July 13, 2010 will bring with it the death of Windows XP Service Pack 2, a landmark upgrade in the history of Windows, of a magnitude that will probably never be reached again by any service pack. Essentially, when Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) on April 21, 2008, it also signed the death sentence for its predecessor.

Per the Windows lifecycle, all service packs reach end of support within 12 or 24 months after a new service pack is offered. This, however, has no bearing on the overall support commitment for XP. This means that customers currently running Windows XP will be able to continue doing so provided that they upgrade to the latest service pack, revealed Eric Ligman, Global Partner Experience Lead Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group.

“The terms of the Service Pack Support policy do not impact the Mainstream Support phase or Extended Support phase dates for Windows XP as a product. Windows XP transitioned from the Mainstream Support phase to the Extended Support phase on April 14, 2009,” Ligman said. “During the Extended Support phase for Windows XP (April 14, 2009 – April 8, 2014), Microsoft will continue to provide paid support and security updates at no additional charge. More »

Although customers can already download version 4.6 of Microsoft Application Virtualization, the Redmond-based company is now offering for download the second major upgrade to its predecessor. Application Virtualization (App-V) 4.5 Service Pack 2 (SP2) is now available through the Microsoft Download Center, bringing to the table the latest updates to App-V 4.5. The main changes highlighted by the software giant for the evolution of App-V 4.5 with the release of SP2 involve virtualization support of Office 2010 and of SQL Mirroring.

“This service pack provides the latest updates to Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5. Because Microsoft Application Virtualization service packs are cumulative, you do not have to install Service Pack 1 before you install Service Pack 2. Service Pack 2 includes all of the fixes that were included in Service Pack 1,” Microsoft revealed. More »

Microsoft has made available for download a reliability refresh designed to resolve issues affecting Windows Vista, including platforms upgraded to Service Pack 2, in Bluetooth pairing scenarios. According to the Redmond company, Bluetooth pairing issues affect only Windows Vista, and not customers running Windows XP or the latest version of the Windows client, Windows 7. Customers can now grab an update from the Microsoft Download Center, set up to resolve reliability issues associated with Windows Portable Devices (WPD).

“You try to pair a Bluetooth device with a computer that is running Windows Vista. When you initiate Bluetooth pairing from the Bluetooth device, the Bluetooth services on the Bluetooth device are not enabled automatically. You have to manually enable the services,” the software giant explained. “This issue does not occur when you initiate Bluetooth pairing from the computer. In this situation, the Bluetooth device’s services are turned on automatically.”

Microsoft is offering the Vista SP2 Bluetooth pairing reliability update for both the 32-bit (x86) and the 64-bit (x64) versions of the operating system. “To apply this update, you must have hotfix 971514 installed on a computer that is running Windows Vista Service Pack 2,” the company informed. More »

Customers that have upgraded their Windows Vista Service Pack 1 computers to Service Pack 2 only to subsequently be plagued by frequent crashes can access a solution from Microsoft. The Redmond company notes that it is well aware of the issue. According to the software giant, some customers that made the jump from Vista SP1 to Vista SP2 have experienced repetitive crashes and have also come across the following stop error message “Stop 0x000000FE BUGCODE_USB_DRIVER”. Microsoft also mentions that the same problems affect customers that upgraded from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 SP2.

“After you upgrade from Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) to Windows Vista SP2 or from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 SP2, your computer crashes frequently and you receive the following stop error message: Stop 0x000000FE (parameter1, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4) BUGCODE_USB_DRIVER,” the company stated.

While an update is not available from Microsoft, nor likely, except with the release of Vista SP3, a hotfix can be grabbed from Microsoft Support. The software giant notes that the hotfix is the same as a resolve designed to take care of another problem impacting Vista and Windows Server 2008. However, in the specific case of Vista SP1 to SP2 upgrades, the issue “usually occurs on computers that have NVIDIA chipsets. More »

Microsoft is constantly tending to the evolution of its Windows client and server platforms, not only through major upgrades, such as service pack releases, but also through minor updates made available through the Windows Update infrastructure. It is the case of the latest application compatibility update for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. The refresh is currently served through WU, but as of August 25th, 2009 the bits can also be grabbed as standalone download via the Microsoft Download Center. If you don’t want to use WU to grab the August 2009 Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Application Compatibility Update simply use the links at the bottom of this article.

“Windows Vista Application Compatibility Update is a software update that addresses common application compatibility issues in Windows Vista. Microsoft regularly releases application compatibility updates for Windows Vista and for Windows Server 2008,” Microsoft noted.

The Redmond company explained that Application compatibility updates were designed to introduce modifications in the way Vista and in Windows Server 2008 were dealing with various programs that posed incompatibility problems. More »