Microsoft will release a beta version of the first major update to its Windows 7 operating system by the end of July, according to a company official.
Windows 7 screen shot
|(Click for larger image and for full photo gallery)|
Windows 7 SP1 won't add much new, however, for Windows users who's been keeping current with previously released security and performance patches.
"SP1 will not contain any new features that are specific to Windows 7 itself," said Gavriella Schuster, a GM in Microsoft's Windows division, in a blog post Monday.
"For Windows 7, SP1 will simply be the combination of updates already available through Windows Update and additional hotfixes based on feedback by our customers and partners," said Schuster.
That, said Schuster, said there's no reason for enterprises to hold off on installing Windows 7 until SP1 is out. "Customers can feel confident about deploying Windows 7 now," said Schuster.
SP1 also includes updates for Windows Server 2008 R2, including a feature, dubbed Microsoft RemoteFX, that allows end-users to access their desktops remotely.
Additionally, SP1 offers Dynamic Memory, which lets Windows Server Hyper-V (Microsoft's virtualization technology), dynamically allocate memory to virtual machines on an as-needed basis.
Microsoft needs Windows 7 to be a hit in the corporate market. The operating system's predecessor, Windows Vista, was shunned by enterprise IT departments over concerns about horsepower requirements, intrusive security measures, and lack of compatibility with older applications.
Windows 7 is no more backwards compatible than was Vista in terms of supporting applications that were written for Windows XP or even older operating systems, but Microsoft is confident that businesses have now had enough time to retool their apps for its new OS environment.
A study by Dimensional Research/KACE shows that 16% of IT pros are now running Windows 7, while 42% plan to begin deployment by the end of 2010. Microsoft released Windows 7 in October, 2009.