Windows Vista SP2 may be delayed for a month, with RTM (Release to Manufacturing) now scheduled to be delivered to OEM and retailers on second quarter of 2009. Consequently, the Release Candidate for Windows Vista Service Pack 2, possibly the last public beta build to make available after Windows Vista and Server 2003 SP2 Beta released in December 2008, will only be released on March, with only escrow build for selected testers available in February. The Escrow Build, unlike the Normal Build, is a build where development halts, and developers and beta testers start testing the product for any show-stopper bugs.
In fact, the RC-Escrow build of Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 have been available for download for limited number of beta testers. Microsoft is publishing Windows Vista SP2 RC-Escrow and Windows Server 2008 RC-Escrow via Windows Update, as a standalone installer package, or as a slipstreamed version in English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese.
The build string for Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 RC-Escrow build is 6002.16659.090114-1728, with system properties showing Windows Vista Service Pack 2, v.275. The service pack includes all previous updates and patches for the operating system, and Microsoft claims the SP2 includes at least 656 individual hotfixes. For example, Windows Server 2008 SP2 marks the inclusion of Hyper-V into Windows Server 2008 natively.
And, as usual, the RC-Escrow build of Windows Vista SP2 has also been leaked to Internet, specifically via BitTorrent network for free download by interested users. The RC-Escrow may be the final RC build to be released, if no bug is found or feedback is received.
Update: Windows Vista SP2 RC and Windows Server 2008 SP2 RC Build 16670 is now available for download.
Download 32-bit (x86) Windows Vista RC-Escrow 6002.16659 Standalone Update Package
Download 64-bit (x64) Windows Vista RC-Escrow 6002.16659 Standalone Update Package
Download 32-bit (x86) Windows Vista RC-Escrow 6002.16659 Slipstream Integrated Full DVD ISO
Download 64-bit (x64) Windows Vista RC-Escrow 6002.16659 Slipstream Integrated Full DVD ISO
Note: the Full ISO image is original untouched unmodified Windows Vista integrated with SP2 RC Build 6002.16659.
The Windows Vista SP2 RC is reported to be has managed to achieve significant performance improvements on top of Windows Vista SP2 Beta. To install Windows Vista SP2, the Windows Vista system must have Windows Vista SP1 already installed. You may also require to uninstall all previous beta-builds of SP2.
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