Windows Vista Service Pack 2

Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Beta is now available for public download on MSDN and TechNet. This is a combined update for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1. This will be the first service pack for Windows Server 2008 since it shipped and includes a lot of performance improvements for WS08.

Did you notice that I specifically said Windows Vista Service Pack 1? That’s correct, if you want to install this service pack on Vista, you must first have SP1 installed.

That means that SP2 is an incremental service pack, which is a significant change from past service pack releases. According to Microsoft,

There were a number of reasons we did this, the primary one is that the size of the standalone package for SP1 was so large. There were a lot of customer concerns around the size of SP1. Adding the SP2 contents would have made it even larger (certainly it can’t shrink if it’s cumulative).

Another reason is that because now that Vista SP1 and Server 2008 are synced-up, having the entire contents of the SP1 client code in the first service pack for the Server would have meant carrying a lot of extra size for the Server deployments. Vista and Server 2008 are the same binaries for all common files, having two separate service packs would have doubled the testing and time until release. (John Gray, Live Chat on Vista SP2, November 19, 2008)

After installing the service pack, you won’t immediately notice any differences. Most of the differences are more fundamental such as:

  • Support for Bluetooth 2.1
  • Ability to record data on Blu-Ray media
  • Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration
  • Windows Search 4
  • Hyper-V (WS08 only)

There are some other significant changes as well, such as an easier upgrade and migration experience to Windows 7.

The upgrade process using Windows Update was relatively painless and so far, everything is working exactly as it should.