Windows 7 SP1 Released, but not for Home Users

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft on Monday announced that Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) has been made available to business users. The update package also affects Windows Server 2008 R2, which is structurally similar to Windows 7.

A Service Pack is a collection of all previous Windows updates and hotfixes, and typically includes enhancements and improvements. Its installation is much more convenient and often safer than installing updates on a patch-by-patch basis.

Microsoft Hush-Hush about Windows 7 SP1 Release Date

Up until now, Microsoft has kept fairly quiet about its first Windows 7 Service Pack. The company noted back in March that Service Pack 1 was in the works, but made no specific timeline known. More details came last month at Tech Ed 2010, when president of the company's Server and Tools Division, Bob Muglia, noted that SP1 would probably make an appearance sometime during July. (Source:

Windows 7 SP1 Not For Everyone

Microsoft stresses that this version of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is not for everyone.

"This early release of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta is not available for home users," the company said on its TechNet site for IT professionals. "The SP1 Beta does not provide new end-user features, and installation is not supported by Microsoft." (Source:

Major Updates for Virtualization and RemoteDX

In fact, the real target audience for Windows 7 SP1, as it stands now, are users of the server version -- not the desktop version. The two, arguably most important features of SP1 include virtualization upgrades like Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX. The former helps special Hyper-V virtualization servers improve memory on virtual machines, while RemoteDX allows for the use of 3D graphics technology by remote virtual desktops using Win7.

Business computing professionals interested in these features and a beta trial version of Windows 7 SP1 are encouraged to try the download via TechNet. A valid RTM (release to manufacturing) version of either Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 is required.

Option to Downgrade XP Extended

Meanwhile, users of Windows 7 who want to downgrade their machines to Windows XP will have the opportunity to do just that for long, long time. The company recently announced it had extended the 18-month deadline imposed after Win7's release. Microsoft has done away with the cut-off date, saying the downgrade option will exist throughout Windows 7's lifespan. (Source:

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