Thursday 4 December 2008

Vista Service Pack 2 - Looking pretty solid

I am really surprised about this - I shouldn't be and thus, I don't want to appear unduly negative. Microsoft is planning to ship its 2nd Service Pack for Vista in mid-April 2009. Already a download of the BETA 2 release is available for MSDN subscribers and the documentation looks really good.

The BETA release of Vista SP2 can be found here;

Why am I surprised? Well, I shouldn't be, but this release is right on schedule. It looks like the Microsoft release management team has really got it's act together. Which means, (fingers crossed) that Windows 7 may actually be delivered on time (i.e. to a previously published schedule).

You can really tell now that application compatibility is a really key issue with Service Pack 2; as the updated documentation includes the following quote;

"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."

For those interested in the contents of the next Vista Service Pack, Microsoft has published a document "Notable Changes in Windows Vista SP2 BETA here;

And, a list of the hotfixes and updates included in Vista SP2 can be found here;

A brief summary of the updates and modifications includes;

•  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.
• 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
• SP2 includes previously released reliability updates
• Resume performance issue resolved when Wi-Fi connection is no longer available after resume from sleep

Maintenance and Support Enhancements include;
• Inclusion of Windows Search 4
• Improvements to the RSS feeds sidebar gadget
• Spysweeper and ZoneAlarm now working with POP3 email accounts
• 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

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