Microsoft on Tuesday announced the availability of the Beta 2 version of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Since both operating systems were developed from the same code base, they have a common servicing structure and thus share the same service packs. That said, SP2 provides somewhat different functionality in each system as well.

"Windows Vista SP2 builds on the solid foundation of Windows Vista SP1, and represents our ongoing commitment to Windows Vista today," Microsoft corporate vice president Mike Nash noted in a post to the Windows Blog. "Windows Vista SP2 includes all of the updates that have been delivered since the release of Windows Vista SP1, and incorporates improvements discovered through automated feedback."

Those improvements vary according to OS. On Windows Vista, SP2 provides Windows Search 4.0, the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, a Service Pack Cleanup tool, and a number of other small changes. Windows Server 2008 gains the release version of Hyper-V (the initial version of the OS included a pre-release version), improved management tools, updated power management functionality, and other changes.

With the release of SP2, Microsoft is also opening up this update to the public. MSDN and TechNet subscribers can download SP2 today, and beginning Thursday, December 4, 2008, anyone will be able to download and test SP2 via a new Customer Preview Program (CPP). Interested users can find out more about this public release from the TechNet Web site.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd262148.aspx