Posted by: Ed Tittel
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With Vista SP2 now available via MSDN and other restricted download venues (not to mention BitTorrent servers which already offer acess to all 36 languages that MS plans to support in its first public release of SP2), it’s time to start thinking about migrating to this latest version in your environments–or not, as the case may be. That means it’s high time to go off and grab your own copy for use in the test lab, to see if what it fixes meets or exceeds what it breaks. Notebook users, in particular, will benefit from this release if platform vendors haven’t already pushed Bluetooth and Wi-Fi updates to those machines through their own update/maintenance programs.
In any case, SP2 should become publicly available on demand through Windows Update, possibly before the end of May, and perhaps by the middle of that month. In my own testing with the beta, I found updated machines were significantly more stable than SP1 machines, particularly in environments where users are prone to installing and/or uninstalling programs on a regular basis.
Certainly, you’ll want to test SP2 for yourself in your production evironments to see what’s what. You should also put GPOs in place to block SP2 installation from end-users until such testing is complete, and send out e-mail to educate users on the risks attached to SP updates, because many of them will want to jump on this release for their home or family PCs. Be sure to tell them to back up their PCs completely before applying the SP, to avoid in-process errors that might leave a machine unbootable, or unable to roll back from SP2 to previous levels. You’ll also want to warn them about the potential for application conflicts or errors, particularly for any legacy software that may belong to your production environment.
Except for the potential for breaking some software, though, the prognosis for Vista SP2 seems pretty positive overall. Be sure to check it out for yourself at the earliest opportunity!