Microsoft has shipped the Release Candidate of Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
In a Feb. 25 blog post, Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows communications manager on Microsoft's Windows Client Communications Team, said as of Feb. 25 the RC of SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 will be available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers to test prior to final release. And in the "near future" Microsoft will be making the release candidate more broadly available to anyone who wants to use it, he said. LeBlanc said Microsoft plans to release SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 in the second quarter of 2009.
SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 will include updates that have been delivered since the release of SP1, as well as support for new types of hardware and emerging standards, LeBlanc said.
In an accompanying post, LeBlanc said Microsoft has made several application compatibility improvements, hardware ecosystem support upgrades and enhancements, operating system experience updates, enterprise improvements, and setup and deployment improvements.
Regarding enterprise improvements, LeBlanc said:
"SP2 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.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. "