Print 56 comment(s) - last by ChronoReverse.. on Feb 13 at 10:37 AM

Microsoft spreads Service Pack love to testers

Microsoft announced last week that it completed work on Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and released it to manufacturing. Unfortunately for consumers, Microsoft also announced that that the update wouldn't be available to consumers until around March.

However, current beta testers for SP1 will be glad to know that they can download the service pack right now. Microsoft makes SP1 available for download in a number of ways.

Testers can download a single .exe file with the SP1 update in x86 (Windows6.0-KB936330-X86-wave0.exe) or x64 (Windows6.0-KB936330-X64-wave0.exe) flavors. The next option is to download a registry file which gives testers access to SP1 via Windows Update. The third and final way that testers can install SP1 -- x86 and x64 versions -- is via a standalone ISO installer which allows the service pack to easily be installed on multiple machines via a CD.

Microsoft lists the build version for SP1 as 6001.18000.080118-1840.

In other Windows news, the still popular Windows XP operating system is getting another update courtesy of Microsoft's Connect website. The Redmond, Washington-based company uploaded Windows XP SP3 Release Candidate 2 (RC2) for beta testers to try out.

The Windows XP SP3 RC2 update is available in five languages and weighs in at about 315MB for the English version.

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good news
By Gul Westfale on 2/11/2008 11:26:32 AM , Rating: 2
an update is always good news... and RC3 for XP means that i can probably hold out on buying vista for a little while longer. too bad they have no plans to release DX10 for XP.

RE: good news
By ajfink on 2/11/08, Rating: -1
RE: good news
By Gul Westfale on 2/11/08, Rating: -1
RE: good news
By Spivonious on 2/11/2008 11:47:21 AM , Rating: 5
I once thought as you do. Then I actually used Vista for a few weeks as my main operating system. Using XP at my office is torture. It's slow and clunky-looking and I have to use the mouse to find a program and open it.

Give Vista a chance. $135 is not a lot of money for something you'll use everday for at least 3 years.

RE: good news
By dagamer34 on 2/11/2008 12:05:50 PM , Rating: 3
If you just called XP slow and clunky, I question your sanity.

RE: good news
By Brandon Hill on 2/11/2008 12:06:54 PM , Rating: 5
Agreed. I've haven't found much that Vista does faster than XP IMHO.

RE: good news
By ChronoReverse on 2/11/2008 1:06:23 PM , Rating: 5
It's a little odd. There's little that Vista can do that's benchmarkable. That is to say, if you're testing with standard benchmarking procedures (i.e., run one program and see how long it takes), Vista will almost always be slower to some degree.

Interestingly enough, I do a lot of work involving VM's and large datasets that require a great deal of hard drive activity. Somehow, my XP machine with a faster dual core and a faster desktop hard drive can't handle the same disk loads as my slower Vista64 laptop (also dual-core but slower and a laptop hard drive) that has less RAM.

If I were merging disks or loading a snapshot, I would've basically lost the use of my XP machine (e.g., if I tried to open Firefox so I could browse DT while waiting for the task to finish it wouldn't load in forever) while the Vista machine was sluggish but still usable.

I have had a similar experience with my desktop machine as well although that isn't a fair test case since it's fairly monstrous (3GHz Quad cores, 8GB of RAM, RAID 0 for the system drive).

RE: good news
By omnicronx on 2/11/2008 1:16:57 PM , Rating: 5
I have found Vista loves ram . If you have 2Gigs+, your Vista experience will probably be better than your XP experience.
The new prefetch is also a lot better in vista, programs I use all the time like firefox and foobar2000 open instantly.

RE: good news
By mindless1 on 2/11/2008 9:48:32 PM , Rating: 1
Umm, just tried it on a 2K and XP system here, both of those programs open instantly once you've ran them one time, and barely take much longer the first time. If you're saying prefetch means you dont' wait the first time, might I remind you that you do have to wait until after it's been prefetched?

It's generally wrong to think all Vista needs is ram because if you have that much on XP, it too can catch everything and run faster than Vista does. Ram is not the factor except in the opposite view that indeed, both OS do need at a bare minimum to have enough that not only are things not swapped out but that sufficient memory remains for a persistant filecache.

RE: good news
By ChronoReverse on 2/12/2008 7:30:12 PM , Rating: 2
First off, SuperFetch also loads stuff into memory before you even run the program if you've ran the program before (and thus flagged as a program that the user... uses). So that alone is ahead of XP.

Second, surely you've encountered the case where you've had your computer on overnight and when you start using it the next morning, it's all sluggish as XP has paged most of the memory out (yielding LOTS of free memory) and now it's grinding the hard drive. Won't happen in Vista since now it knows that free RAM is wasted RAM.

RE: good news
By mindless1 on 2/12/2008 9:03:34 PM , Rating: 2
First off, it isn't necessarily desirable to have your system spending time filling the memory with things you "might" run, and that memory often being flushed when applications request memory.

Second, no when I start using it again after a period of inactivity it has not paged everything out trying to make free memory. I suspect you might have had a buggy program running with a memory leak.

That old saying that free ram is wasted ram is a cop-out. When your operating system fills up memory with things you might do, it reduces the memory you would have to cache the things you actually DO, do. I don't just mean application use of memory since it can be flushed, I mean the filecaching of what you actually use in those sessions too.

Your ideas are confounded by reality, that people do notice Vista runs slower with 2GB, 4GB of memory, except for one moment - the first time you run an app on XP. The funny thing is, when you have so much more memory to allocate to apps on XP than on Vista, you can keep applications running instead of having to shut them down to conserve memory so there is no filecaching factor remaining anymore as the app isn't being restarted.

For example, I don't reload my email, office, brower dozens of times a day, they are always running because there's no relative reason not to do so unless there were a memory leak as you seem to have had in the scenario you described.

RE: good news
By ChronoReverse on 2/13/2008 10:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
You do want your memory always filled. It's called caching and the idea has been around forever. Dropping memory cache for use if something's not in the cache has no penalty. Basically it turns into the same situation as XP where you don't have as agressive caching. This is already done in most other modern OS's so it's not like it's a MS innovation. It does make it a good thing.

I'll repeat that. There isn't a penalty for dropping the cache memory. The worse case scenario is the same as the normal XP case.

So it's not a cop-out but rather proper thinking. You've been brainwashed by either the "memory compression/cleaner" companies of old or the hearsay that followed for years afterwards.

As for the paging effect, it's been around for ages and quite well documented. As long as you're actually using multiple programs that use a significant (i.e., more than a couple megabytes), this behavior can occur.

As for running slowly. Vista clearly has a large 512MB overhead over XP. This is the true reality and must always be considered. If you're running something that requires almost all of the 2GB, then OBVIOUSLY Vista is going to have trouble.

However, once you mitigate this part of the equation, Vista's performance is only marginally slower. If you look at more "recent" (dating from September of last year anyways) XP versus Vista gaming benchmarks, the performance is already within 10% in most cases (there are a couple of games that have really poor performance in Vista while a few oddly have slightly better performance).

You'll notice that my reasoning is quite balanced. Unlike people going "Vista is slow slow slow. It can't hold a candle to XP at all" or people going "Vista is the next sliced bread, XP is a primitive beast beside it", I'm only pointing out some of my own anecdotes plus what is theoretical.

Perhaps you should do some research on how memory caching is supposed to work before you completely dismiss agressive caching.

RE: good news
By Calin on 2/12/2008 3:37:11 AM , Rating: 2
Your dual core laptop uses XP Professional or Home Edition? Home Edition is one processor only

RE: good news
By 306maxi on 2/12/2008 6:06:13 AM , Rating: 2
Did they say they had 2 CPU's in it?

RE: good news
By ChronoReverse on 2/12/2008 7:30:50 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure you even read the post properly. Both machines are Vista machines running on dual-cores.

RE: good news
By Mitch101 on 2/11/2008 1:17:37 PM , Rating: 2
You should try installing 98 on a 4ghz wolfdale with raptor hard drive. You cant sneeze faster than it boots (NIC disabled).

Its pretty funny for your friends to check out your new PC and you boot to 98SE on it. They are a bit freaked at how incredibly fast it boots though. So if you think Vista boots fast try 98SE and wonder why todays machines are so incredibly slow at booting. Be sure to have a PS2 keyboard and Mouse to install 98SE.

RE: good news
By omnicronx on 2/11/2008 1:26:23 PM , Rating: 2
Network drives, Hard drives, raid configurations, NIC cards, all of the other chips added to computers since 98 (sata etc) all add to the loading time of your computer. In fact really depending on how fast your machine is, a raid configuration can add 30 seconds to your boot.

But you are right, 98 does load damn quick.

RE: good news
By TomZ on 2/11/2008 1:32:53 PM , Rating: 2
Any version of MS-DOS boots faster than any version of Windows, so what's the point?

My old Commodore 64 "booted" as quickly as I could turn it on? Should I pitch my Vista machine and start using my C64 again?

Anyway, booting is stupid anyway - why trash out your computer's state all the time? Putting the computer to sleep or hybernate makes much more sense. You get a quick "recovery" time and your machine is in the same working state as when you left it - same apps, browser, etc. as when you shut it down.

When I open my laptop, I get a login prompt as quickly as I can open the lid, and when I shut the lid, it goes to sleep. What could be more convenient than that?

RE: good news
By Mitch101 on 2/11/2008 3:05:48 PM , Rating: 1
I run XP and Vista on the machine. Running 98 was a joke to my friends who wanted to see if the Wolfdale E8400 was worth it. Just like when I fire up MAME on my computer. "You buy a $250.00 video card to play DigDug?"

But it does make you wonder why doing essentially the same things today that most of us did nearly 10 years ago on 98 contains so much overhead. Granted a lot of functionality has been added to a lot of applications but most aren't necessary for 99% of the users out there.

RE: good news
By TomZ on 2/11/08, Rating: 0
RE: good news
By Spivonious on 2/11/2008 4:31:19 PM , Rating: 2
Totally agree. I have Vista set to standby when I hit the power button on my desktop. It suspends to RAM (S3) and shuts down the machine. I click the mouse and the computer is back on a ready to use in under 2 seconds.

RE: good news
By Flunk on 2/11/2008 12:40:48 PM , Rating: 4
When XP came out that is what everyone was saying. If you really want performance why not move to Windows 2000?

*Pause for you to make the same arguments that someone using Vista would make to you.*

RE: good news
By Capsaicin on 2/11/2008 1:30:06 PM , Rating: 2
<-- still running Win2k on my home desktops. ;) I have XP on my home ("downgraded" from Vista) and work (necessary to support .NET 1.1 apps) laptops, though.

RE: good news
By TomZ on 2/11/08, Rating: 0
RE: good news
By psychobriggsy on 2/11/2008 12:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
There's plenty of XP theme hacks if you really need to make it look different.

Application finding has always been an issue with Windows. Glad to hear that Vista has fixed it to be at least as good as Mac OS.

As for XP feeling slow - do you have a networked HP printer?

RE: good news
By Radeon117X on 2/11/2008 2:11:53 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah. For some reason unknown to me, on my new machine I cant seem to run XP without stupid random errors. I installed all the right drivers off my motherboard CD and got newer versions from Asus's website, but shutting down and starting up, I get the most random errors. Vista however has been running like a dream on this PC:
Intel C2D E6600 with 4GB RAM and an 8800GTS.

With the RTM SP1 I downloaded, performance has certainly increased, especially with copying tons of files. Shutdown is much faster as well. I dont think I'll ever be able to use XP again...least not on this machine. It hates XP to death O_O.

RE: good news
By TomZ on 2/11/2008 12:00:24 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you constantly seek affirmation for your lame decision to stick with the last-gen OS? :o)

Really, if you think Linux is so great, why haven't you installed it already? And you much be joking if you think somehow that Linux is going to be better than Vista.

RE: good news
By Hellfire27 on 2/11/08, Rating: -1
RE: good news
By B3an on 2/11/2008 12:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, Linux is so great which is why it has an amazing <1% of the market.
And as we all know, every home user wants to cluster computers. It's like, top priority.
It's just too good, you know, i can really run all my games, software and hardware on Linux. I can just install new hardware and attach peripherals, and have them work flawlessly. Such great functionality.

RE: good news
By HeelyJoe on 2/11/2008 6:57:27 PM , Rating: 2
I understand that this was meant as sarcasm, but to be honest, you can do most of what you are saying on Linux. Wine will emulate a lot of the games from Windows (older games), and I have yet to see Ubuntu fail to run on any of my hardware (without any configuration).

This isn't a Linux pitch, and I am not a fanboy by any means, but I am sick of people throwing around these myths about Linux.

RE: good news
By walk2k on 2/11/2008 12:36:53 PM , Rating: 2
better at what? running 0.001% of the software written for linux?


RE: good news
By omnicronx on 2/11/2008 1:22:17 PM , Rating: 3
I agree linux as an OS could be better. But what has made linux so great, will also limit it a tiny marketshare forever. Open-source is great, but when you are required by the linux GPL to release at least a base copy of the program you made for free, is just not a good business plan. Nobody wants to develop software, when you are required to give it away for free, plain and simple.

I personally love unbuntu, I have it installed on 2 computers and my PS3, but its not going to replace my windows machine anytime soon.

RE: good news
By omnicronx on 2/11/2008 1:28:06 PM , Rating: 1
Now i wonder, did i get rated down by a Window fan that has no idea what they are talking about, or a linux guru that thinks what i just said is blasphemous.

RE: good news
By Lifted on 2/11/2008 5:53:00 PM , Rating: 2
It should be rated down because you are wrong. You don't have to release source code for your own projects. That just goes to show how little people know, you included, about open source.

RE: good news
By bpurkapi on 2/11/2008 12:15:16 PM , Rating: 2
Kubuntu with the new KDE looks about the same as Vista and technically if you are handy with bash commands linux is waaaayy more functional then windows. I still personally use XP since I am not too good with the bash commands, and like to play my games without using WINE. I've used Vista and it feels like a half-upgrade like others have said many features were dropped so why should I upgrade, what tangible, solid benefits do I receive?

RE: good news
By bunnyfubbles on 2/11/2008 1:38:39 PM , Rating: 3
I interface with my computer via binary input, and its far more functional than having a clunky operating system bog things down and misinterpret the tasks I wish my computer to perform.

RE: good news
By geddarkstorm on 2/11/2008 12:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
You could try Ubuntu. The new 7.10 makes it so you rarely have to use the console, and certainly not for any normal task (maybe for games, but I don't know how the new WINE is, so that might be reduced). Also, if you need any help, there are plenty of resources and places to learn commands. I haven't used Ubuntu myself for a long while, but if you really like linux, it seems the way to go.

RE: good news
By SolidSteel144 on 2/11/2008 12:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
PCLinux07 (KDE)
Ubuntu 7.10 (Gnome)
OpenSuse 10.3 (KDE)
Fedora 8 (Gnome)
Mint (Gnome) (Ubuntu Based)

I prefer PCLinux07

RE: good news
By omnicronx on 2/11/2008 1:23:13 PM , Rating: 3
I prefer anything but..

RE: good news
By Locutus465 on 2/11/2008 11:02:55 PM , Rating: 4
IMHO vista offers a lot over XP and personally I would never go back, even if XP supported DX 10 and the like. Enhanced security is a biggie, so much so that I'm very glad my parents run a vista computer as in the past we had problems with spyware. I managed to nip those in the bud by whole sale removing administrator privileges from everyone but my self, but i still like to have the extra security in place.

I love that it comes pre-packaged with anti-spyware so I could tell my parents to completely ignore the circute city sales people and not have custom spyware installed for over $100 extra cost. AVG + Windows defender is plenty in concert with no one but my user account having admin privs and the added built in security enhancements.

Built in windows search is going to be a boone for my dad and his business since it will allow him to easily find his documents and emails. I love this feature as well personally.

What I particularly love is, again, is the fact that the computer my parents recently purchased came preconfigured with all of this. No need to spend hundreds of dollars to have a "computer expert" come to their house and do it for them (as I live in raleigh NC and they live in detroit), or spend hundreds of dollars on top of their purchase to have the CCity people do it for them. I also love that the whole system updates it's self automatically so there's no need to worry about them remembering to update windows patches, AV or anti-spyware deffinitions and the like.

The pretty is also great.

Vista SP1
By davidlan on 2/11/2008 11:46:08 AM , Rating: 2
In case anyone wants it now:

and you can verify its md5 checksum with the one posted here:


RE: Vista SP1
By MDE on 2/11/2008 11:52:58 AM , Rating: 2
Would anyone happen to have an x64 link?

RE: Vista SP1
By Alphafox78 on 2/11/2008 12:23:09 PM , Rating: 2
This is the gold SP1, not a RC or anything, correct?

RE: Vista SP1
By TomZ on 2/11/2008 1:12:32 PM , Rating: 1
It "should be" - the expectation is that RTM bits will be exactly the same as what is finally released through the full manufacturing/distribution process.

RE: Vista SP1
By solgae1784 on 2/11/2008 3:36:24 PM , Rating: 2
I checked the md5 and the md5sum is the one from SP1 RC refresh. Don't waste time with it.

md5 was b2488ffdfccc8213255895c8f062e425.

RE: Vista SP1
By Shawn on 2/12/2008 1:48:11 AM , Rating: 2
They used the latest SP1 RC refresh as RTM.

If only
By hlper on 2/11/2008 1:29:31 PM , Rating: 1
My Vista experience has been decent. I just wish I could wake up my computer from Vista's computer-coma-inducing sleep mode. I haven't read anything that leads me to believe that this has been fixed, though it was an issue that was discussed early on in the development of SP1. Has anyone heard that this has been fixed?

RE: If only
By ChronoReverse on 2/11/2008 3:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
These kind of issues, just like the ones that plagued XP's suspend, are mostly hardware and driver related.

For instance, sleep mode works perfectly on my laptop and my previous (RIP) Gigabyte P35-DS3P motherboard, but with my replacement Asus P5K-E motherboard, resuming from sleep causes weird sound problems.

RE: If only
By Ihmemies on 2/11/2008 11:06:58 PM , Rating: 2
Sleep does not even work with Asus a8n-sli (nforce4), 7800gtx & amd 4400+.

Of course I don't have any idea how sleep is actually supposed to work. I've clicked the sleep button accidentally a few times in start menu, and it resulted with screen going black and hard drives shutting down.

All fans kept spinning, and the PC died. Nothing else than cutting the power or pressing reset would get it going again. Of course Windows and all the apps don't like the sudden shutdown, but there is no other way. I have no idea what's wrong, and I don't really care if the pc took 5 mins to boot up in the morning, so I haven't bothered to research into this.

It's just a pity the feature doesn't work with my hardware & software. It might even be handy if it did.

RE: If only
By Locutus465 on 2/11/2008 11:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
It works fine on my A8N-SLI Premium, which at it's core is the same board as the A8N-SLI (I own both). You have to disable the new power states, but with aid from the Asus ACPI monitor (should be installed automatically via windows update) the system should sleep and wake up just fine (and very quickly).

RE: If only
By hermitd on 2/12/2008 3:53:52 AM , Rating: 2
how did you get the sleep to work on a8n ? my kept crashing and i finally gave up. On my laptop sleep works like a charm. Having said that i made a resolve never to go for nvidia again as they have crappy driver support.

what's changed in XP SP3 from RC1 to RC2
By Megatomic on 2/11/2008 12:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
No mention as to what got changed from RC1 to RC2 in XP SP3. Anyone have any ideas? I just installed RC1 yesterday and it seems good to me so far.

By Bioniccrackmonk on 2/11/2008 1:30:37 PM , Rating: 2
I installed RC1 awhile ago and noticed a decent improvement in startup and running programs/games. There were a few MINOR, minor being the keyword, hick ups I experienced, but with the speed boost I noticed, it was great overall. I wonder what they did change with the RC2 release.

By Iger on 2/12/2008 3:11:02 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure, but RC1 at least did throw me a couple of BSOD's on a clean install :(

By HaZaRd2K6 on 2/11/2008 12:16:42 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad you can't slipstream SP1 into a current Vista disc. Grrr.

RE: Dammit.
By Makaveli on 2/11/2008 6:26:00 PM , Rating: 2
After dual booting vista and XP for about a 2 weeks now. I agree Vista is better than XP. However, XP > Vista for games currently. Other than games I play I find myself in Vista far more often.

The new media center alone was worth it, works seamlessly with my Tv wonder 650.

I will say tho, my experience is on a Dual core machine with 2GB of ram. If your specs are less than that YMMV.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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