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Testers get near-final Vista SP2

Microsoft has started private testing of a "release candidate" version of Vista Service Pack 2. The final version is due out by June.

Although most of the attention these days is focused on where things are with Windows 7, Microsoft is getting closer to releasing the next update for Windows Vista.

On Wednesday, Microsoft offered some technical testers a near-final "release candidate" version of the Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2. The company did not say when that version might be made publicly available.

"We continuously engage with our partners and testers on the development of service packs and we will track customer and partner feedback from the beta program before setting a final date for distribution," Microsoft said in a statement. "We will have more to share on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 SP2 soon and are targeting final delivery in (the second quarter of) 2009."

The release of the updated SP2 test version was noted earlier on Thursday by Ars Technica. Microsoft has been working toward the release candidate version for some time now, after issuing a public beta of the update in December.

Meanwhile, Windows 7 is also moving toward the release candidate stage, with some sites noting that recent builds also contain the release candidate nomenclature, although Microsoft often labels its builds based on the version it is working toward.