Microsoft publicly releases Windows 7 SP1 beta

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True to its word, Microsoft has publicly released a beta of the first service pack for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The 1.2GB download has been available to members of the Windows Customer Connection Team since last month, but the door is now open to anyone interested in test-driving W7 SP1 not that there's much to see.

In fact, Microsoft blatantly says the beta doesn't provide any new features for end users and if you identify yourself as a consumer, student or even a tech enthusiast, you won't be given access to the download. Only industry professionals are permitted but there's nothing to stop you from claiming you're an IT worker if you're dying to take SP1 for a spin.

Windows 7's first service pack is mostly just a collection of hotfixes already available through Windows Update. Meanwhile, Server 2008 R2 receives new features such as RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory, the first of which provides a virtualized 3D graphical experience for remote users, while the second gives on-the-fly control of a virtual machine's memory.

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