Still, we're looking at the world's most widely used desktop operating system, as well as a rather popular server platform (well, if you add XP and Vista installations, anyway). As such, I kind of have to detail the boring changes in this upcoming service pack, even though there's nothing earth-shattering in there.
Looking at Windows 7, the release notes are probably the most barren. The biggest change is probably a fix for HDMI audio issues a small group of people were having, an issue which caused the audio connection between Windows 7 machines and other devices conncted via HDMI was lost upon reboots. This issue is supposedly fixed now.
Then there's "additional support for communication with third-party federation services", a change which "enhances platform interoperability, and improves the ability to communicate identity and authentication information between organizations". Neat-o, whatever the light bulb that means. There's also a fix for issues with printing mixed-orientation XPS documents, reported by customers. Meaning, there actually are people out there using XPS. Any takers among the OSNews audience? If so, why are you using it?
The changes on the server-side of things are more substantial. This first service pack adds dynamic memory, which means memory on a host machine can be pooled and allocated dynamically to virtual machines as they need it, without service interruption.
Another new feature related to virtualisation is RemoteFX, which actually sounds pretty nifty. "By leveraging the power of advanced codecs and virtualized graphics resources on the data center host, RemoteFX adds support for any application, including 3D, and rich media to a virtual desktop environment. In doing so, RemoteFX complements and extends the user experience enhancements of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) in Windows Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services."
There's more stuff in the service pack, but we're talking about stuff that really doesn't ring any bell in my head, although I'm sure there are people out there who are jumping up and down about "support for Managed Service Accounts (MSAs) in secure branch office scenarios".
The release candidate is available now. It goes without saying that you shouldn't be installing this on a production machine.