Microsoft is to begin beta testing the next service pack update for Windows Vista within weeks, according to a techie website.

Testers have received invitations to beta test Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2), reported Neowin. Betas are expected to be released to invited testers, but not to the general public, in approximately four weeks, said Neowin.

Service packs typically consist of collections of the patches, hotfixes and reliability updates released since the original edition of the OS, or its last service pack, whichever came last. At times, however, the company introduces new features to its software via such packs.

Among those features, reported Neowin,  Vista SP2 will include Windows Search 4, Bluetooth 2.1 wireless support, and support for Via Technologies' 64-bit processor. Currently, Via is best known for its C7 chip, which powers some ultra-light "netbook" laptops, including HP's Mini-Note.

Windows Search 4.0 is the newest version of Microsoft's desktop search engine, and was issued to current Vista users via Windows Update last July.

Vista SP1, was released earlier this year, just over a year after the operating system was launched in retail and was made available to consumers. The highly-anticipated SP1, however, suffered a bumpy launch, as users complained that they weren't able to upgrade and others reported that their PCs were crippled by endless reboots.

Earlier this month, speculation that Microsoft would soon seed select testers with a beta of Vista SP2 began after users noticed that the company had added a placeholder to its support database for the service packs for both Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Others, including blogger Mary-Jo Foley, have confirmed the Neowin reports; in a post last week , Foley said that a few testers had already received Vista SP2 betas, and that Microsoft wanted to issue the service pack before it released Windows 7, Vista's successor.

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