Frequently Asked Questions: Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista Service Pack 2

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista

This article provides answers to common questions about this release of Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista Service Pack 2.


What is Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008?

SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 is a collection of updates to the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 operating systems, delivered in a single installation package, that addresses feedback from our customers. For more information on the updates in SP2, see Hotfixes and Security Updates in Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Vista SP2.

What is the language release schedule plan for SP2?

Microsoft will be releasing five languages (English, German, Spanish, French, and Japanese) in the first release and an additional 31 languages together in a second wave sometime after the first release.

Are there any prerequisites for SP2?

You must have Windows Vista with SP1 or Windows Server 2008 installed on your computer before installing Service Pack 2. (Windows Server 2008 shipped with Service Pack 1 included.)

If you choose to install SP2 over Windows Update there will be one pre-required package to install, Servicing Stack Update (KB955430), before Windows Update offers you SP2.

The Servicing stack is the component that handles installation and removal of software updates, language packs, and optional windows features. This update is necessary to successfully install and uninstall the service pack; it also improves the performance and reliability of the service pack installation.

Is SP2 a mandatory update through Windows Update?

No, when you are ready to install SP2, you can go to Windows Update and begin installation. After accepting the End User License Agreement, SP2 installation will begin. SP2 will not install automatically. If you have configured Windows Update to automatically check for and download updates then it will download automatically and notify you when it is available for installation.

Customers who wish to test SP2 for a longer period and would like to prevent SP2 from installing from AU can download and install the SP2 Blocking Tool at the Microsoft Download Center. The tool will ensure SP2 is not offered from AU for 360days. Organizations do not need to deploy the Blocker Toolkit in environments managed with an update management solution such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or Systems Center. Organizations can use those products to fully manage deployment of updates released through Windows Update and Microsoft Update.

Will there be a Service Pack Blocker Tool offered for SP2?

Yes, the current Windows Service Pack Blocker Toolkit works with SP2. The SP Blocker Tool can be downloaded here. For more information, see Windows Operating System Service Pack Blocker Toolkit: Frequently Asked Questions.

I’ve already installed the Service Pack Blocker Tool to block SP1 – what does that mean for SP2?

If you want to block the offering of SP2, no further action needs to be taken. The blocker tool will block both SP1 and SP2. If you want Service Pack 2 to be offered you will need to remove the SP Blocker setting. For more information, see the overview information provided for the SP Blocker Tool here.

Why does the SP2 installation require SP1 be installed first?

There are a number of reasons for this, the primary one being the overall size of the standalone package for SP1.  Having a cumulative SP2 that includes the updates from SP1 would have made the size too large.  Furthermore, because SP2 is a single-servicing model, and since Windows Server already includes SP1, a cumulative SP2 would have meant a needlessly larger file for Server customers.  Finally, in the consumer space the majority of customers have already installed SP1 over WU or will be doing so before SP2, so incorporating SP1 into a cumulative SP2 would take unnecessary time and bandwidth.

If I installed a Release Candidate of SP2, can I simply upgrade it to a release version?

No. Pre-RTM builds are not upgradeable. If you have not run the Service Pack cleanup tool after installing a pre-release version of SP2, you should be able to uninstall the pre-release version, and then do a full install of the released version.

How will customers benefit from running SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008? 

Organizations using SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 will see benefits in security and manageability, overall system performance, and streamlined planning and deployment.

What improvements can users expect from SP2 for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista?

SP2 supports new types of hardware and emerging hardware standards and includes updates delivered since SP1. For more information, see Notable Changes in Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Vista SP2.

Will applications that run on Windows Vista or Windows Server SP1 work on Service Pack 2?

Our goal is that all applications that run on SP1 are completely compatible with SP2, and we continue to work with ISVs toward this.

Windows Vista

Is Vista SP1 quality not sufficient, requiring that you do another Service Pack so soon after releasing Service Pack 1?

Automated feedback (telemetry) provided by Microsoft’s Customer Experience Improvement program since launching Service Pack 1, indicates that Service Pack 1 is equal to or higher than nearly all dimensions of Windows XP Service Pack 2 baselines. Based on this data we believe we have delivered on our promise of improved performance, reliability, application and device compatibility, as well as security in Service Pack 1. Service Pack 2 is being developed primarily with Windows Server 2008 in mind, and will be the first service pack for Server 2008 since it launched. Service Pack 2, designed for install on Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1, represents a single serviceability model we are adopting for these two products, making it easier to manage and deploy this service pack broadly in business networks. SP2 also rolls up all previous Windows Updates to create a more convenient updating experience for customers with new PCs.

What is a standalone vs. an integrated SP2 DVD?

An integrated installation (also known as "slipstream installation") means that the service pack is integrated into the operating system, and therefore the operating system and service pack are installed simultaneously. You can use the integrated installation to upgrade computers running Windows XP and to perform clean installations on computers that do not have an operating system. A standalone SP2 DVD, also known as a ‘Patch DVD’, you use the stand-alone pack to upgrade computers that already are running the Windows Vista operating system with Service Pack 1 level installation. The download size of the stand-alone package is larger than the package applied with Windows Update. This method is recommended for: 1) Applying Windows Vista SP2 to computers without (or with limited) Internet connectivity 2) Applying the service pack to more than one computer using deployment tools such as Systems Management Server 2003 (SMS) or System Center Configuration Manager 2007.

Windows Vista SP1 is currently available, Windows 7 is on its way, and now Microsoft is talking about Windows Vista SP2?  What is Microsoft’s guidance to customers?

Microsoft recommends customers who are currently deploying Windows Vista with SP1 proceed with it, so they can take advantage of the increased security, higher productivity, cost savings, and improved efficiency that Windows Vista delivers. For customers who are in the early stages of the Windows Vista deployment cycle, we recommend they plan on testing and deploying Windows Vista SP2. The platform innovations we introduced in Windows Vista will carry forward in Windows 7 when it ships. Our goal with Windows 7 is that it will run on the same hardware as Windows Vista and that the applications and devices that work with Windows Vista will also be compatible with Windows 7. As a result, customers will be able to fully leverage their Windows Vista investments when they deploy Windows 7, and the transition to Windows 7 will be significantly more straightforward for having deployed Windows Vista.

Does Windows Vista SP2 include Internet Explorer 8?

No, Internet Explorer 8 is not included in Windows Vista SP2.

Are there any changes to the Windows Vista out-of-box-experience (OOBE) with SP2?


I’ve heard that Windows Vista SP2 has a strong Windows Server 2008 component. What is this relationship?

SP2 for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista leverages the single servicing model; therefore Microsoft will only deliver one service pack for both platforms.  The primary benefit of this approach is that it makes it easier for enterprise customers to plan, test, deploy, and manage SP2 for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista in their environments.

Windows Server 2008

When did you release Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008? Why is this there a second service pack for Server 2008 which had no SP1?

Windows Server 2008 released with the Service Pack 1 code included, and was marketed as Windows Server 2008 with SP1 already included.  SP2 is the first post-release Service Pack for Windows Server 2008.

How will I be able to apply Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 to my computer?

There are two ways. 1) An update will be available for free download for existing installations of Windows Server 2008. 2) The SP2 updates will be incorporated, or slipstreamed, into Windows Server 2008 moving forward.

Does SP2 change the non-R2 machines to R2 SP2 machines?

No, it will not upgrade Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 R2.

Windows Server 2003 Service Packs required a lot of application testing? Should I expect the same from Windows Server 2008 SP2?

No, customers can expect a much simpler upgrade process with WS08 SP2.  Previous service packs addressed known security vulnerabilities to Windows Server by tightening the authorization needed for some services and disabling others all together. In some cases these security enhancements resulted in unexpected behavior from applications.  With WS08 SP2, customers can expect a normal service pack up updates, rollups, and hotfixes.

Is Hyper-V included in Windows Server 2008 SP2?

Yes, Service Pack 2 marks the inclusion of Hyper-V into Windows Server 2008 natively. If you install SP2, you will not need to download Hyper-V RTM separately.

How long will Windows Server 2008 RTM be supported after SP2 releases?

The Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy requires that the product’s supported service pack be installed to continue to receive support (including security updates).

Service Pack Support Policy Support for the previous service packs for Windows Server is 24 months from the release date of the newest service pack 1. Support timelines for service packs will remain consistent within the product family 2. Microsoft will publish specific support timelines for a previous service pack when the new service pack is released 3. When support for a product ends, support of the service packs for that product will also end. The product’s support lifecycle supersedes the service pack support policy

Are Windows Server 2008 R2 and SP2 the same?

No, Windows Server 2008 R2 is the next release of Windows Server. SP2 is a service pack for the current version of Windows 2008 Server.

Does Windows Server 2008 SP2 change the non-Windows Server 2008 R2 machines to Windows Server 2008 R2 SP2 machines?

No, it will not upgrade Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 R2.

Can Windows Server 2008 SP2 be applied to a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine?


What is a single servicing model? Do Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 have a single servicing model?

Single servicing means that both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 will share the same service pack. Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 were marketed as having the same codebase so servicing would be unified. This means that system administrators will only need to maintain test and deployment for one service pack across both platforms.

Will Windows Server 2008 SP2 include PowerShell over GUI?

No, this will be in Windows Server 2008 R2, not Windows Server 2008 SP2.