Concomitantly with the general availability of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RTM, Microsoft will also start offering the new Action Pack complete with the SP1 gold bits. The Action Pack has evolved since the initial offering came out, associated with the RTM build of Vista, in order to allow company partners to perform full installations (bare metal deployments) of the service pack.
Despite the fact that Microsoft has still to confirm the consumer release of Vista SP1, the latest indications point to March 18, 2008, for the date when SP1 will be dropped via the Microsoft Download Center, Windows Update and Microsoft Update.
"Mid-March 2008 delivery of Microsoft Windows Vista Business with SP1 in a special Action Pack shipment to partners worldwide. To make it easier for you to deploy the final release of Windows Vista SP1 for internal use, all subscribers will receive full code. [Microsoft will offer] one licence for Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1 (full code) for internal use, so you can discuss this product's benefits and features with customers who need a single PC to fulfil their work, travel and entertainment needs. This software will be delivered in the regular Action Pack quarterly update (April 2008) for current subscribers and for new Action Pack subscribers starting in April 2008," explained David Overton, ISV Partner Account Manager at Microsoft.
The Redmond company's partners will be able to install the Vista SP1 bits via the new Action Pack on machines in their organizations that come with a full licence for Windows XP Professional acquired through the OEM or retail channels. SP1 can also be deployed on computers that have Vista RTM, or feature an active Microsoft Action Pack subscription.
"You will receive full code, but the licence is an upgrade to Windows Vista with SP1. This means that you must have licenced a qualified full desktop PC operating system on the device before you are eligible to install the full version of Windows Vista Small Business with SP1 on that same device. This software is for your organisation's internal installation only and may not be installed on any other computer outside your organisation on either a permanent or a temporary basis," Overton added.