Where is it? Everyone’s waiting, let’s hurry along.
Service packs are currently being used by Microsoft as a way of delivering updates to reliability and performance, but Vista marks Microsoft’s effort to reduce the focus on Service Packs. Users are reminded that the current Update Online Service is available and working as a way to immediately deliver improvements and fixes.
It appears to me that Microsoft is trying hard to address the most glaring complaints from customers in a timely manner. Although likely due to the lack of enthusiasm being shown this new operating system, even their
on SP1 Beta is delivered with a clarity and directness I haven’t seen before. To put it plainly there seems to be less Bull and more Beef in their pre-delivery information. While I see this as a positive, I’m sure detractors will spin it as a well-oiled sales pitch.
aside; the fact is Microsoft has nothing to gain from potential customers waiting for the next service pack before making the switch to Vista. The chorus of “I’m waiting on SP??” is not something they want to hear over the next few years. They want sales not excuses and it appears that Service Packs have become almost the perfect excuse, to not upgrade yet. Microsoft does not want to cultivate waiting. In fact, I’m predicting you’ll see Service Packs, weeded, trimmed and downplayed over the next year.
So what are we likely to get in this first Vista Sales Push/ Service Pack? I’ve included a condensed list below. Some of the items listed will have several areas and multiple fixes involved. This is only a brief listing of areas that the Service Pack should address. I expect reception to this service pack to be on the whole, positive. If what they say is going to be addressed is addressed, then it should improve usability and as a result popularity.
1. All previously released updates and the ability to uninstall all previously installed updates in an easy manner and in no particular order.
2. Major changes to the Kill Switch (reduced functionality mode), now more of a reminder and less of a lockdown.
3. Online crash analysis and Customer Experience Improvement Service: Opt in service to improve Vista issues. Features customer feedback to MS and delivery of information to hardware and software vendors. It doesn’t take much imagination to see where this is going. Speedier delivery of individual fixes.
4. Enhanced protection for drive encryption, BitLocker Drive Encryption (BDE).
5. Improved security for Remote Desktop and Remote App. programs.
6. Overall improved compatibility for security software vendors and specifically for x64 platforms, Improved network boot performance and improvements specifically to make it easier for protection software developers to make patches for x64 versions of Vista. This without disabling or weakening protection offered by the kernel patch protection.
7. Improved reliability and compatibility for “newer graphics cards in several specific scenarios and configurations.” Nvidia comes to mind along with SLI configurations.
8. Printer drivers and Windows Terminal Service Session issues.
9. Working Sleep and resume functions
10. Improved networking and better networking diagnostic tools.
11. External displays for laptops
12. Faster copying and extracting of files
13. Reduction of delays when operating domain-joined PCs
14. Improvements to IE7 and Java
15. Reduction in CPU utilization to improve portable battery life also (SD) (DMA)
16. More control of the defragmentation process
17. The addition of an Elliptical Curve Cryptography (ECC) and pseudo-random number generator (PRNG). This is a fix.
18. Added support for FAT file systems used with flash memory storage
19. Support for
(SD)(DMA) or Secure Digital Advanced Direct Memory Access. This should increase speed by improving memory use and decreasing CPU use
20. Support for
Direct 3D 10.1 by adding APIs, an interface for programming the application.
release candidate, from the Microsoft Update site, installs easily in as little as 40 minutes. The requirement of 7GB of free space should not be a problem in most cases. The lack of an antivirus or firewall is likely to help the speed of the installation. In my case Vista SP1 Beta does seem to have fixed whatever bug or gremlin was messing with my laptop’s sleep and/or resume function. I’d like to be more specific on this, but, to be honest, all I know is, my laptop was powering down, not resuming, and acting generally weird before the installation of SP1 RC, and is not doing that now.
This portable is a recent addition, so I don’t have a lot of experience with battery life. Prior to this update I was not able to go even an hour of heavy use without the laptop shutting down during use. Now I’m at two hours and still going. I’m not sure what sort of battery life the rest of you get, but I decided that laptop was a more accurate description than portable. At this point I’m uncertain if the improvement was due to the reduction of CPU utilization and screen redraws or not.
In general the feel is much better than before the installation of Vista SP1 release candidate. Not the quantitative information some are
looking for, or the speed increases hoped
for, but results none-the less that might increase sales.