Microsoft's Windows communications manager, Brandon LeBlanc, has made a short statement over on the Windows Team Blog, announcing that the first service pack for Windows 7 will be freely available to the masses on 22 February. The update will be available via Microsoft's Download Center and Windows Update.
The final releases (RTM) of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (SP1) have already been officially handed over to Microsoft's OEM partners. On 16 February, the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 service packs will be available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers, as well as Volume License customers.
The standalone service pack weighs in at about 500MB for 64-bit versions of the OS and, like most previous Windows service packs, includes all previous updates. However, the download is smaller if you update using Windows Update, as you'll already have the previous updates and the rest of the service pack only includes minor updates and tweaks to the operating system.
The most noteworthy fix for Windows 7 is improved HDMI audio, after some users reported that HDMI audio devices can be lost after system reboots. There have also been some tweaks to certain behaviours of the operating system, such as the way in which it restores previous folders at log-on.
According to the official notes on SP1, 'Prior to SP1, previous folders would be restored in a cascaded position based on the location of the most recently active folder. That behavior changes in SP1 so that all folders are restored to their previous positions.' Windows Server 2008 R2 users also get a feature called Microsoft RemoteFX, which offers a new set of tools for remote user environments.