Microsoft sets Feb. 22 as Windows 7 SP1 public launch

Wraps up service pack, delivers RTM to OEMs today; pegs Windows Update delivery in two weeks

Microsoft today announced that it had wrapped up work on Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1), and would start delivering the major upgrade on Feb. 22 through Windows Update.

The company said it had reached the "release to manufacturing," or RTM milestone for both Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, and was shipping the code to PC and server makers today.

Customers who subscribe to either TechNet or the Microsoft Software Developer Network (MSDN) can download Windows 7 SP1 starting Wednesday, Feb. 16, the same day companies with volume license agreements can grab the upgrade.

The general public must wait until Tuesday, Feb. 22, when SP1 hits the Windows Update service. Microsoft typically reserves the last Tuesday of each month for shipping non-security updates.

Microsoft announced Windows 7 SP1 less than a year ago and delivered a public beta of SP1 in July 2010.

When it issued a "release candidate," or RC build of SP1 last October, Computerworld predicted that Microsoft would ship the completed upgrade no later than the end of February.

Microsoft has said several times that Windows 7 SP1 would not include any new features specific to the operating system, but would instead be composed of the security patches and nonsecurity fixes that had already been issued via Windows Update.

The only additions to SP1 include an updated Remote Desktop client designed to work with RemoteFX, a new technology that debuts with Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. RemoteFX is designed to improve the graphics performance of Windows 7 virtual machines hosted on Server 2008 R2 SP1 systems. Windows 7 SP1 also supports "Dynamic Memory," a feature in Server 2008 R2 SP1 that lets IT staff adjust guest virtual machines' memory on the fly.

Today, Microsoft touted the benefits of Windows 7 SP1 to corporations, claiming that RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory would let computer makers design and sell low-cost clients that run Windows 7 in a virtual machine.

"These technologies will drive down the endpoint cost and reduce endpoint power consumption," said Michael Kleef, a senior technical product manager with the Windows Server group, in a blog post .

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer , or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com .

Read more about windows in Computerworld's Windows Topic Center.

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