Last week, Microsoft an RC (Release Candidate) build for Windows Vista/Server 2008 SP2 through the Microsoft Connect program to a select group of pre-qualified beta testers. According to Mary Jo Foley’s ZDNet coverage on this topic, the latest build number is 6002.16670.091030 (she got this from Ars Technica, who also indicate the opportunity to grab this item ended on Saturday, February 21, and who also provide a list of all 600-plus hot fixes integrated into this upcoming release). Those interested in testing this beta should pay special attention ot the “known issues” list for this RC update that falls into general headings for application compatibility, IIS, SQL and Server 2008, with information on details and workarounds where applicable.
For most of us, this event provides confirmation that Microsoft’s planned release date in April, 2009, for Vista and Server 2008 SP2 is holding firm. System administrators in companies and organizations that have already migrated to Vista or Server 2008, or whose plans indicate sizable deployments by mid-2009, are urged to keep an eye out for the public beta of SP2 (which should occur some time in March) so they can start testing for compatibility issues, deployment considerations, and configuration necessities prior to rollout.
Just FYI, SP1 will remain a pre-requisite to SP2 (the installation process checks to make sure SP1 has been installed, and for incompatible drivers). If SP1 is missing, it must first be applied before SP2 can be installed: that’s to keep the size of the download/install files down which otherwise would have to include all 600-plus hotfixes and so forth.