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Microsoft already planning Vista service pack

New operating system is not fully out the door and the software giant is already preparing for its first service pack release of bug fixes.

Windows Vista is not even fully out the door, but Redmond is already laying the groundwork for its first service pack release of bug fixes and other enhancements for the operating system.

The software maker has put out a call for businesses that want to be early testers of the software. "Interested customers should contact their Technical Account Manager at Microsoft to get nominated," a Microsoft representative said in an e-mail.

Windows Vista doesn't hit retail shelves until next week, though it has been on sale to large businesses since November.

Understandably, the company has not finalized what it will deliver in the first service pack, though the software maker outlined an update that is more similar to Windows XP Service Pack 1 and other minor updates than to Windows XP Service Pack 2, which was a fairly major overhaul of the operating system.

"We expect Windows Vista SP1 to be a standard service pack that will include security updates and hot fixes, as well as limited other changes focused on improving overall quality," the representative said.

Microsoft said it was "too early to provide any firm date range" for SP1, but said, "In general, we expect the first service pack for Windows Vista to be released in a timeframe similar to that of service packs for previous versions of Windows."

Windows XP Service Pack 1 arrived in September 2002, 11 months after XP's initial debut.

Microsoft's call for business testers was noted earlier Tuesday by