Be Cautious of Upcoming Vista SP1 Beta

Dennis Faas's picture

After spending months denying that there even was a Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), Microsoft will be rushing out the first Vista SP1 beta around the middle of July.

After agreeing to change the search feature in Vista due to complaints by Google and leading everyone to believe the first beta of SP1 for Vista wouldn't be released until near or after the first of the year, it now appears that Microsoft is attempting to get the final version of Vista SP1 out around November 2007.

There is also a lot of widespread speculation that Vista SP1 is being rolled out in an effort to encourage Vista adoption by businesses and being used as a marketing tool rather than an update. It wouldn't surprise me at all if it was.

If SP1 is released from beta by November of this year, I would be extremely leery of installation, since it would have only been in beta for 4 months. That's a very short time when you consider the fact that most of their service pack betas are usually tested for a year or more before being rolled out.

It also appears that Microsoft is fast-tracking SP1, which will inevitably end up creating more problems than it fixes. One would think with all the negative publicity surrounding Vista that Microsoft would want to make sure they got the job done correctly this time.

It's expected that Microsoft will roll out SP1 to fix features rather than adding new ones. Besides changing the search function in Vista, other enhancements (from zdnet writer Mary Jo Foley) include:

  • Performance tweaks lessening the amount of time it takes to copy files and shut down Vista machines
  • Improved transfer performance and decreased CPU utilization via support for SD Advanced Direct Memory Access (DMA)
  • Support for ExFat, the Windows file format for flash memory storage and other consumer devices
  • Improvements to BitLocker Drive Encryption to allow not just encryption of the whole Vista volume, but also locally created data volumes
  • The ability to boot Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) on an x64 machine Improved success rate for firewalled MeetingSpace and Remote Assistance connections

Microsoft spent more than 5 years trying to get Vista ready for prime time. If SP1 is released after only 4 months of testing, I would definitely wait for SP2. Even a service pack may not be able to help Vista. Only time will tell if this is more marketing "BS" from Microsoft, or if it really intends to fix some of the problems that they originally denied existed in Vista.

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