Microsoft said it has begun shipping the long-awaited first service pack for Windows 7 and its server sibling, Windows Server 2008 Release 2 (R2), to PC OEMs.
Corporate customers will be able to get Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) as of February 22, according to several Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) blog posts Thursday.
Additionally, MSDN and TechNet subscribers will get access to SP1 on Feb. 16, said one post by Microsoft spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc to The Windows Blog.
"For Windows 7, SP1 will help keep your PCs well supported by delivering ongoing updates, many of which have been made previously available through Windows Update. It also includes client-side support for RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory which are two new virtualization features enabled in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1," LeBlanc added.
Remote FX, is designed to provide 3D graphics for remote users, while Dynamic Memory lets administrators adjust memory usage without causing performance problems.
Many corporate customers typically wait for release of the first service pack for a new version of Microsoft Windows before they begin migrating to it. SP1 is, according to conventional wisdom, the update that fixes any problems that emerged after first shipments.
Windows 7 was initially made available to customers and MSDN and TechNet subscribers in August 2009, along with OEMs, and became commercially available on Oct. 22, 2009. So depending on which start date is chosen, users have been waiting for SP1 for either 14 or 18 months.
Conventional wisdom aside, though, many companies have already begun migrations to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
In fact, Windows 7 has done quite well so far.
In late January, when Microsoft announced record sales and earnings for its second quarter of fiscal 2011, the company said that, not only has the company already sold some 300 million Windows 7 licenses, but 90 percent of enterprises have officially begun their migrations to the system.
Besides the service pack, Microsoft also has two add-ons coming in the next six weeks or so. For instance, Microsoft's Software Assurance program will add a new feature called Windows Thin PC (WinTPC).
"WinTPC is a smaller footprint, locked down version of Windows 7, designed to allow customers to repurpose their existing PCs as thin clients," Gavriella Schuster, a general manager in the Windows commercial business, said in a post to The Windows Blog.
Microsoft is also working on administration tools to work with Windows 7's BitLocker encryption technology.
"Some IT professionals told us they wanted an easier way to manage BitLocker. We listened and were happy to announce that we're in the development process to provide Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM), aimed at addressing this [and] will build on BitLocker in Windows 7 and help simplify BitLocker provisioning and deployment, reduce costs while improving compliance and reporting of BitLocker," Schuster's post added.
MBAM is scheduled to enter beta test in March, and will eventually be integrated into the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, or MDOP, she said.