Microsoft will distribute Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP3) to a small group of beta testers on Wednesday.
A small group of Technology Adoption Program members will get a test version of Vista SP2 in the middle of Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC), which takes place this week in Los Angeles, the company revealed on the Windows Vista team blog.
Vista SP2 will include previously released fixes that focus on specific reliability, performance and compatibility issues with Vista, according to the blog entry, attributed to Mike Nash, vice president of Windows product management at Microsoft.
The company expects Vista SP2 will be compatible with applications that are written using public APIs (application programming interfaces) that run on both Vista and Vista SP1, he said. It also will be released for both Vista and Windows Server 2008 simultaneously.
Microsoft has not set a date for the final release of SP2 and will base that release on feedback from the beta programme, according to Nash's post.
Some of the improvements Microsoft plans to deliver in SP2 include the addition of Windows Search 4.0 to enable faster and better relevancy in searches, Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack to support the latest Bluetooth technology and the ability to record data onto Blu-ray video format natively in Vista, Nash said.
Vista SP2 also will add Windows Connect Now technology to simplify the configuration of Wi-Fi networks, and include support for UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) timestamps to ensure that files are synchronized across time zones, according to the blog post.
In his post, Nash advised users that if they are waiting for SP2 to upgrade to Vista, they should consider using the Vista SP1 OS now rather than wait.
"While we will recommend SP2 when it ships, your best bet today is Windows Vista SP1," he wrote.
Even as Microsoft readies Vista SP2, the company is expected to distribute an early release of Vista's follow-up, Windows 7, at the PDC next week.