In an unexpected move, Microsoft late last week delivered a near-final version of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) to the public, just days after stating that this release would be issued only to beta testers. The Vista SP1 Release Candidate (RC) Refresh, an updated version of the RC code that Microsoft shipped in December, originally went out to 15,000 beta testers on January 9.
"In the interest of gaining additional tester feedback, on Thursday, we made the Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh available via Windows Update to interested testers on the public site," a Microsoft statement reads. "We are still on schedule to deliver \[the final version of\] SP1 in Q1 CY08. The final release date is based on quality, so we will continue to track customer and partner feedback from the beta program before setting a final date." Microsoft is expected to deliver the final version of SP1 by the late February launch of Windows Server 2008, which is based on the same codebase.
Those who have previously installed the Vista SP1 RC will need to uninstall that release before installing the RC Refresh, Microsoft says. The company had previously not answered questions about upgrading from the RC release to the final version; this development suggests that all prerelease SP1 versions will need to be uninstalled before the final version can be installed.
As for improvements in the RC Refresh, Microsoft is mum about that as well. The company says only that it includes a number of bug fixes to the previous RC release.