Microsoft this week unveiled the Release Candidates for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1.
The new releases are the last public test versions before the RTM (release-to-manufacturing) editions for both products hit the market early next year, according to a Microsoft blog. The Release Candidate for Windows 7 SP1 holds no new features since the product's initial beta came out in July. Microsoft has previously said that Windows 7 SP1 would offer nothing new but would simply be a collection of minor updates and fixes already released.
Still the launch of a product's first service pack usually is a symbolic occasion as many businesses wait until SP1 to roll out a new operating system or application.
On the Windows Server front, the Release Candidate for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 does add a few options of interest to IT professionals working with virtualization technology. The RC's new RemoteFX feature is designed to help IT admins deploying Windows 7 through virtual machines. Corporate employees will be able to access those virtual Windows environments from a wider variety of devices and still take advantage of the full graphical user interface.
Specific dates haven't yet been revealed for the final releases of both service packs, but Microsoft is eyeing the first quarter of 2011 as a general time frame. Further details and download links for both Release Candidates are available on Microsoft's Web site.