Just as it was the case with past upgrades to its Windows client and server platform, following the RTM and GA of Service Pack 1, Microsoft will start to automatically push the bits to Windows 7 RTM and Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM computers.

Customers with Automatic Updates enabled will be automatically upgraded to Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

Still, the Redmond company is also offering customers the possibility to block the delivery of Service Pack 1 and continue to have AU enabled.

This can be done with help from the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit. In fact, a new version of the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit went live on the Microsoft Download Center on November 11, 2010. More »

New Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Images are currently available for download free of charge from Microsoft.

The company is offering XP SP3 and Vista SP1 virtualized, packaged as Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) files, that can be used with Microsoft’s virtualization solutions.

Each XP and Vista copy brings to the table a different version of Internet Explorer. The images are designed for web devs that are building sites and need to test their projects for compatibility with multiple IE versions.

“After a little delay, the Internet Explorer App Compat Testing VHDs are now available for download on the Microsoft Download Center. Like the previous set of images, these ones are time-bombed for 90 days and will expire on January 11th, 2011,” revealed Microsoft’s Pete LePage. More »

Although Microsoft doesn’t normally deliver support for pre-release software, there are exceptions to this rule, and an update designed to resolve issues related to Taskbar functionality in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 is an illustrative example in this regard.

The Redmond company also offers support for pre-RTM products when it comes down to patching Critical security vulnerabilities that would put users at risk from attacks and exploits.

However, the update released in the second half of August 2010 is not intended to patch a security flaw.

Instead “this update addresses an issue in which the thumbnail controls for some applications are not displayed on the taskbar. After you install this update, you may have to restart your system,” Microsoft stated.

According to the little information provided by the software giant, the refresh is capable of enabling “the thumbnail controls of certain applications to be displayed correctly on the taskbar in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2.”

And although the company doesn’t mention Windows 7 SP1 Beta and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta in the Knowledge Base article, the releases on the Microsoft Download Center reveal that early adopters running the public Beta of the first upgrade for the two platforms should also deploy the update.

Windows 7 SP1 Beta was released to testers in the first half of July 2010, and continues to be available for download to the public.

As it released Windows 7 SP1 Beta, Microsoft made it clear that it planned to wrap up and deliver the RTM bits of the service pack in the first half of 2011, most probably in the first quarter of next year, rather than by the end of 2010, as previously speculated.

Following the release of Windows 7 Service Pack (SP1) Beta Build 7601.16562.100603-1800, work on the upgrade continued, with Microsoft having reportedly released a new interim version of the service pack to TAP and OEMs.

The software giant confirmed that Windows 7 SP1 Beta Refresh Build 7601.17077 indeed shipped to a select pool of testers.

Windows 7 Service Pack (SP1) Beta Build 7601.16562.100603-1800 is available for download here.

Here are the download links for KB2259539:

All supported x86-based versions of Windows 7

All supported x64-based versions of Windows 7

All supported x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 R2

All supported IA-64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 R2

The Guide for IT Pros for Microsoft Office Web Apps is now live on the Microsoft Download Center, and as the label implies, the guide is tailored to IT professionals.

Essentially, the resource is focused on one aspect of Office Web Apps, namely the on-premise deployment available to volume licensing customers for introduction on top of Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products in their organization.

The latest iteration of the guide is designed to allow IT pros to get familiarized with the final version of Office Web Apps.

Back in April 2010, the software giant made available for download a version of the resource that dealt with Office Web Apps on-premises deployments involving the Beta Build of the solution. More »

Microsoft has centralized all downloads of language resources for Windows 7 and Windows Vista on a single webpage, simplifying access for end users. Essentially, the Redmond company has put together a centralized hub for downloading additional languages for the successors of Windows XP. Both Multilingual User Interface (MUI) Packs and Language Interface Packs (LIPs) are featured on the “Download languages for Windows” page, along with the necessary links, and additional information for end users.

“You can download and install additional languages to view Windows menus, dialog boxes, and other user interface items in your preferred language. Additional languages will work only with a genuine copy of Windows. Some languages are installed from the Microsoft Download Center, and some are installed using Windows Update. In addition, some languages require a premium edition of Windows or a particular parent language,” Microsoft informed. More »