Vista SP1 & Windows Server 2008 Release Candidates Available

The final release of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is getting closer all the time as Microsoft has released the release candidate to Microsoft Connect and it will be available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers tomorrow and it will be available to the public next week. They also made Windows Server 2008 RC available and everyone can grab it here.

Let me call out several changes made since the Beta release of Service Pack 1 — many of which came about as a result of direct feedback from our Beta-testing community (thank you!):

  • The size of the standalone installers have decreased significantly. For example, the standalone installer packages consisting of all 36 languages (x86 and x64 chip architectures) are smaller by over 50%. The standalone installer packages consisting of just the 5 languages (again, x86 and x64) slated for initial release are more than 30% smaller in size.
  • The required amount of disc space for SP1 installation has also decreased significantly. Furthermore, with the RC, if more space is required to install SP1, an error message will now display exactly how much space is needed to complete the installation.
  • Previous SP1 versions left behind a directory of files that wasn’t needed after installation and occupied about 1GB of space; the RC includes automatic disk clean-up to remove this directory.
  • Installation reliability has been improved based on bug reports and error codes reported from Windows Update (thanks, Beta testers!). Testing shows that these improvements have significantly increased the proportion of successful installations of the RC.
  • We’ve improved the user experience of installing SP1 via Windows Update. During the Beta release, users installed without much guidance from Windows Update. The RC now contains a series of screens with detailed information on SP1.

We also have information to share with IT professionals and system administrators regarding final plans for SP1: we’re on track to complete and release SP1 in the first quarter of 2008. When SP1 is complete and we reach our release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone, then shortly after the standalone installer will be released to the Web in two waves. The first wave will consist of the standalone installer (x86 and x64) for the 5 initial languages — English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese. These languages will be deployed shortly after the RTM milestone. The second wave will launch 8-12 weeks after the first and will consist of all remaining languages, for both chip architectures (x86 and x64). Source: Announcing Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate (RC)

For those who don’t won’t to automatically upgrade to SP1, both of you ;) , Microsoft will be making a blocker patch available tomorrow here. More information on service pack 1 is available here.