As noted previously, those who listen to the Windows Weekly podcast already know that Microsoft plans to ship Service Pack 1 (SP1) for both Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 (it will be the same SP) one year after the release of those OSes. This weekend, Rafael posted that Microsoft is now starting external testing the of the SP.

Similar to previous external beta service pack rollouts, Microsoft has enabled – via updates you already installed – a beta 'candidacy check' within its Windows Update software. Just like Windows Vista, a registry key and value pair need to be added prior to being authorized to download the new software.

Although I’ve documented the required key and value names, the value’s data (likely a GUID as before) remains unknown. The takeaway here is that external Windows 7 SP1 testing should commence soon, if it hasn’t already. Tips regarding the significance of the name SPORTM would be greatly appreciated.

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Win7SP1
Value: SPORTM (REG_SZ)
Data: Unknown (likely a server-side checked GUID)

Nothing earth shattering, but proof that the Windows treadmill continues to turn.