The first bits and pieces of Windows Vista Service Pack 1
die today June 30, 2008. Microsoft announced from mid-June that the release candidate builds of Windows Vista are scheduled for expiration at the end of the month. As
an integral part of the development process, the Redmond company is allowing participants in product Betas to run for free the test versions of the software for a limited period of time. However, all the Betas are time bombed, and Vista SP1 Release Candidates make no exception to this rule. And, in fact, time has almost run out on the Vista SP1 builds which feature labels less than 6.0.6001.18000.
For users still running development milestones of Vista SP1, this is the proverbial eleventh hour for the uninstallation of the RC bits. Come July 1, all Vista SP1 RC copies will continue to boot, but after one hour, the kernel of the operating system will stop delivering the following error message: END_OF_NT_EVALUATION_PERIOD. Users will be permitted to reboot and then to remove SP1 RC from Vista, effectively reverting the operating system to its RTM status, plus the updates they had in place on top of the service pack. Following the uninstalling of SP1 RC builds, Microsoft advises end users to make the jump to the RTM edition of Vista SP1.
Windows Vista SP1 RC can be uninstalled from Control Panel. The service pack is featured under the "View Installed Updates" option in the left hand side menu and is dubbed Service Pack for Microsoft Windows (KB936330). This is valid only for the end users that have deployed SP1 RC on top of Vista RTM. Testers who deployed the slipstreamed version of Vista SP1 RC, performing a full install, have no removal options available. A clean install of Vista RTM and the deployment of the gold bits of SP1 are necessary.
The next milestone in the product lifecycle of Windows Vista will come on April 13, 2010. This is the date when Microsoft officially retires support for the gold version of Windows Vista released at the end of January 2007. Windows Vista SP1 was released to manufacturing on February 4, 2008, and a support kill-off date has yet to be set. "Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product's support lifecycle, whichever comes first," Microsoft informed.
Windows Vista SP1 RTM is available for download here