Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Is Slated for July Release

Microsoft used the first day of its TechEd 2010 conference in New Orleans as the platform to announce that Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will arrive in July. Windows 7 SP1 will apparently contain updates already available through Windows Update, with a few additional fixes based on user feedback. Although many businesses traditionally wait for Service Pack 1 before integrating a piece of software into their infrastructure, Microsoft is encouraging Windows 7 adoption for businesses now, a move reflective, perhaps, of anemic enterprise and SMB spending on the operating system compared with consumer adoption.

Microsoft plans on releasing Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in July, according to reports from the company's TechEd 2010 conference in New Orleans, which kicked off July 7. The conference, which runs through June 10, focuses on both developers and enterprise users, and features speeches from Microsoft executives such as Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools business.

In the case of Windows 7, the updates in SP1 will not be major, something anticipated by the company's previous announcements in March. In an official blog post accompanying the announcement, Microsoft pushed businesses to adopt the operating system sooner rather than later.

"For Windows 7, SP1 will simply be the combination of updates already available through Windows Update and additional hotfixes based on feedback by our customers and partners," Gavriella Schuster, a general manager for Windows PMG at Microsoft, wrote in a June 7 posting on the Windows for Your Business Blog. "In other words, customers can feel confident about deploying Windows 7 now."

That could be a reflection on business spending for Windows 7, which has remained relatively anemic despite the operating system's record sales of more than 90 million licenses. A number of enterprises and SMBs (small to midsize businesses) have kept their IT budgets tightened in the wake of the global recession; Microsoft executives noted during a recent earnings call that spending on business-related software had only started to revive after months of flatlining.

Windows Server 2008 R2's Service Pack will likewise include only a few updates, with Schuster noting, "While the new features for Windows Server 2008 R2 benefit Windows 7 by providing a richer VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure] experience, SP1 will not contain any new features that are specific to Windows 7 itself." The two new features for Windows Server 2008 R2 include Microsoft Remote FX, "designed to introduce a new set of end-user experience enhancements to remote desktop computing," and Dynamic Memory, which will enable Windows Server Hyper-V to allocate memory to virtual machines as needed.

Microsoft also announced tweaks to Windows Azure and SQL Azure, including an updated Windows Azure Software Development kit with support for both Visual Studio 2010 IntelliTrace and .NET Framework 4.

Microsoft already announced, in April, that it would offer a beta of its Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1) for North American download in June, with an emphasis on changes to the user interface, integrated archiving and other areas.

"SP1 will include fixes and tweaks in areas you've helped us identify, including a roll-up of the roll-ups we've released to date," team member Michael Atalla wrote in an April 7 posting on the Microsoft Exchange Team Blog. "I also wanted to flag some of the feature enhancements we're excited to bring you with SP1, including archiving and discovery enhancements, Outlook Web App [OWA] ... improvements, mobile user and management improvements, and some highly sought-after additional UI for management tasks."

Expect this year's TechEd conference to be the source of similar tweaks-and-updates announcements.