Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) is set to be released as a public beta today. Many will be asking "Should I upgrade to Vista SP2?".

However, it's a fairly significant upgrade and is not for everyone. Here's what you need to know before making the upgrade.

SP2 beta is, as the name suggests, a product still under development. Microsoft is recommending only "technology enthusiasts, developers, and IT pros" willing to test the software take on the upgrade.

General users are advised to wait until the final release, which is set for the first half of 2009. Some unofficial reports indicate it is being targeted for an April completion.

Windows Vista SP2 includes numerous changes to the Vista operating system. Here are some of the highlights of what it'll do for you if you upgrade to Vista SP2:

  • Let you record data onto Blu-ray discs
  • Add into your system Vista Feature Pack For Wireless, which provides support for the latest Bluetooth technology - Bluetooth v2.1 - as well as for the Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi protocol
  • Give you better Wi-Fi performance when you're exiting Vista's sleep mode
  • Make your RSS feeds sidebar gadget work faster and better
  • Give you the latest desktop search engine, Windows Search 4
  • Cut down the resources it takes to run your various sidebar gadgets
  • It'll give your OS an overall tune-up, too.

The Vista Service Pack 2 upgrade will also deliver some under-the-hood improvements, which will:

  • Give your computer support for VIA Technologies' new 64-bit CPU
  • Let your system support exFAT, which can handle larger files and can also use UTC timestamps so you can synchronise files across different time zones
  • Boost your power management efficiency by as much as 10 percent