Microsoft has officially announced the public beta availability of service pack 1 for Windows 7.

Speaking at the Worldwide Partner conference, Microsoft's Tammi Reller confirmed that the beta of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 was available to the public from today.

The service pack will bring only minor updates to Windows 7 consumer PCs, with Microsoft hoping that people have got the message about using Windows update.

But for businesses who have to roll software out over hundreds of machines and for manufacturers of the PCs, the arrival of a service pack is a key point in an operating system's life.

Windows Server 2008R2's service pack was also announced.

Pegged

Microsoft pegged Windows 7 SP1 for July a month ago, and it always seemed likely that the update would be announced during the Partner conference.

"I am quite pleased today to announce the public beta availability of service pack 1 both for Windows Server 2008R2 as well as Windows 7," said Reller.

"[For Windows 7 ] mostly it is minor updates that are available through Windows update."