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Windows Vista SP2 Arrives

Windows Vista Service Pack 2 recently hit MSDN and TechNet and will become available for public download today, December 4th. Although some of the updates included in the bundle are hotfixes and other similar improvements, there are also a few new features being added too.

The Most Exciting Stuff

In the service pack, there are a handful of features that we’re really looking forward to. These include the following:

  • The Vista Feature Pack for Wireless: This update provides Vista with enhanced wireless capabilities. The pack adds and/or improves support for Bluetooth version 2.1, the Unified Pairing user interface, and Windows Connect Now updates. 
  • Built-in Blu-Ray writing: With SP2 installed, you can record data onto Blu-Ray media natively in Vista.
  • Reduced resources for sidebar gadgets: Want to run a bunch of gadgets but don’t want to drain your system? SP2 adds functionality which reduces the resources they require.

Everything Else

In addition to the above, SP2 will deliver improvements in the following areas:

Hardware

  • Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration to Windows Vista SP2
  • exFAT file system now supports UTC timestamps, which enables correct file synchronization across time zones.
  • Support for new form factors, such as ICCD/CCID.
  • Support for the new VIA 64-bit CPU

Security

  • Includes all previously released security updates, and builds on the proven security benefits of Windows Vista
  • Secure Development Lifecycle process updates, where root cause of each security bulletin is identified and internal tools are improved to eliminate code patterns that could lead to future vulnerabilities

Reliability

  • Addresses previously released reliability updates, as well as addressing crashes caused by Microsoft code  discovered since the launch of SP1

Performance

  • Resume performance when Wi-Fi connection is no longer available after resume from sleep
  • Inclusion of Windows Search 4 for improved indexing performance,  improved relevancy in search, broader indexing scenario inclusion, as well as new Group Policy integration for Windows Search
  • Improvements to the RSS feeds sidebar gadget to improve update performance and responsiveness,

Application Compatibility

  • Applications that run on the Windows Vista Operating System today written using public APIs will continue to work as designed on Windows Vista SP2.
  • Previously released Application Compatibility updates are included in Windows Vista SP2.
  • Spysweeper and ZoneAlarm now working with POP3 email accounts

Administration and Support Improvements

  • Those installing .NET framework 3.5 service pack 1 will notice shorter download and installation times.
  • Service Pack Clean up tool (Compcln.exe): This tool helps restore the hard disk space by permanently deleting the previous versions of the files (RTM & SP1) that are being serviced by Service Pack 2.
  • Single installer for both Vista & Server 2008
  • Ability to detect an incompatible driver and block service pack installation or warn users of any loss of functionality.
  • Better error handling and providing more descriptive error messages where possible
  • Better manageability through logging in system event log
  • Componentization for Serviceability of the installer

Some Specific Fixes/Additions

  • Event logging support in SPC
  • DNS Server now listens over ISATAP address
  • Fixes DRM issues from WMP upgrades
  • Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless
  • Improved power settings for WS08

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