed to PCMCIA). •Support for the new VIA 64-bit CPU Security

•SP2 includes all previously released security updates, and builds on the proven security benefits of Windows Vista •Secure Development Lifecycle process updates, where we identify the root cause of each security bulletin and improve our internal tools to eliminate code patterns that could lead to future vulnerabilities •Reliability •SP2 addresses previously released reliability updates, as well as addressing crashes, caused by Microsoft code,  discovered since the launch of SP1 Performance

•Resume performance when Wi-Fi connection is no longer available after resume from sleep •Inclusion of Windows Search 4 for improved indexing performance,  improved relevancy in search, broader indexing scenario inclusion, as well as new Group Policy integration for Windows Search, •Improvements to the RSS feeds sidebar gadget to improve update performance and responsiveness Application Compatibility

•It is our goal that applications that run on the Windows Vista Operating System today and are written using public APIs will continue to work as designed on Windows Vista SP2. •Previously released Application Compatibility updates are included in Windows Vista SP2. •Spysweeper and ZoneAlarm now working with POP3 email accounts Administration and Support Improvements

•Customers installing .net framework 3.5 service pack 1 will notice shorter download and installation times with Vista service pack 2 or Windows 2008 service pack 2 already installed, •Service Pack Clean up tool (Compcln.exe): This tool helps restore the hard disk space by permanently deleting the previous versions of the files (RTM & SP1) that are being serviced by Service Pack 2. •Single installer for both Vista & Server 2008 •Ability to detect an incompatible driver and block service pack installation or warn users of any loss of functionality •Better error handling and providing more descriptive error messages where possible •Better manageability through logging in system event log •Componentization for Serviceability of the installer Some Specific Fixes/Additions Include:

•Inclusion of Hyper-V •Event logging support in SPC •DNS Server now listens over ISATAP address •Fixes DRM issues from WMP upgrades •Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless •Reduction of resources required for sidebar gadgets •Improved power settings for WS08

Update No. 2: Microsoft is circulating a list of some of the hotfixes that is rolling up into Vista/Windows Server 2008 SP2. But Microsoft's list does not include all of the features of the service packs. Perhaps that is why Tofel's list was "disappeared."

Here's Microsoft's note on its own list of SP2 features:

 "This document contains a list of these updates with links to their descriptive pages on the Microsoft Web site http://support.microsoft.com. There are other updates in Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 that have not been released, and they are not presented in this list."