On Wednesday, February 25, Brandon LeBlanc, Windows Communications Manager for the Windows Client Communications Team, posted information to The Windows Blog to announce the Release Candidate (RC) for “Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.” Otherwise known as SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, this update is still in beta, but is now available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers for broad access and testing.
Important details of the RC version’s contents (and those planned for release when SP2 goes live later this year, probably in April) are spelled out in LeBlanc’s same-day posting entitled “Notable Changes in SP2 RC for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.” There’s also a TEchNet (dated 2/26/2009) document on SP2 available entitled “Hotfixes and Security Updates in Windows Server SP2 and Windows Vista SP2” as well. It’s probably worth a taking a look at these documents, but here’s my take on some highlights:
- As I mentioned in my previous blog, SP1 remains a mandatory pre-requisite for the install of SP2
- Users who wish to update to SP2 using Windows Update or Windows Software/Server Update Services (WSUS) have to patch the servicing stack to automate the SP2 install (see KB 955430 for details; the typical URL http://support.microsoft.com/kb/955430 is not yet working as I write this, however).
- Download sizes run fom 300 to 622 MB for standalone packages, and from 41-90 MB for Windows Update users (DVD info not yet available).
- Lots of interesting changes to setup and deployment, including a single installer for both Vista and Windows Server 2008, incompatible driver checks, improved error handling and messages, better logging, more secure installation, and post-release installer serviceability. As with SP1, there will also be an SP2 cleanup tool (Compcln.exe) to remove pre-SP2 files from machines, or to reduce the size of slipstream images used to install Vista and/or Windows Server 2008.
Anybody who’s interested who also has a TechNet or MSDN subscription can now sally forth and grab this beta. Because most enterprise admins have one or the other, if not both, this means you!