BitTorrent is turning into an unofficial prerelease mechanism for Microsoft software these days. It’s cartainly become a nonpareil source for Windows 7 builds that’s right in synch with Microsoft’s own internal releases. Yesterday Vista SP2 was already available online in Torrent form hours before Microsoft’s own 6:49 PM Tuesday announcement “Windows Vista SP2 RTM” appeared in The Windows Blog. This release also includes a common installer and code base for both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. For details on the changes that come with SP2, check out the associated “Notable Changes” document on TechNet (also dated 4/28/09).
I’ve been working with the 64-bit Vista RC version of SP2 for nearly three weeks and so far, it’s been remarkably stable. If my own experience is any guide, Vista admins can look forward not just to some nice boosts to functionality (Feature Pack for Wireless, improved Wi-Fi performance after sleep mode resumption, improved RSS feeds sidebar, and built-in support for burning Blu-ray media) but also to some increased stability as well. Enterprise versions will also benefit from improved power management for both servers and desktops, as well as better backward compatibility for Terminal Server License keys.
It’s not yet clear whether Microsoft will indeed get the downloads posted before April 30 comes and goes, as they had originally promised. If not, given that the bits are already available and in circulation on BitTorrent, I’d have to guess that they won’t show up much later than early next week in any case. Based on recent precedent, this means that SP2 should become available on demand from Windows Update some time in late May or early June, and will become a mandatory download later this year. A tool to block the SP2 download should also become available very soon, if not at the same time as the SP2 download, then some time soon thereafter.