Microsoft® continuously improves the Windows Vista® and Windows Server® 2008 operating systems by providing ongoing updates while working with software and hardware vendors to help them deliver improved compatibility, reliability, and performance. These updates are provided to customers by Microsoft's hardware and software partners, as well as directly from Microsoft in the form of regularly distributed updates delivered via Windows Update. Updates to Windows are also delivered directly to some affected customers and preinstalled by PC manufacturers.
SP2 is an update to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 that addresses feedback from our customers and partners. By providing these fixes integrated into a single service pack, which will be thoroughly tested by Microsoft and by industry partners and customers during the RC cycle, Microsoft provides a single high-quality update that minimizes deployment and testing complexity for customers.
In addition to all previously released updates, SP2 will contain changes focused on supporting new types of hardware and adding support for several emerging standards. SP2 will also continue to make it easier for IT administrators to deploy and manage large installations of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
This document describes the notable changes in the Beta release of SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. For a complete list of all the changes in SP2, see Hotfixes and Security Updates in Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Vista SP2 Note that many of the updates listed are already publically available and have been released via the Microsoft Download Center or Windows Update.
Organizations do not need to wait for SP2 to deploy Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008; we encourage them to begin their Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008 evaluation and deployment now.
There are only two prerequisites for installing SP2:
In order to make the improvements detailed in this document, individual files and components have been updated. Also, the language-neutral design of Windows necessitates that the Service Pack be able to update any possible combination of the basic languages supported by Windows Vista with a single installer, so language files for the 36 basic languages are included in the standalone installer.
These features result in a large stand-alone package, which is the delivery vehicle typically used by system administrators. However, most home and small business users will receive SP2 through Windows Update, which utilizes an efficient transfer mechanism to download only the actual bytes that are changed, resulting in an approximately 43 megabyte (MB) download. This is similar in size to many common software and driver updates that are delivered by other software vendors over the Internet, and therefore should not cause issues for most customers.
Download size (x86)
Download size (x64)
Download size (ia64)
Table 1 Delivery mechanisms for SP2
Thanks to the rich instrumentation capability of Windows operating systems, we are able to understand the types of issues that our customers experience while respecting their personal information and privacy preferences. We use this information to focus improvements in Windows, but we also share this information with our software vendor partners to help improve the reliability and compatibility of non-Microsoft applications. For example, in SP2, Spysweeper and ZoneAlarm, now work with POP3 e-mail accounts.
Our goal for SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 is that applications that are written using public APIs and that run on the Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 operating systems will continue to work as designed.
Microsoft has already released several application compatibility updates which allow more applications to work seamlessly for the end user. These appear in SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, but they are also available through Windows Update. SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 contains additional application compatibility fixes for individual applications.
For more information about previously released compatibility updates, refer to article 947562 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=128900).
The SP2 standalone installer:
SP2 also includes a Service Pack Clean-up tool (Compcln.exe) which helps recover hard disk space by permanently deleting previous versions of files (RTM and SP1) that are being serviced by SP2. The Service Pack Clean-up tool can also be run offline while creating slipstream images to reduce the size of the image.
SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 represents Microsoft's continuing commitment to quality. While most updates contained in SP2 are available as individual downloads, the roll-up convenience of SP2 is a major benefit for administrators. This functionality coupled with new advanced deployment features, such as the single installer and the pre-installation analyzer, means SP2 continues to provide ongoing improvements that our customers have grown to expect from Microsoft. For more detail on SP2's contents, see Hotfixes and Security Updates in Windows Server 2008 SP2 Beta and Windows Vista SP2 Beta.