Is Vista SP1 Worth the Wait?

Dennis Faas's picture

As recently reported by senior editor Brandon Dimmel, Microsoft has officially announced information about Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and is reportedly scheduled to release it sometime in the first quarter of 2008.

The official Vista white paper from the Windows Vista Blog offers some information about SP1. The white paper notes that "organizations do not need to wait for SP1 to deploy Windows Vista; they are encouraged to begin their Windows Vista evaluation and deployment now." Irregardless of the usual Microsoft epitomical marketing and explanations of the benefits and tradeoffs of SP1, a lot of businesses will wait to deploy Vista until a service pack is released.

Michael Silver, research vice president for Gartner Client Computing says "service packs are a little less important than they were, because Microsoft is more proficient in delivering updates in other ways" such as the Windows Update mechanism. Silver also notes that mainstream adoption of Windows Vista hasn't really started yet.

Despite Microsoft's efforts, enterprises aren't in a hurry to deploy Windows Vista. Simply put, Vista is too much trouble. "Vista is still maturing. It's not as stable as XP--yet," Silver said. David Milman, CEO of computer services company Rescuecom, agrees. "My recommendation to our customers is to wait at least six months following SP1's release before adoption."

Part of the trouble with Vista is the constant change. David Zipken, Windows client senior product manager says "many of the reasons applications broke in the move from XP to Vista were intentional--because of architectural changes." Zipkin further admits that drastic changes such as the UAC (User Account Control) and Windows Presentation Foundation break application compatibility.

Hardware upgrades, compatibility issues, licensing headaches, and too many versions of Windows Vista have plagued its acceptance since it was released.

Due to the constant deployment problems, many organizations are frustrated, Milman said. Recently, he moved a medium-sized business back to XP from Vista because they weren't prepared for the level of frustration encountered from Vista deployment. He also notes that it's not an uncommon occurrence. Deploying Vista requires a considerable amount of fine-tuning. "In two or three years, Vista will be the standard, and it will be a fine-tuned operating system," Milman said. "But it's going to take a bit of time."

A few other things to also note: Windows Vista SP1 really doesn't offer a good reason to switch to Vista from XP, once Vista SP1 is released other new problems will inevitably occur and Windows 7 is rumored to be released in two or three years.

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