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Microsoft launches Vista SP2 beta

Microsoft launches Vista SP2 beta

Microsoft has quietly released a public beta for Windows Vista SP2, which includes better power management and support for Blu-ray playback.

If you're a Vista user still looking to iron out some of the operating system's niggles, perhaps you'd like the chance to test drive Service Pack 2?

According to Information Week, Microsoft has made a pre-release beta of the next lot of fixes for the company's flagship operating system available for public download. The same package will also update Windows Server 2008 installations, which use the same base technologies as Vista.

The update – which weighs in at a not-inconsiderable 388MB for the 32-bit edition or a whopping 614MB if you're running 64-bit code – is available for immediate public download on the Microsoft Download Center in a 'five language' installer which covers English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

Interestingly, the service pack requires that users are already running Service Pack 1 before installation, so if you were hoping that SP2 offered an easy way to update your system to the latest and greatest you might want to keep hold of your existing update downloads for a while yet.

Besides rolling up all the security and bug fixes released between Service Pack 1 and the code freeze data of October 2008, SP2 offers users improved power management features alongside Windows Search 4 and additional facilities to support Blu-ray recording within the operating system. Users hoping to benefit from the updates should remember, however, that it is a beta – and Microsoft has a tendency to make updating from a beta Service Pack to the final release a bit of a pain.

If you're still desperate to try it and want to cut down on the amount of data you'll need to download, Computer World has a tip on enabling Windows Update to download the SP2 beta for you – which can result in a download as small as 41MB if your system is already fairly up-to-date. Be warned that the tip is not for the faint of heart – and that the update process can take as long as an hour to complete.

With no official word on the release to manufacturing deadline for SP2 – although April 2009 is the odds-on favourite according to rumours – the beta could well be the only way to get the advanced features working for a good few months.

Tempted to try out Vista now SP2 is – sort of – available, or are you still holding back for Windows 7? Perhaps you're already a Vista user looking to enhance the experience still further? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

9 Comments

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liratheal 8th December 2008, 10:39 Quote
CBA - It probably won't make enough of a difference.

I'll be continuing my lack of updates (Waste my bandwidth on 'fixes' for an OS that isn't broken?(For me at least)) until I can get me a nice legal copy of 7.
ChaosDefinesOrder 8th December 2008, 11:58 Quote
Hmm does this mean Media Center will natively support Blu-Ray? I hope so...
sub routine 8th December 2008, 13:57 Quote
"Perhaps you're already a Vista user looking to enhance the experience still further?"
haha i`m always looking to optimise my experience but still being on no sp at all i ain`t gonna rush in after sp1 killed my system and led to an eventual re-format. (incredible hulk moment)
I`ll leave installing it to fix out all the little foibles for microt$oft only to have to uninstall it to add in the official version only to have it cripple my system and need a reformat to someone else. You see less time = more happy for me when It comes to fiddling about with any OS.
TreeDude 8th December 2008, 15:05 Quote
Native support for Blu-Ray? I can't even get native support for normal DVDs to work. I have had to use VLC since I installed Vista Ultimate x64. It thinks one of my components is not HDCP capable. Which is bull, both my monitor and video card support it. Oh well.
Cobalt 8th December 2008, 16:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
CBA - It probably won't make enough of a difference.

I'll be continuing my lack of updates (Waste my bandwidth on 'fixes' for an OS that isn't broken?(For me at least)) until I can get me a nice legal copy of 7.

I hope your "lack of updates" doesn't include the security patches. Even if you ignore everything else
Bindibadgi 8th December 2008, 16:29 Quote
Native support for RECORDING blu-ray.

Playback requires MS purchasing a license for MPEG2 and MPEG4-AVC so, no, BD-DVD and DVD won't be included.
kenco_uk 8th December 2008, 16:33 Quote
Omnituens 8th December 2008, 20:21 Quote
urgh.... windows search 4 *makes boomer noise*
HourBeforeDawn 9th December 2008, 00:20 Quote
ya as mentioned the native support is for burning data to blu-ray disc, playback is a while other story and still requires some form of license and what not. Although I think for Media Center to be really successful they are going to need to build in proper dvd playback and hd and bluray play back or at least bluray to give media center any real value.
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