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Microsoft delivers release candidate version of Vista SP1 to consumers

Yesterday, Microsoft issued Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Office 2007 along with a Release Candidate version of Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows XP. Today, the boys from Redmond are turning their attention to Windows Vista.

Windows Vista users can now download a release candidate version of SP1 for the operating system. SP1 RC1 was released to a select group of testers last month, but this is the first time that the service pack has been opened up to the public.

SP1 includes numerous bugfixes and security updates introduced since the release of Vista on November 30, 2006. Also included are improvements to ReadyBoost, increased network performance, faster file copying and stepped-up anti-piracy measures.

Neowin also notes that improvements have been made to Vista's update engine including support for hotpatching:

  • Improves patch deployment by retrying failed updates in cases where multiple updates are pending and the failure of one update causes other updates to fail as well.
  • Enables reliable OS installation by optimizing OS installers so that they are run only when required during patch installation. Fewer installers operating results in fewer points of potential failure during installation, which leads to more robust and reliable installation.
  • Improves overall install time for updates by optimizing the query for installed OS updates.
  • Improves robustness during the patch installation by being resilient to transient errors such as sharing violations or access violations.
  • Improves robustness of transient failures during the disk cleanup of old OS files after install.
  • Improves the uninstallation experience for OS updates by improving the uninstallation routines in custom OS installation code.
  • Improves reliability of OS updates by making them more resilient to unexpected interruptions, such as power failure     

Service Pack 1 RC1 can be downloaded directly from Microsoft's website via a standalone package. Users can also choose to download a small 348KB applet which will use Windows Update do only download SP1 updates specific to your system.

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By The0ne on 12/12/2007 3:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone gave this a try yet? I currently run XP 64 and might try it this weekend. Wondering if there are any traps/holes/etc to be concern about :)

RE: Weary
By atwood7fan on 12/12/2007 3:28:25 PM , Rating: 2
If you can deal with the numerous problems in xp64, I'm sure you can look past a couple inherent bugs in the vista sp1 rc

RE: Weary
By soydios on 12/12/2007 3:38:49 PM , Rating: 1
heck, Vista x64 is a cakewalk compared to XP x64

RE: Weary
By ChronoReverse on 12/12/2007 3:50:55 PM , Rating: 4
Vista64 is actually usable. I don't want to touch XP64 with a 10 foot pole while I run Vista64 on my main rig and my tablet.

RE: Weary
By NullSubroutine on 12/13/2007 1:42:15 AM , Rating: 2
I have been using XP-64 for a year and find it better than any operating system Ive ever used. Almost every manufacture produces XP/XP64 driver in one package.

From what I have benchmarked Ive gotten more FPS from XP64 than from XP and when there is a 64bit executable it really takes advantage of the extra ram (like Hellgate: London and other games).

One thing I will admit is I tried XP-64 when it first came out and had tons of problems with it, however now it seems to be the most stable and fastest OS MS has produced.

My question is, is SP3 available for XP64?

RE: Weary
By S3anister on 12/13/2007 3:15:48 AM , Rating: 2
I love windowsXP x64 edition, in my opinion it's the best Microsoft OS since Win2000.

RE: Weary
By Sunday Ironfoot on 12/13/2007 1:03:21 PM , Rating: 2
Almost every manufacture produces XP/XP64 driver in one package.

Apart from most Wireless Network card manufacturers.

I personally had a terrible time with XP64, one of the main things that putting me off using Vista64 (currently using Vista32). Software incompatibilities, drivers missing for certain hardware (including the above), certain cool software only being available in 32bit version initially (such as Windows Media Player 11), some software detected my OS as Windows Server 2003 and simply refused to installed.

RE: Weary
By TomZ on 12/13/2007 1:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
Why are you concerned about applications being 32-bit? A 64-bit OS can run most 32-bit apps without any problems, or were you running into some that did not?

RE: Weary
By Quiescent on 12/13/2007 9:56:24 PM , Rating: 2
That's because it is based off of Windows Server 2003. They called it XP 64bit because XP was around at the time. It's entirely different from XP though. That's why people have absolutely no problems with it now that 64bit is a common bit for processors now and everybody is willing to support it. Of course this was probably the same issue when it switched from 16bit processors to 32bit processors. So don't be disappointed.

On a personal opinion, I'm sticking to WMP 10. I don't like 11. What kind of hardware problems have you had with XP 64bit? I know that with Soundblaster Live 5.1 Soundcards don't have drivers for XP or XP 64bit, so that might be issue there.

RE: Weary
By Quiescent on 12/13/2007 9:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
If you're going to use any Service Pack, you'll want to slip it in with the installation of XP 64bit. Else like every other Windows OS, you're going to have slow-down issues. Adding a Service Pack is like adding Win2k to a Win98 installation. You know how slow it is to add an upgrade from one old Windows OS to a newer one... It's slow. Same with Service Packs.

RE: Weary
By mikefarinha on 12/12/2007 5:15:24 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know what you guys are talking about. I used XP 64 for a year and a half before I upgraded to Vista 64. I haven't had a problem with either.

RE: Weary
By Runiteshark on 12/12/2007 5:38:06 PM , Rating: 2
I know I totally agree. I have no idea what problems these guys had. I had zero issues, other then at the beginning when Alcohol 120% nor daemon tools was out for it.

RE: Weary
By Holytrinity on 12/13/2007 12:34:49 AM , Rating: 4
You'll find that most (not all) people that damn XP x64 haven't actually used it. IMO, XP x64 is the fastest/most stable Microsoft OS there is.

But we (XP x64 users) already knew that.

RE: Weary
By Quiescent on 12/12/2007 5:40:53 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I haven't reformatted since like... Sat Jun 10 08:04:12 2006

XP 64bit is a cakewalk in comparison to Vista. I was going to wait for SP1 for Vista, but now I think I'll change my mind.

RE: Weary
By The0ne on 12/12/2007 5:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
I've had 0 issues with XP64 and no slowdown for the only game I play, FFXI. I can run 4 instances of FFXI and more without slowdown. I can't run two instance of FFXI on XP ultimate without slowdown and even unplayable in some areas. I've had no network issues, no file issues, nada. So I'm curious what issues you guys are running into? I do however notice longer times during my video ripping/codec process. But it's minimal enough that I can live with it.

Vista has been horrible for my experience and I'm a mid-level user.

RE: Weary
By Quiescent on 12/12/2007 6:02:29 PM , Rating: 2
I only had an issue with running Terragen 0.9.19. No-name-brands of non-plug-n-play hardware (That should be) such as webcams and Lexmark generally being retarded and having 0 driver support for XP 64bit.

RE: Weary
By Quiescent on 12/12/2007 9:15:30 PM , Rating: 2
I must correct myself, apparently Lexmark finally has support for it.

RE: Weary
By johnsonx on 12/12/2007 5:59:02 PM , Rating: 2
Considering running a release candidate service pack makes you tired? Odd, usually that sort of thing makes me cautious.

RE: Weary
By Gnoad on 12/12/2007 7:43:45 PM , Rating: 2
I think your subject line was meaning to say "Wary"? Surely you haven't lost all your patience or are very tired out with SP1? :)

RE: Weary
By onwisconsin on 12/12/2007 9:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't get XP x64, but I've had no issues with Vista x64 and have loved it so far. (Well, outside of weak driver support by some companies (eg my SanDisk mp3 and Cruzer won't work on my x64 machine but will work on my x86 laptop). But that's only 2 devices that I don't connect to my computer regularly.)

Did it the WU way
By Spyvie on 12/12/2007 6:31:49 PM , Rating: 2
Took me 4 reboots and and a 45 min wait for SP1 to show up in Windows Update, but I now have 32bit Vista Ultimate SP1 up and running.

I switched from 64 bit to 32 bit recently in an experiment to get better performance from Nvidia's drivers, as a result, Vista 32 was only seeing 3.2GB of the 4GB on my 965P board. After installing SP1, Vista is showing all 4GB when I right click on computer properties.

File copying is way faster too.

RE: Did it the WU way
By anotherdude on 12/12/2007 6:54:55 PM , Rating: 2
Let me see if I got this right; After installing the the RC SP1 to Vista 32 you are now seeing 4 gig of RAM in your computer properties from within Vista?

This is big news if it is true! This is hard to accept since there has been no mention of this SP getting round the addressing limit of a 32 bit OS. Not that I have seen anyway. If you have a 32 bit OS it is correct to only see about 3.2 gig in system properties. The OS can only address 4 gig total and since it must reserve some addresses for addressing video ram and other devices with ram this means it cannot address all 4 gig of ram installed in the MOBO slots. You usually end up with about 3 gig usable.

64 bit versions of windows do not have this limit. Also some 32 bit server OS have workarounds for it. But I have yet to hear anything about this for current consumer level windows OS.

Anybody else get this effect?

RE: Did it the WU way
By dblagent on 12/12/2007 7:13:50 PM , Rating: 5
Yep, this is listed in the fix list for SP1. All it does is actually report 4GB correctly, it still has the 3.25gb actual usable 32 bit limit though. So you can see it all, but Windows cannot use it all, but you feel better.

See, you were so excited, you feel better already don't you? : )

RE: Did it the WU way
By anotherdude on 12/12/2007 8:29:58 PM , Rating: 2
Ah ha. This is interesting. Should cut way down on those "dude where's my RAM" complaints. Perhaps at the expense of misleading some to think they are actually using their full 4 gig, which is what I thought the OP was driving at.

RE: Did it the WU way
By StevoLincolnite on 12/13/2007 3:50:52 AM , Rating: 2
In any 32-bit operating system, the virtual address space is limited, by definition, to the size of a 32-bit value, for instance: 32 = 4,294,967,296
4,294,967,296 / (1,024 x 1,024) = 4,096
So 32bit operating systems -can- use all of the 4,096 megabytes, of system memory.

Fromm Raymond Chen
In the absence of the /PAE switch, the Windows memory manager is limited to a 4 GB physical address space. Most of that address space is filled with RAM, but not all of it. Memory-mapped devices (such as your video card) will use some of that physical address space, as will the BIOS ROMs. After all the non-memory devices have had their say, there will be less than 4GB of address space available for RAM below the 4GB physical address boundary.

So thats why some users get 3.5gb some get 3.3gb and others get 3.1gb of addressed memory.

Then you have the 36-bit PAE Intel extensions...
And other ways of getting around the Memory barrier, but they are more or less a pain.
Also the chipset can fundamentally hamper the amount of address space seen as well, which could also help to explain why some people may only be able to see a max of 3.3gb while others with a different chipset can see 3.5gb.

On the older AGP systems even changing you're AGP Aperture size from 64mb to 256mb could allow windows to go from 3.1gb of reported memory to 3.7gb's of reported memory - again this is more of a chipset thing.

RE: Did it the WU way
By BikeDude on 12/13/2007 7:13:02 PM , Rating: 1
Then you have the 36-bit PAE Intel extensions..., you already have that. :->

Windows has supported the /PAE boot switch since at least Win2000.

XPSP2 (and Windows 2003) added support for DEP. DEP support requires PAE (because they allow further tagging of memory pages when PAE is enabled). However... Many drivers do not support PAE. E.g. nVidia ForceWare 79.11 was the last version to support PAE. After that release, they stopped testing PAE configurations. nVidia's driver will not work properly (e.g. D3D will barf) when faced with memory addresses above 4GB (2^32).

As a result, 32-bit XPSP2 does not expose drivers to memory addresses beyond 2^32. Same goes for 32-bit Vista. 32-bit Windows 2003 OTOH still offers proper PAE support. The rationale is that server class drivers are more focused on QA. Where nVidia and Creative fsck around, the guys writing drivers for storage devices and 10Gbps ethernet cards know what they're doing.

RE: Did it the WU way
By StevoLincolnite on 12/14/2007 12:25:36 AM , Rating: 2
I said "Then" and "Not that there isn't 36bit PAE Extensions."

RE: Did it the WU way
By shuffle2 on 12/12/2007 7:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
I'm thinking that microsoft decided to report that you have 4GB installed, to cut down on the amount of people that say "OMGZ i have 4GB installed but i cant use all of it!11!1!!"

RE: Did it the WU way
By Locutus465 on 12/12/2007 11:28:19 PM , Rating: 2
Just installed it on Vista 64b Ultimate... Took forever! So far I'm not noticing any huge differences, but I went against all common sense and installed it on my work machine, so I'll see tomorrow if it helps out any. Yes kids, don't try that at home it really isn't a great idea to install anything considered beta on your primary work machine...

But my system was struggling so bad that I'm about ready to try anyting.

Upgrade to Final Version
By thestereotype on 12/12/2007 3:34:53 PM , Rating: 2
How seemless is the migration from SP1 RC1 to the final SP1?

RE: Upgrade to Final Version
By pauldovi on 12/12/2007 3:46:02 PM , Rating: 3
You have to uninstall the RC before you can install the final build.

RE: Upgrade to Final Version
By Christopher1 on 12/13/07, Rating: -1
RE: Upgrade to Final Version
By Locutus465 on 12/13/2007 9:25:21 AM , Rating: 2
Because of potential side effects and conflicts between the versions.... could be that an earlier prerelease version modified some registry keys, and for the final version they discover that the modifications they made will conflict with some other modifcations they made to fix a more important issue.

The release version isn't going to be programmed to look for and correct all these different kinds of potential issues, it would make the installer too complex. So they have you un-install it, put the system in a pre-update state and you're good to go.

RE: Upgrade to Final Version
By pauldovi on 12/13/2007 1:35:27 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly? Are you having a temper tantrum over this?

Install a beta software and become so update that you change Operating Systems (which involves an uninstall / reinstall).

Beta testers are typically not worried about a simple uninstall.

RE: Upgrade to Final Version
By TomZ on 12/13/2007 4:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
I just installed the RC1 build on my laptop (it's running faster!) and I don't understand why in this day and age you would have to uninstall a beta version before installing the real thing.

The reason is that Microsoft doesn't want to expend lots of resources designing and testing a beta->RC upgrade process (plus beta->beta, beta->RTM, RC->RTM, etc.). Those resources are better spent on the functionality itself.

Uninstalling a beta really is just a few clicks plus a wait. Not exactly a large inconvenience, if you ask me.

By shuffle2 on 12/12/2007 4:21:45 PM , Rating: 3
woohoo! i'm psyched for hotpatching!
anyone know the ETA?

RE: hotpatching!
By 16nm on 12/12/2007 4:31:13 PM , Rating: 2
I've been reading January '08.

I like SP1
By Rampage on 12/12/2007 11:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
Good experience here. Installed quickly (though I do run a RAID-0 array), and seems to be going well. We'll see if it fixes the issues I was having.

For those who stay in the dark on new fangled things forever till its like SP23 (or just hate MS for no real reason and refuse to buy it), the truth on Vista is that it's not ready for business, nor would I recommend it to friends (but if buying a new PC might as well get it), but it is ok for enthusiasts.
I also see no tangible benefits from Vista from any perspective other than it's good as someone in the IT field to familairize yourself with it long before the lemmings adopt it.

I've had troubles, but if you can't figure out the driver issues ect then you aren't a credible 'enthusiast' in my mind anyway. You can get it to work if you're willing to test out different versions of drivers from XP, Vista, ect.

I've found drivers that work for every obscure device I have. Strangley enough, my Nforce requires XP drivers or I get a ton of issues.

Just a heads up.

RE: I like SP1
By Ripvanwinkle on 12/13/2007 3:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
Will that fix the smart problem with nForce. I get no HD temp readings fron my A8n-Vm-CSM in Vista. My other Vista 64 problems are only suited for the whiners party. I like for things to go wrong just for the fun it gives me. An Image of Vista takes about 8 min's. I spend more time pissing for real, than that!

By Stuka85 on 12/12/2007 7:11:00 PM , Rating: 2
any one have one link working for the standalone package for vista X64?

By SiliconAddict on 12/12/2007 8:48:42 PM , Rating: 2
I think I'll skip it for now. I like my unactivated copy of Vista. Its a legit copy I got free through the work together promo site they had up.
I just don't want to have it tied to one computer....yah no doubt I'm going to hell for that. But I'm willing to bet SP1 would break the looping 30 day crack that I have installed.

A bit more info
By Etern205 on 12/12/2007 10:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
According to the MS SP1 install docs if those who did not read it. It says...

-Users who have installed a previous SP1 must uninstall it first.

-After the install a word "evaluation copy" will appear on the desktop. This does not mean your windows is not genuine. It's meant that the SP1 RC is a time limited software and it expires on June 2008, forgot the exact date and users must uninstall it before then.

-If you wish to remove the SP1 head over to programs and remove features and click on installed updates to remove SP1 RC from your system.

-To remove the "evaluation copy" text from your desktop you have to restart twice.

Will not install.
By Tebor0 on 12/12/2007 11:00:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'm having issues with a few different windows update fixes not installing. From the Microsoft support site it appears that I am not alone.

Very discouraging. I've been very stubborn but it looks like these errors (with WinUpdate!? of all things) will be what pushes me back to XP.

The funny thing about this is that I have a very similar machine right next to this one that installed everything fine.

By Chaser on 12/12/2007 4:56:56 PM , Rating: 1
The primary purpose of Vista SP1 is to finalize and optimize the Vista for the upcoming release of Server 2008 expected in Feb 2008.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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