Monday morning at 6:00 am in Redmond, Microsoft announced that Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows Server 2008, which were co-developed from the same code base, were released to manufacturing. Vista SP1 is the first major update to Microsoft's desktop operating system and is expected to trigger a new wave of corporate adoption. Meanwhile, Windows Server 2008 is the server-based follow-up to Windows Server 2003 R2, which was released in 2005.
"Microsoft has worked with its partners to significantly improve the Windows Vista experience in Service Pack 1," a Microsoft spokesperson told me. "Customers will especially see enhanced value in terms of security, performance, reliability and application compatibility."
While the schedule for Windows Server 2008 has been well known for some time--Microsoft previously scheduled a Windows 2008 launch event for late February and was widely expected to deliver the product well before that time--that for Vista SP1 was a bit less specific. In a post to the Windows Vista Blog this morning, Microsoft vice president Mike Nash finally explained how users will get SP1. New PCs with Vista and SP1 installed will arrive in "the coming months," while Microsoft's enterprise customers will get DVDs soon. For end users, SP1 will be released via a staged rollout. The release will be made available via Windows Update starting in mid-March, and then only to PCs that don't have problematic hardware installed. In mid-April, SP1 will be rolled out to all users who have configured Windows Update for automatic updating.
Initially, Windows Vista SP1 will be made available in five languages, English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese. The remaining languages Microsoft supports will be released to manufacturing in April and ship worldwide after that.
I'll be reviewing Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 on the SuperSite for Windows within the next 30 days.