Microsoft on Wednesday delivered a near final build of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. The build, simply called Release Candidate (RC), is available now to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and will ship publicly next week.

"Starting today, the RC of SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 will be available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers to test prior to final release," a post to the Windows team blog reads. "In the very near future, we will be making the RC broadly available for anyone to download and test. "

Microsoft is delivering the same service pack for both Vista and Server 2008, simplifying deployment. SP2 is, of course, the second service pack for Vista, but it is the first for Server 2008; Microsoft explains this by noting that the initial release of Server 2008 included the SP1 code.

Unlike Vista SP1, SP2 includes no major new features but instead focuses on aggregating previously released updates and improving performance, stability, and reliability. You can discover a full list of SP2 changes on the SuperSite for Windows.

Microsoft is widely expected to finalize SP2 in March and deliver it to customers in April.