The first beta version of the upcoming Windows 7 Service Pack leaked to the Internet earlier this week. The version, which was intended to be distributed to a close circle of beta testers is now available on various P2P networks, file hosting sites and other distribution forms on the Internet. Even respected download portals like Softpedia offer the leaked Service Pack 1 for download.
There will always be users that feel the need to download and install a newer version of an operating system, no matter if it is a pre-release copy or not.
But even those users might want to read on to find out if its worth downloading and installing this leaked version of the Windows 7 Service Pack 1.
A few aspects need to be considered. The leaked version is a pre-release copy, a beta version that is not intended to be installed on computer systems that are used on a day to day basis. The version might contain bugs or issues that might cause data corruption or data loss.
The beta version of the first Service Pack for Windows 7 has a timelimit. The version will expire in 2011 and it is not yet clear if it will be possible to install the final version of the Service Pack on top of the beta. It might be that it is not possible at all, or that users need to tweak configuration files to do that (this was the case with Release Candidates and the final version of Windows 7).
Windows users who download the leaked beta need to understand that malicious users often use popular software releases to spread malware. It is recommended to perform a thorough scan of the files before any other action.
The third and last aspect that speaks against downloading and installing the leaked version is the lack of features that are added by the installation. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 will – almost – only contain previously releases patches and fixes.
Additional support for communication with third-party federation services:
Additional support has been added to allow Windows 7 clients to effectively communicate with third-party identity federation services (those supporting the WS-Federation passive profile protocol). This change enhances platform interoperability, and improves the ability to communicate identity and authentication information between organizations.
Softpedia lists some of the changes on their download page:
Improved HDMI audio device performance:
A small percentage of users have reported issues in which the connection between computers running Windows 7 and HDMI audio devices can be lost after system reboots. Updates have been incorporated into SP1 to ensure that connections between Windows 7 computers and HDMI audio devices are consistently maintained.
Corrected behavior when printing mixed-orientation XPS documents:
Prior to the release of SP1, some customers have reported difficulty when printing mixed-orientation XPS documents (documents containing pages in both portrait and landscape orientation) using the XPS Viewer, resulting in all pages being printed entirely in either portrait or landscape mode. This issue has been addressed in SP1, allowing users to correctly print mixed-orientation documents using the XPS Viewer.
Changes common to both client and server platforms:
Change to behavior of â€œRestore previous folders at logonâ€ functionality
SP1 changes the behavior of the â€œRestore previous folders at logonâ€ function available in the Folder Options Explorer dialog. Prior to SP1, previous folders would be restored in a cascaded position based on the location of the most recently active folder. That behavior changes in SP1 so that all folders are restored to their previous positions.
Enhanced support for additional identities in RRAS and IPsec:
Support for additional identification types has been added to the Identification field in the IKEv2 authentication protocol. This allows for a variety of additional forms of identification (such as E-mail ID or Certificate Subject) to be used when performing authentication using the IKEv2 protocol.
Support for Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX):
There has always been a growing need for ever more computing power and as usage models change, processors instruction set architectures evolve to support these growing demands. Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) is a 256 bit instruction set extension for processors. AVX is designed to allow for improved performance for applications that are floating point intensive. Support for AVX is a part of SP1 to allow applications to fully utilize the new instruction set and register extensions.
It is likely that most users do not need those new features right now. The Windows 7 SP1 Beta is available in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. It has the build string 7601.16562.100603-1800 indicating that it was compiled on June 3. The iso file that is offered via Connect contains three files, windows6.1-KB976932-x86-INTL.exe for 32-bit editions of Windows 7, windows6.1-KB976932-X64-INTL.exe for 64-bit editions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 plus windows6.1-KB976932-ia64-INTL.exe for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 IA64 systems. All installers are multi-lingual. (via Windows 7 News)
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