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Microsoft: Vista SP1 beta due soon, Windows Server 2008 RTM early 2008

For partners who’ve been wondering, Microsoft says it will make Windows Vista SP 1 beta available within weeks to “a moderate sized audience.”

The service pack will address reliability and performance issues, new hardware support and support for emerging standards, Microsoft said in an email. Details on what will be in this beta, which will be made more broadly available via MSDN and TechNet later, are here .

The beta will include all the previous updates as well as BitLocker Drive Encryption, support for Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) and Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT.)While many partners have not been overwhelmed byVista or customer reception to it, they need to keep their eye on it as it. More details are here.

Given that the bulk of users remain on Windows XP, the fact that Windows XP SP 3 beta is also going out to partners and customers in a few weeks may be of more immediate interest. Final bits are due in the first half of next year, Microsoft  said.

This service pack will also roll up all previous security updates, out-of-band-releases and hot fixes plus a few new updates, the company said.

And for Longhorn watchers, Windows Server 2008 will release to  manufacturing in Q1 of 2008. The company had hoped to release that code by year’s end. The company  said this RTM will not affect the previously-announced  mega-launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 to take place February 27 in Los Angeles. More information is available  here. 

Barbara Darrow, a Boston-area journalist, can be reached at

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