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Vista SP2 Beta Available For Public Download

The service pack is designed to improve support for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Blu-ray devices.
A trial version of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 is now available for free download from Microsoft's TechNet Web site.

"For those of you who choose to test this service pack, we encourage you to install the beta as soon as you can; your feedback will help us to ship a solid and stable service pack for Windows Vista," product manager Mike Nash wrote on his blog.

Windows Vista SP2 will include security and performance updates issued since Microsoft released Vista SP1 in March. It also includes "support for new types of hardware and emerging standards that will grow in importance in the coming months," said Nash. Among other things, Vista SP2 will add support for the latest Bluetooth specification and Blu-ray high-definition media encoding. It also adds Microsoft's Windows Connect Now Wi-Fi configuration tool.

As for the forthcoming Windows 7, another Microsoft blog post states that programmers who attend an MSDN Developer Conference in January will be given a DVD containing the first beta version of the operating system.

Microsoft for the first time unveiled Windows 7 features at its Los Angeles Professional Developers Conference in October and appears anxious to release the OS as soon as possible. The company has formally said that Windows 7 won't ship until early 2010, but the January release of a beta disk is the latest sign that Windows 7 could debut in late 2009.

Microsoft is hoping Windows 7, which includes native support for touch screens, will help erase memories of Vista, which by all accounts has been a disappointment for the company.