Microsoft has finally revealed its planned release date for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and also said it would release the third service pack for Windows XP next year.
Vista SP1, which was rumoured to be imminent but never had a confirmed release date, is set to hit beta in the next couple of weeks, according to company officials.
The service pack will ship between January and March 2008. Previously, Microsoft officials said it would ship with Windows Server 2008, which now is scheduled for release at a planned event in Los Angeles on 27 February.
Microsoft officials said they were coy on the release date of the software because they wanted to make sure it was ready.
"We wanted to find the time where we could balance readiness and the ability to give solid information," said David Zipkin, a senior product manager for Windows Vista. "If we go out with information and it is too early and [that information] changes, that can cause a lot of misdirection and a lot of effort for customers and partners."
Over the years, SP1 versions of any Microsoft products have become a milestone that some companies wait for before they even consider rolling out the software; therefore, early announcements of an SP1 delivery date can cannibalise early adoption of new software.
Vista SP1 will include a number of bug fixes and performance enhancements but no new features, the company said.
One major change, however, focuses on the way anti-virus and firewall software interacts with Windows Security Center, and could result in those applications being cut off from Security Center monitoring. The applications themselves would continue to function as normal although they would not report data to the Security Center.