I have just downloaded and will be installing today the second service pack (SP2) of Windows Vista. The installer is available for manual download and will soon be offered by Automatic Updates. I will report back on any issues, but I do not expect any. The Service Pack was released to Microsoft’s Technet Community for testing a while back and should have all major bugs worked out.
“Application compatibility improvements
Thanks to the rich instrumentation capability of Windows operating systems, we are able to understand the types of issues that our customers experience while respecting their personal information and privacy preferences. We use this information to focus improvements in Windows, but we also share this information with our software vendor partners to help improve the reliability and compatibility of non-Microsoft applications. For example, in SP2, Spysweeper and ZoneAlarm, now work with POP3 e-mail accounts.
Our goal for SP2 is that applications that are written using public APIs and that run on the Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 operating systems will continue to work as designed.
Microsoft has already released several application compatibility updates which allow more applications to work seamlessly for the end user. These appear in SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, but they are also available through Windows Update. Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 contain additional application compatibility fixes for individual applications.
For more information about previously released compatibility updates, refer to article 947562 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=128900.
Hardware ecosystem support and enhancements
- SP2 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.
- SP2 integrates the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, which contains support for Bluetooth v2.1 and Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration. Bluetooth v2.1 is the most recent specification for Bluetooth wireless technology.
- SP2 improves performance for Wi-Fi connections after resuming from sleep mode.
- SP2 includes updates to the RSS feeds sidebar for improved performance and responsiveness.
- SP2 includes ability to record data to Blu-Ray Disc media.
Operating system experience updates
- SP2 includes Windows Search 4.0, which builds on Microsoft’s search technology with improved indexing and search relevance. It also helps find and preview documents, e-mail (including signed e-mail messages), music files, photos, and other items on the computer. The search engine in Windows Search 4.0 is a Microsoft Windows® service that is also used by programs such as Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007 and Microsoft Office OneNote® 2007. Autotuning Diagnostics in SP2 now interprets current network conditions when implementing Windows scaling. This feature includes full netsh support.
- SP2 improves Windows Media Center (WMC) in the area of content protection for TV.
- SP2 removes the limit of 10 half open outbound TCP connections. By default, SP2 has no limit on the number of half open outbound TCP connections.
- SP2 provides the Hyper-V virtualization environment as a fully integrated feature of Windows Server 2008, including one free instance with Windows Server 2008 Standard, four free instances with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and an unlimited number of free instances with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter.
- SP2 increases the authentication options for WebDAV redirector, enabling Microsoft Office users greater flexibility when authenticating custom applications using the WebDAV redirector.
- SP2 provides an improved power management (both on the server and the desktop), which includes the ability to manage these settings via Group Policy.
- SP2 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 Server versions to fail. SP2 allows legacy license keys on Citrix applications to work with Windows Server 2008 Terminal Server.
Setup and deployment improvements
The SP2 standalone installer:
- Provides a single installer for both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
- Includes the ability to detect an incompatible driver and either block service pack installation or warn users of any potential loss of functionality.
- Provides better error handling and descriptive error messages where possible.
- Improves manageability through logging in the system event log.
- Provides a secure install experience.
- Includes the ability to service the installer post release.
SP2 also includes a Service Pack Clean-up tool (Compcln.exe) which helps recover the hard disk space by permanently deleting previous versions of files (RTM and SP1) that are being serviced by SP2. The Service Pack Clean up tool can also be run offline while creating slipstream images to reduce the size of the image.
SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 represents Microsoft’s continuing commitment to quality. While most updates contained in SP2 are available as individual downloads, the roll-up convenience of SP2 is a major benefit for administrators. This functionality coupled with new advanced deployment features, such as the single installer and the pre-installation analyzer, means SP2 continues to provide ongoing improvements that our customers have grown to expect from Microsoft. For more detail on SP2’s contents, see Hotfixes and Security Updates in Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Vista SP2.”
Installed without an issue in about 20 minutes.
After a long day of computing with Vista SP2, I find that everything seems smoother, that all programs, and I have plenty, have no issues. Congrats to Microsoft on this update!