The Malaysian website Tech ARP, which previously figured out the release schedule for Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3, has looked into its crystal ball again and predicts Vista SP2 will be released to manufacturing in April 2009. First, though, a release candidate (RC) will be released in February.
So, what will be the big attractions in Vista SP2?
Windows Search 4.0
Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack
Native Blu-Ray recording
Windows Connect Now support for easier Wi-Fi connections
UTC timestamp support in the exFAT file system to enable correct file synchronization across timezones
Keep in mind that Vista SP2 will only install on systems running Vista SP1.
Some users wonder if Vista SP2 is coming too quickly after the release of Vista SP1. To find out how the release schedule for Vista SP2 compares to other service pack releases for past Windows versions, and for your chance to comment, join us after the break.
There’s been some loose talk of Microsoft looking to release Service Pack 2 for Vista just as soon as they can. They’ve been reportedly rushing it so that there will be more incentive for people to buy Vista, instead of just waiting for Windows 7.
According to some inside sources, a release candidate for SP2 will be available in February 2009, with the final version scheduled for release to manufacturing in April 2009. When a version is labeled as RTM it’s not always available for download, but it has been put out in disc form, including OEMs.
Following suit with pervious service packs, it’s expected that Microsoft will release Vista’s SP2 in language waves. The previous service packs give us reason to believe that the English, German, Japanese, French and Spanish versions will be the first available, with Chinese, Korean and Brazilian Portuguese available not long after.
The race is still on to see which will come out first - Vista's second Service Pack, or Windows 7 - but when it comes to beta releases, you needn't wait long. In a blog post, Microsoft said Vista's SP2 will begin beta testing this week.
"Following the success of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 last spring, we have been working hard on Windows Vista Service Pack 2," writes Mike Nash, corporate VP for Microsoft's Windows Product Management. "As part of the development and testing process, we're going to start by providing a small group of Technology Adoption Program customers with Windows Vista SP2 Beta for evaluation next Wednesday, October 29."
Nash goes on to say that SP2 will incorporate both previously released fixes and unreleased updates into a single serviceability model covering both Windows Vista (client) and Windows Server 2008 (server) versions. A big focus on SP2 will be on improving hardware support as well as "adding support for several emerging standards." Some of the changes include:
Adding Windows Search 4.0
Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack
Record data on Blu-ray media natively
Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) for easier WiFi configs
It seems as though many enthusiasts are biding their time with Vista and have already begun looking forward to Windows 7. In some respects, so has Microsoft, who doesn't need much coaxing to talk about the new OS, whether it be about the refined UAC experience or explaining where the Windows 7 naming scheme comes from. But that doesn't mean Vista's being kicked to the curb.
On the contrary, it looks as though Vista's second Service Pack will make a debut before Windows 7, suggests ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. According to Foley, select hardware and software partners have already received a beta of SP2, and while the murmurs are unusually quiet regarding what the new Service Pack will bring, Foley's sources have indicated that Microsoft's goal is to deliver SP2 before Windows 7 in an attempt to lessen confusion among users mulling whether to deploy Vista or wait for the new OS. And what does Microsoft have to say on the matter?
"Microsoft is working on a second Windows Vista Service Pack (Windows Vista SP2) and will share more details in the coming months," a Vista spokesperson wrote.
Hit the jump and let us know what you're most looking forward to: Windows 7 or Vista SP2.