Windows Vista and Server 2008 SP2 RC freely available
As previously announced, Microsoft has issued a pre-release version of Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Server 2008, to download.
SP2 updates all versions of Vista, from Home Basic to Ultimate. In order to install the service pack (as with all beta versions, this should not be used on live systems), users must have an existing SP1 installation. Only Vista users need SP1 installed as an update; Server 2008 is delivered with SP1. Vista with SP1 is based on the same kernel as Server 2008, which is why SP2 can be used with both operating systems.
Various versions can be found on Microsoft’s servers. There are standalone versions (as .exe files) which update the English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish-language versions of Vista (five language version available for x86, x64 and ia64). Users with a different language version require the larger package for all 36 language versions of the Vista operating system (an all language version is also available for x86, x64 and ia64). The standalone packages for x86, x64 and ia64 are also available as an ISO image (in five language and all languages packages).
The size of the download varies depending on the version, ranging from around 350 MB (x86 five language standalone) to more than 1.6 GB (all languages ISO image). The download is much smaller where Vista or Server 2008 is updated using the Windows Update function, as in this case only the files required for the installed Windows version are downloaded. A registry key must be set for this to work. Microsoft has provided a downloadable batch script which takes care of this.