The "Search" link has been removed from the Start Menu in SP1  (Source: Microsoft)

Users now have the option to select a drive with Disk Defragmenter  (Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft moves ahead with Vista Service Pack 1

DailyTech reported in late August that Microsoft was on the verge of releasing a new beta of Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) to testers. The update, as described by Microsoft's Nick White, is designed to enhance features already incorporated within Vista rather than add new ones.

Testers that were selected to test SP1 should now have access to the updates via Microsoft's Connect website. Currently, the release is available in a 5-Language Standalone Package as well as an All-Language Standalone Package (contains 36 languages).

The 5-Language version is available in an x86 version (687MB) and x64 version (1,117MB) as is the All-Language version (1,308MB and 1,778MB respectively).

Beta testers will also have access to the SP1 beta through Windows Update. "When SP1 shows up in Windows Update, it does so as an "important update" and gives a size range from 51MB - 679.6MB," said Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc. "For me, the download of the service pack through Windows Update occurred relatively fast so I assume the size of SP1 is more on the lower end rather than the high."

The Windows Update feature is not currently available to testers, but Microsoft says that access will be provided within the next 48 hours.

LeBlanc also mentions that there are noticeable improvements to the performance of Vista with the SP1 update. "Improvements were also noticeable in resuming from Hibernation or Sleep on both my desktop PC and laptop running SP1," reported LeBlanc. "I discovered copying files from one directory to another is a bit faster. And on my laptop - battery life seems to be improved since running SP1. I have also noticed that transferring files to my shares on my Windows Home Server are a bit faster than they were previously without SP1. Overall performance in accessing my mapped network shares is improved as well."

Microsoft notes that beta participants must have a valid license key to install the SP1 update. Customers may also proceed with a 30-day PID-less install and are given the opportunity to re-arm the system up to three times (Microsoft provides instructions on how to re-arm the SP1 installation).

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