Microsoft releases Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Server 2008
Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Server 2008, which was finished one month ago, is now available to download. SP2 is also available as a stand-alone package. It can be used to update the English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish language versions of Vista and Server 2008 and is available for x86, x64 and ia64 systems. All three packages can also be downloaded together as an ISO image.
Currently, SP2 is not yet being distributed via Windows Update, however, Microsoft intends to start doing so "within the next few weeks".
Service Pack 1 must be installed prior to installing SP2. SP1 was included in Server 2008 out of the box, but Vista users will need to have installed it separately. SP1 synchronised the code bases of Vista and Server 2008, which is why SP2 is now updating both operating systems.
SP2 includes all patches Microsoft has released since the last Service Pack (overview). In addition to patches, SP2 also includes a number of additional features, such as Windows Search 4.0, Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless (including Bluetooth 2.1 support) and Blu-ray support. An overview can be found on Technet.
Microsoft has published a list of applications which will no longer work or will have limited functionality following SP2 installation. Compared to Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, the list appears to be fairly modest.
Applications do not run faster under Vista with SP2 and indeed boot-time is even a little longer. Copying data will also continue to be slower under Vista with SP2 than under XP or Windows 7. By contrast, with SP2 installed Vista now reacts to user actions such as launching the start menu, Windows Explorer or the system settings window noticeably faster, approaching the speeds achieved under XP and Windows 7. On modern desktop PCs, the speed of the operating systems feels more or less the same. However the amount of disk space it requires continues to rule out Vista as an operating system for netbooks.