Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 will be made available for download next week

New test builds of Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 will be made available for download next week.

Microsoft is currently readying the first full beta versions for Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista SP1. Additionally, the Redmond company is preparing to take Windows Server 2008, formerly codenamed Longhorn out of the extensive Beta 3 phase and into the first Release Candidate stage.

Microsoft offered official confirmation, through the voice of Nick White, Product Manager, that Windows Vista SP1 will be delivered for download to some 10,000 to 15,000 testers. "A Beta release of Windows Vista SP1 is slated for availability in the next few weeks. A small group of testers has been putting a preview of the SP1 Beta through its paces to help prepare for broader release. We made the choice to start with a very small group of testers because we think it’s better for both our customers and for Microsoft to keep the beta program small at the start. A later pre-release of SP1 will be available to a larger group of testers via MSDN and TechNet subscribers," White stated on August 29.

Jon DeVaan, Senior Vice President of the Windows Core Operating System division at Microsoft confirmed the scenario revealing that "we’re making a beta available to more than 10,000 people in the next few weeks – that’s a critical step for us on the road to release, and we’re looking forward to the feedback we’ll get," also on August 29. Moreover, the company has started sending out invitations to the current participants in the Windows Server 2008 beta program to access the downloads for Vista SP1 beta.

In addition to the first beta for Vista SP1, Microsoft will also go live with XP SP3 Beta and also the following week. Just something to look for. However, the release of XP SP3 is yet to be confirmed officially by Microsoft and more of a leaked detail. Still the company did make a habit of synchronizing the releases of Vista SP1 and XP SP3 so far. The beta of XP SP3 will also be delivered to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.

And last but definitely not least, Microsoft will evolve Windows Server 2008 out of beta 3 and into Release Candidate phase, as stated by Andy Malone: "Windows Server 2008 – RC0 - Great news for Beta Testers. Microsoft has finally made available the latest 2008 build to TAP customers. If you registered for the Beta program you can download it at the usual source. For non TAP customers it won’t be long before a download will be available to MSDN. I am sure announcements will be forthcoming. RC0 represents a feature complete version of 2008, which includes some enhancements to roles and features. A full report will be forthcoming."

The Redmond company did offer an insight into its plans to synchronize the Windows client and server updates, and in this context we are merely witnessing Microsoft's new strategy in action. "With Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008, for all the components shared between client and server, we actually made them the same," said Bill Laing, General Manager of Microsoft’s Windows Server Division, as cited by Mary Jo Foley. "With Windows XP and Windows Serer 2003, we forked the code and so had two different sets of code. Even the modules with the same names weren’t identical. That meant things had to be fixed twice."


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