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New test version issued for Vista SP2

The second service pack for Microsoft's Vista operating system reaches another testing milestone before its eventual release.

While the world and its dog awaits Windows 7, Microsoft has another Vista service pack waiting in the wings.

Service Pack 2 is now into its release candidate phase, and Redmond has made an "escrow" version available to certain testers.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley got her hands on the e-mail that accompanied this week's news:

We are excited to announce RC-Escrow build as the next milestone release of Windows Vista SP2 / Windows Server 2008, now available for download. This build is available on Windows Update for download and install, or by a number of other package options."

There's no word yet on when SP2 itself will be coming out, but the "escrow" version seems to indicate a release sooner rather than later--certainly prior to Windows 7.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.