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Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Arrives

Microsoft shipped the first big update to Windows Vista today, Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

This is a certifiably big deal. In the Windows food chain, "service packs" are the most important releases outside of entirely new versions of Windows. They both fix existing bugs and add significant new features. They also incorporate patches delivered in earlier, smaller updates, making them the only semi-convenient way to get an unpatched Windows machine up to speed with a single download.

Vista SP1's most welcome changes should be a loosening of Vista's strict anti-piracy defenses, as I'd outlined before. That alone would make it a much more meaningful, useful update than the first service-pack fix for Windows XP (here's an archived copy of my review of "SP1," in case you'd forgotten what a snoozer it was). Microsoft describes SP1's other features, including multiple networking and performance changes, in this white-paper download (PDF) and in this technical note.

Vista users should get this automatically via the operating system's Windows Update feature (unless some circumstances prevent that), but you can also download a standalone installer that can be used on multiple machines (say, the Vista box on a parent's desk that you'd already promised to "take a look at" over the Easter weekend). It's a 434.5-megabyte file for 32-bit versions of Vista; users of the much less common 64-bit versions have a considerably larger 726.5-meg download waiting.

And as the Ars Technica news site notes, Microsoft has already incorporated this update into boxed retail copies of Vista. I suspect that it will take computer manufacturers considerably longer to start bundling this with their computers; if you don't want to deal with installing this update yourself, you should ask a manufacturer directly about its plans for SP1.

The complexity of a Service Pack means that you shouldn't rush to install it. The most ambitious Service Pack fix of them all, Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, turned out to have a bad habit of wrecking machines with existing virus problems--even though its sweeping security upgrades made it a desperately needed fix.

Microsoft lists programs with known issues in Vista SP1 in this technical note; I suspect this list will grow over the next few weeks.

I'm now going to try this update myself on an expendable review laptop, and will revise this entry with my findings later on. In the meantime, if you've gone ahead with an SP1 update, please share your own experiences here.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  March 18, 2008; 2:11 PM ET
Categories:  Windows  
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Comments

I looked at MS's technical note page with Firefox, and even after maximizing the window I had to scroll left and right to read all of the text.

Posted by: Ghak | March 18, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I haven't finished getting SP1 yet; but I always suggest to my colleagues and friends that, if they have or can borrow a high-speed connection, it's worth getting the standalone installer. The obvious use is for anyone who has more than one machine to update, but it can also be a real time and aggravation saver if you ever need to re-install Windows, or update a friend's machine, as Rob mentions.

Also, I haven't any evidence for it, but I'd guess that problems with the standalone installer might surface and be resolved more quickly, since it is the version used by larger installations.

Posted by: Rich Gibbs | March 18, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

5th paragraph 1st word on PDF White Paper is misspelled, should be 'many' not 'may'

Posted by: Steve Jobs | March 18, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I have updated roughly 15 Vista machines, all running all sorts of line-of-business applications. So far, no issues here. I have noticed one huge improvement in how the OS now responds to network queries, and the opening of network shares as well as browsing.

Posted by: SOBE | March 18, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Add that word that the FCC is discussing the use of before "superb" and you have my thoughts rolled up well on Vista SP1.

Vista SP1 upgrade from WU took 45 minutes including the download. All my programs work great(er). I even have onboard Realtek AC97 (one of the forbidden drivers), but I have it disabled in the BIOS as I installed an X-Fi card a while back.

I just installed Far Cry and the 1.4 patch and it installed and runs better than it ever did on XP or Vista Home Premium on this machine.

Off for more games!

Any suggestions anyone?

BTW...Thanks Bill!

And if you say it should have been like that from day one, please do not apply to our R&D center - all designs progress. But that is why you guys write stories and we design...take it from an engineer, you all look pathetic to designers when you write such things...pathetic...so there I said it. Can one of you please go design a perfect car that will last forever (simple, right)- I need one. Done ranting...

Posted by: Master Guru | March 18, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

says f u

Posted by: bobo | March 18, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft: the Master of the Euphemism.

Definition of 'service pack'('SP'):

"We couldn't do it right the first time so we'll hold them off as long as possible 'til we can come up with something we'll call an "SP" which won't work right either and then we'll announce another "SP" which will be available Real Soon Now, and we can probably get the dopes to pay for this one. THEN, because they have the memory of a cabbage, it'll be time for a NEW OPERATING SYSTEM, which the MicroSombies will be sooo happy to see because they think that maybe, just maybe we did it right this time (the fools) that they'll shower us with money yet again".

They can't write Operating Systems; they can't write patches and bug fixes to the Operating Systems they can't write; so what makes all you MicroSoft-In-The-Heads think that a so-called 'service pack'--which is larger, by the way, than any real operating system, will solve your problems.

This, from another news source (I don't remember who; sorry, whoever you are):
"With the release of this 'service pack', Microsoft claims more than 2,000 applications are now 'certified for' or 'work with' windows vista [lowercase mine]".
1) Shouldn't all those 2000 have worked when vista was released THE FIRST TIME?
2) So, how many more STILL don't work, Microjerks?

Guess this gives them something to do with all those 'vista capable' stickers they had printed, huh?

Posted by: tfosorcim | March 18, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

tfosorcim: Name a significant O/S *without* service packs and point updates...

Posted by: stan | March 19, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Palm OS? I dont remember SPs for this OS. Nt sure if it is significant enough for you

Posted by: ME | March 19, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

A 'reliable contact' at MS told me last week that anti-piracy policies had been relaxed for this SP1 release also.

QUESTION

Why would anyone want to pirate Vista -- with all the peripherals it will no longer run ???

Is part of SP1 working drivers for all the equipment that XP use to run ???

I just installed Ubuntu, only to discover that my LEXMARK X5270 -- a great printer, scanner [so-so] and fax/copier [don't know] will not work because Lexmark apparently does not have linux drivers that work and no one else has created any either.

ANY OBSERVATIONS ABOUT EITHER COMMENT? PLease e-mail me same. Thanks.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | March 19, 2008 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey, so much for your complaints about msft, Xubuntu doesnt even install on my system.

Posted by: Mahomed | March 19, 2008 6:10 AM | Report abuse

@Ghak
Read this http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2008/03/17.html for more on why FF has trouble with that page.

Posted by: wiredog | March 19, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"you should ask a manufacturer directly about its plans for SP1."

I asked HP when Vista SP1 Preinstalled was going to be available, and their response was:

"I understand you have a question regarding when the Vista service pack will be available here at the HP Home & Home Office Store. Regretfully, we do not become aware of product or component release dates until shortly before they are available to our customers, and as such, cannot provide an exact date. I recommend checking back regularly for product arrival, or for future reference, our newsletter would provide this information in a timely manner before its release."

Posted by: JohnJ | March 19, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I downloaded the stand-alone SP 1 package, and the installation was painless. It took 45 minutes and 3 reboots. I have not notice a glitch either last night or this morning, and all the drivers seem OK. I also burned the SP 1 package to CD so I don't have to endure that 435 MB download again.

Posted by: Paul in Golden | March 19, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Instead of giving Vista SP1 upgrade, Microsoft should provide some upgrade from Vista to XP.

Posted by: larry | March 19, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Update: HP Now Selling SP1 Preinstalled.

I just checked HP's web site, and they are now selling "Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1" computers.

Posted by: JohnJ | March 19, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Its about time something came out of vista. I have had comaptibility issues with my games and other software like PSD.

Posted by: Alpha Mangi | March 20, 2008 6:59 AM | Report abuse

SP1 install went fine for me. Having a FIOS connection definitely makes the process quicker. I'm no big fan of MS in general but I must say my Vista experience has been ok so far

Posted by: 20782 | March 20, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm an IT guy know plenty about Windows and I am clueless now.

Applied the Vista Service Pack to my laptop and it never came back up during one of the reboots during the install. Laptop's dead.

Posted by: Vista service pack crashed my laptop | March 20, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Installing it was no problem. Has been running fine for about 9 hours since I finished. The only thing is that it added/changed 3 or 4 random exe files that zone alarm said were trying to access the internet after the install was done.

Posted by: ugh | March 21, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

I used the standalone download. My laptop installed SP1 in 32 minutes. It was quick, painless and now running for a couple of days reliably.

Posted by: Phoenix | March 21, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm planning on waiting a month or so before upgrading to SP1; I want to let enough other guinea pigs shake out the bugs before I upgrade.

Posted by: Michael | March 23, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Creative Labs users beware! Those that are using CL Sound Blaster cards will not see the service pack 1 update.
While creative labs makes some of, if not the best sound cards available, their driver support is an absolute joke. The last driver release for most of their sound cards is a year old, and only offers basic usability in vista.
There is a work around for this though but it is not supported by CL, but if you're up for a little adventure go to CL vista forums and check out Daniel_K's posts for his drivers and addons. Again they are not supported by CL so read the instructions carefully.
So before you flame Microsoft for driver support, make sure you contact Creative Labs and let them know that their support for Vista is a slap in the face for those that spent good money on their products. Personally I will not be buying another CL product for this reason alone. I think the forums (and treatment of Daniel_K by creative) will give you a better indication why as well. Good Luck!

Posted by: Crawfish | March 23, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

When I migrated to Vista for Media Center functionality, I found my old Sound Blaster Live wouldn't send audio out the optical interface any longer. Reading on Creative's site demonstrated that they would not be creating new drivers for that card for Vista.

Plan B was buying a new motherboard with on-board audio that was Dolby Digital certified (Intel)... with the improvements of on-board audio over the last few years, why would I go back to spending more money on an audio card than I paid for my motherboard?

Posted by: Scott | March 29, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

oh... and a comment on SP1

I didn't have very good luck with Vista Ultimate 64 and SP1... but it's stable under Vista Ultimate 32... of course, now I need to re-activate my install... which is an adventure of pain in it's own right. (Primarily because of having to speak with someone for whom english isn't their first language).

Posted by: Scott | March 29, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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