Microsoft hopes to entice customers who are waiting for Windows 7 instead
The big news this week is that Microsoft has released its first Release Candidate of its new Windows 7 operating system. However, what most enthusiasts are looking forward to is the Release-To-Manufacturing version, which is the final version that will be mass produced on DVDs for retail and OEM channels. When the RTM version is produced, the project is stated to have reached Gold status, i.e. “gone gold”.
Since Windows 7 won't be available for retail sales until October, Microsoft has been working on Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista to boost sales until Windows 7 hits the market. Microsoft has made the RTM version of Vista SP2 downloadable to the members-only MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) and Microsoft TechNet. Vista SP2 torrents have already started to appear.
Vista SP2 contains all Vista updates released by Microsoft since Service Pack 1. Since Vista and Windows Server 2008 share the same codebase, SP2 for Vista includes the same updates for Server 2008. SP2 isn't cumulative, so a fresh Vista installation will require SP1 for SP2 to be slipstreamed. Although the security and convenience of installing all updates at the same time is important, there are a few new features that come with SP2.
One of the most anticipated is the ability to natively record in Blu-ray format for the first time. Other major new features include Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, faster Wi-Fi resume after hibernation, and the ability to configure the maximum number of TCP connections.
Wi-Fi configuration is also simplified with Windows Connect Now. It sends network configuration settings to the access point, and is based on the Wi-Fi Protected Setup standard. Microsoft also claims SP2’s new and improved power management policy “is up to 10% more efficient than the original in some configurations”.
The "Release-To-Web" date for Vista Service Pack 2 is currently expected to be in early June, when it will be made publicly available through Microsoft's website and Windows Update.