orb Windows 7 SP1 finally marked for RTM, home users need not apply

As always, one can always count on Microsoft to kill off any interest in what has to be one of the more highly-anticipated software releases for the year. After generating a huge deal of hype over what would eventually be the first Service Pack ever for its popular Windows 7 operating system thanks a couple of supposed leaks, the software giant has apparently thought that it would be a nice touch to announce that SP1 for Windows will come with…zero new consumer-centric features. What a way to be a wet blanket, Microsoft.

orb Windows 7 SP1 finally marked for RTM, home users need not apply

Well, Microsoft surely took its time with this one. After all, it has been at least an entire month ever since we brought news of an alleged leak of an RTM release of SP1 build for Windows 7, only for the Redmond giant to step in and caution overenthusiastic users against downloading a service pack that was never meant to be used. And on top of that, Microsoft apparently started work on SP1 for Windows 7 as far back as March last year, which makes it one of the longer development times Windows have spent on a Service Pack.

Needless to say, users from all over the world are anticipating the day Microsoft makes the inevitable announcement of when Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 will be released, and what new features they can look forward to. And this is where we have the classic 'good news bad news' situation playing out once again.

The good news is that the wait is officially over: Microsoft has just announced in a blog post that it has signed off an SP1 build for RTM today. As usual, TechNet and MSDN subscribers will get first dibs on the update: these users will be able to download it from their respective portals on February 16, while 'normal' Windows users have to wait until February 22 to get their copy via Windows Update.

Unfortunately, this is also where the 'bad news' part comes in. With SP1 for Windows 7 being under development for almost an entire year, chances are that some users would be expecting Microsoft to awe with tons of new features, like what happened for XP and Vista. But this is not the case for Windows 7, for Microsoft has confirmed that SP1 will come with no new user-centric features.

According to a blog post made by Microsoft's Windows Server and Cloud division Senior Technical Product Manager, Michael Kleef, the update will sport two new features intended for Windows Server 2008 R2: Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX. The former can be considered as an enhancement to Windows Server's Hyper-V feature: it allows Hyper-V users to "increase virtual machine density with existing resources…without sacrificing performance or scalability"

RemoteFX, on the other hand, appears to be the more appealing feature. In his blog post, Kleef claims RemoteFX's grants Windows Remote Desktop and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure clients the ability to leverage a server's GPU  to provide hardware acceleration for applications which make extensive use of OpenGL and Direct3D. This makes it very useful in certain business environments, where thin clients can easily be used to run applications which have minimum hardware requirements way above what the remote client system can offer.

And if you are thinking of attempting to make use of RemoteFX to play that copy of Crysis sitting on your desktop PC on your netbook via Remote Desktop while on the move…well, you might want to stop thinking about it right now, because RemoteFX can only  be used over LAN. Ouch.

Source: Microsoft TechNet blog