Microsoft prepares for SP1 for Windows 7?
An "important update", which may be a prerequisite for installing Service Pack 1, is now being offered to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 users by Windows Update. Despite the publication date being given as '11.01.2011', it is not a new update – update number 976902 first put in an appearance back in October (German language link to the Patch-info web site). A knowledge base article explaining which problem it was intended to fix was initially conspicuous by its absence. The update then vanished, before reappearing a short time later and now it has been 're-released'. An explanation as to why this is the case has not been forthcoming. The update is not yet being installed automatically.
It may be that Update 976902 is required in order to install SP1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 via Windows Update. This would not be unprecedented – when SP1 for Windows Vista was first released, it could only be installed via Windows Update if other patches, also distributed via Windows Update, had previously been installed.
Service Pack 1 is scheduled for release shortly, indeed any day now. It contains a whole heap of patches and hot fixes. There is likely to be little new functionality, previously a standard feature of service packs. However, support for the Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) instruction set extensions used by forthcoming generations of processors is set to be one new feature. Also new are RemoteFX (an extension to the existing Remote Desktop Services) and Dynamic Memory (intelligent allocation of main memory), both relevant only when running Server 2008 R2 on large networks. Users interested in trying out SP1 in advance can now download the release candidate, which, like all beta software, is not recommended for use in live environments.