Microsoft to set Windows 7 SP1 free next month

Public beta of Service Pack 1 coming in July

Microsoft has announced that the first Service Pack for Windows 7 will be available as a public beta next month.

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) won't introduce any major new features but will include the combination of updates already available through Windows Update and additional hotfixes based on customer feedback.

A first service pack for Windows is important because many businesses won't widely deploy a new edition of Windows until that milestone has been reached. Service packs are also relatively rare: Windows XP, which was launched in October 2001, has had only three.

"Customers can feel confident about deploying Windows 7 now," said Gavriella Schuster on the Windows for your Business blog.

The software giant said it has sold more than 100 million Windows 7 licences since it went on sale last year.

According to some reports, it's already overtaken Windows Vista as the operating system of choice. Last month Janco Associates reported that more computers were running Windows 7 than Vista, with the newer OS accounting for approximately 14.6 percent of all operating systems in use.

Vista's share of the market was said to have fallen to 12.6 percent.

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Oliver Garnham

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