Redmond (WA) – Microsoft today said that it is quickly widening the availability of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 beta to testers. MSDN and TechNet subscribers have access to the software starting today while members of the firm’s Customer Preview Program (CPP) will get access on Thursday.
According to Mike Nash, corporate vice president for Windows Product Management at Microsoft, the beta software will launch on TechNet and be available to anyone interested in trying out this service pack. CPP members typically include technology enthusiasts, developers, and IT Pros and Microsoft recommends to those individuals to “to install the beta as soon as [they] can” and provide feedback to enable Microsoft to “to ship a solid and stable service pack for Windows Vista.”
Nash said that Vista SP2, which builds on the foundation of SP1, will become available in the first half of next year. Unconfirmed reports claimed that Microsoft is aiming for an April 2009 release date, which would be about half a year before the targeted release of Windows 7.
Nash noted that Vista SP2 includes all of the updates that have been delivered since the release of Windows Vista SP1, and incorporates improvements discovered through automated feedback from the Customer Experience Improvement Program. The company provides more detail about SP2 in a document entitled “Notable Changes in Windows Server 2008 SP2 Beta and Windows Vista SP2 Beta” published today earlier today.
SP2 will come as a download sized between 302 MB and 390 MB (32-bit, five or 36 languages), or 508 and 622 MB (64-bit, five or 36 languages) and will include enhancements for application and hardware compatibility, as well as enterprise and setup improvements. Most notably, SP2 will support Via’s Nano CPU, support for Bluetooth v2.1 and Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi, as well as support for exFAT, or FAT64, a proprietary file system that is often used in Flash memory and consumer devices. The exFAT file size limit is 16 Exabyte (EB), up from 4 GB in the current FAT32.
Microsoft also promises that SP2 will improve the performance of Wi-Fi connections after a PC resumes wakes up from sleep mode.
The Windows Vista SP2 program was first announced on October 24 of this year.