Microsoft has officially released the Release Candidate of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 to the public just one day after a mysterious leak. The release candidate, or RC, is the first edition aimed at the general public, a Microsoft spokesman said in an entry on the company's blog. It will also be the last, as the company will move directly from SP1 RC to RTM, or "Release To Manufacturing," a term that describes code that's been given the green light for duplication and distribution to computer makers.
Microsoft started testing SP1 seven months ago and a public beta was released in July 2010. The final release of SP1 is expected to arrive during the first quarter of 2011. Microsoft provides service packs for free to bring their OS up to speed with all of the latest security patches and bug fixes, provided that you have a genuine copy of Windows.
The update applies to both Windows 7 as well as Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft did not specifically list changes for Windows 7 or even new features, but stated that SP1 includes both a roll-up of operating system updates and several new capabilities for Windows Server. Those new capabilities refer to RemoteFX, which is a “set of remote user experience capabilities that enable a media-rich user environment for virtual and session-based desktops.” SP1 also delivers Dynamic Memory, which enables servers running Hyper-V for server virtualization to be more efficient in the use of memory.
The update is available in an 865.4 MB package for 64-bit systems or a 514.7 MB version for 32-bit computers. The software can be downloaded here and requires a Windows Live ID.