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Windows Server 2008 SP2 & Vista SP2 Beta Getting Ready

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Microsoft has announced the public availability of Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Vista SP2 Customer Preview Program (CPP) starting Thursday December 4th on TechNet which is already loaded with information about the CPP. Besides fixes, Vista SP2 includes better searching, Bluetooth 2.1 and Blu-Ray support, an extension to the FAT file system to support UTC time stamps.

Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Vista SP2 contain all the fixes rolled through Windows Update following SP1. This CPP contains the next hardware enhancements:

  • Adds support for the 64-bit central processing unit (CPU) from VIA Technologies, which adds the ID and vendor strings for the new VIA 64-bit CPU.
  • Integrates the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, which contains support for Bluetooth v2.1. Bluetooth v2.1 is the most recent specification for Bluetooth wireless technology and Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration.
  • Improves performance for Wi-Fi connection after resuming from sleep mode.
  • Includes updates to the RSS feeds sidebar with improved performance and responsiveness.
  • Adds support for exFAT, a file system that supports larger overall capacity and the larger files that are used in Flash memory storage and consumer devices.

SP2 also contains following enterprise improvements:

  • Provides the Hyper-V virtualization environment as a fully integrated feature of Windows Server 2008, including one free daughter OS with Windows Server 2008 Standard, four free licenses with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and an unlimited number of free licenses with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter.
  • Provides an improved power management policy that is up to 10% more efficient than the original in some configurations (both on the server and the desktop), and includes the ability to manage these settings via Group Policy.
  • Improves backwards compatibility for Terminal server license keys. Windows Server 2008 changed the licensing key from 512 bytes to 2,048 bytes which caused clients using older Terminal versions to fail. SP2 allows legacy license keys on Citrix applications to work with Windows Server 2008 Terminal server.


Prerequisites: having SP1 already installed and the servicing stack updated (knowledge base article 955430). Note: Windows Server 2008 includes SP1 built in.

SP2 is currently a Beta service pack used for testing purposes and is not recommended to be used for production or mission critical systems.

A Blocker Tool can be used by organizations to prevent automatic installation of SP2 through Windows Update. Currently, this tool can be used to block Windows XP SP3 and Vista SP1, but will be soon upgraded to block Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Vista SP2.

Additional information: TechNet SP2 website, Hotfixes and Security Updates in Windows Server 2008 SP2 Beta and Windows Vista SP2 BetaRelease Notes.


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