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Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 RC. Detailed list of Improvements and others questions

Microsoft has made available a Release Candidate (RC) for Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. SP1 includes both a roll-up of operating system updates and several new capabilities for Windows Server.

Q: Can I install the Release Candidate over the Beta of SP1?
A.
 No. You must uninstall the beta.

Q: Can I install the RC on an evaluation version of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2?
A.
Yes. The RC of SP1 can install on RTM evaluation versions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Q: There are several downloads available. Which one should I choose?
A: There are two ways you can obtain the service pack RC. You can download a special key to enable Windows Update to offer you the service pack RC, or you can download the service pack directly. For each download method, you should choose the correct download for your platform (x86, IA64 or x64).

Q: Should customers who are considering deploying Windows 7 wait for SP1?
A:
No. Windows 7 is a high quality release and provides many benefits to consumers and businesses alike.  SP1 will include all updates previously available to Windows 7 users through Windows Update, so there is no reason to wait or delay their use of Windows 7.

Q. Can I upgrade from the RC builds to the final build of SP1?
A.
No. You will have to uninstall the Service Pack or do a clean install of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

Q. Will there be a slipstream build of SP1 RC?
A.
No. The RC will only be available as the service pack update itself. You will need to have a release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 to install the RC of the service pack.

Q. What languages will be released at RC?
A.
  For RC, we will release English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

Q: Which improvements are included in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1?
A. 
• Dynamic Memory – Dynamic Memory allows for memory on a host machine to be pooled and dynamically distributed to virtual machines as necessary. Memory is dynamically added or removed based on current workloads, and is done so without service interruption.
• Microsoft RemoteFX – a new set of remote user experience capabilities that enable a media-rich user environment for virtual desktops, session-based desktops and remote applications
• Enhancements to scalability and high availability when using DirectAccess – improvements have been made to enhance scalability and high availability when using DirectAccess, through the addition of support for 6to4 and ISATAP addresses when using DirectAccess in conjunction with Network Load Balancing (NLB).
• Support for Managed Service Accounts (MSAs) in secure branch office scenarios – enhanced support for managed service accounts (MSAs) to be used on domain-member services located in perimeter networks (also known as DMZs or extranets).
• Support for increased volume of authentication traffic on domain controllers connected to high-latency networks – more granular control of the maximum number of possible concurrent connections to a domain controller, enabling a greater degree of performance tuning for service providers.
• Enhancements to Failover Clustering with Storage – SP1 enables enhanced support for how Failover Clustering works with storage that is not visible for all cluster nodes. In SP1, improvements have been made to the Cluster Validation and multiple Failover Cluster Manager wizards to allow workloads to use disks that are shared between a subset of cluster nodes.

Q: Which improvements are included in Windows 7 SP1?
A. 
• Additional support for communication with third-party federation services – Additional support has been added to allow Windows 7 clients to effectively communicate with third-party identity federation services (those supporting the WS-Federation passive profile protocol).
• Improved HDMI audio device performance – Updates have been incorporated into SP1 to ensure that connections between Windows 7 computers and HDMI audio devices are consistently maintained.
• Corrected behavior when printing mixed-orientation XPS documents – Prior to the release of SP1, some customers have reported difficulty when printing mixed-orientation XPS documents (documents containing pages in both portrait and landscape orientation) using the XPS Viewer, resulting in all pages being printed entirely in either portrait or landscape mode. This issue has been addressed in SP1, allowing users to correctly print mixed-orientation documents using the XPS Viewer.

Q: Changes common to both client and server platforms:
A. 
• Change to behavior of “Restore previous folders at logon” functionality – SP1 changes the behavior of the “Restore previous folders at logon” function available in the Folder Options Explorer dialog. Prior to SP1, previous folders would be restored in a cascaded position based on the location of the most recently active folder. That behavior changes in SP1 so that all folders are restored to their previous positions.
• Enhanced support for additional identities in RRAS and IPsec – Support for additional identification types has been added to the Identification field in the IKEv2 authentication protocol. This allows for a variety of additional forms of identification (such as E-mail ID or Certificate Subject) to be used when performing authentication using the IKEv2 protocol.
• Support for Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) – Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) is a 256 bit instruction set extension for processors. AVX is designed to allow for improved performance for applications that are floating point intensive. Support for AVX is a part of SP1 to allow applications to fully utilize the new instruction set and register extensions.

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