Microsoft has officially released Windows Vista Service Pack 2 RC and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 RC (Release Candidate) to the general public for free download, although the Knowledge Base Article KB948465 page is still showing beta status. The Service Pack 2 is actually only a single release for both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. User who has downloaded the leaked Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP2 RC previously can take heart that the build is indeed correct – 6002.16670.090130-1715.

Windows Server 2008 SP2/Windows Vista SP2 RC is prerelease code offered to the public through Microsoft Customer Preview Program, and only people, organizations, and technical enthusiasts who are comfortable evaluating prerelease software should download and apply the SP2 RC into their system.

SP2 is an update to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 that addresses feedback from Microsoft customers and partners, and includes all previously released updates in addition to changes focused on addressing reliability and performance issues, supporting new kinds of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards.

Direct Download Links for Windows Vista SP2 RC and Windows Server SP2 RC (5 languages edition)

Windows Vista and Server 2008 SP2 RC DVD-ISO (all x86/x64/ia64 versions inclusive): 6002.16670.090130-1715_iso_update_sp_wave0-RCSP2.0_DVD.iso (visit Microsoft Download Center)

Windows Vista and Server 2008 SP2 RC 32-bit (x86) Standalone: Windows6.0-KB948465-X86.exe (visit Microsoft Download Center)

Windows Vista and Server 2008 SP2 RC 64-bit (x64) Standalone: Windows6.0-KB948465-X64.exe (visit Microsoft Download Center)

Windows Server 2008 SP2 RC ia64 Stand-alone: Windows6.0-KB948465-IA64.exe (visit Microsoft Download Center)

Note that the DVD ISO image contains Service Pack 2 for Windows Server 2008 SP2 for x86, x64, IA-64 and Windows Vista for x86, x64. All downloads above are only applicable to systems that have one or more of the following languages: English, German, French, Japanese, or Spanish. If you have an OS or language pack that is not one of these languages please use the “All Languages” version of Service Pack 2.

Direct Download Links for Windows Vista SP2 RC and Windows Server SP2 RC (all languages edition)

Windows Vista and Server 2008 SP2 RC DVD-ISO (all x86/x64/ia64 versions inclusive): 6002.16670.090130-1715_iso_update_sp_wave1-RCSP2.1_DVD.iso (visit Microsoft Download Center)

Windows Vista and Server 2008 SP2 RC 32-bit (x86) Standalone: Windows6.0-KB948465-X86.exe (visit Microsoft Download Center)

Windows Vista and Server 2008 SP2 RC 64-bit (x64) Standalone: Windows6.0-KB948465-X64.exe (visit Microsoft Download Center)

Windows Server 2008 SP2 RC ia64 Stand-alone: Windows6.0-KB948465-IA64.exe (visit Microsoft Download Center)

For user who doesn’t want to download the standalone setup installer for the Windows Vista SP2 RC or Windows Server SP2 RC, but prefer to let Windows Update dynamically update the system online, download the Windows Update Experience Kit for Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Release Candidate and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Release Candidate – SP2CPPRK.cmd.remove. Remove the .remove at the back of the file name to get a command script that will set a registry key on the computer that will enable Windows Update to offer the PC the Service Pack.

Do also note that Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is a prerequisite for installing Service Pack 2. Windows Server 2008 is shipped with SP1 preinstalled, and thus does not require any Service Pack 1 installation. Once installed, the system will be tagged as v.286.

Update: Windows Vista and Server 2008 SP2 RTM Escrow (6002.18003)

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