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Will Microsoft's new service pack reinvigorate Vista sales on the eve of Windows 7?

Microsoft is preparing new service packs for Windows Vista and its server counterpart, Windows Server 2008.  The pair of service packs, according to sources, will likely land before the release of Windows 7 which is set to debut in late 2009 or early 2010.  Microsoft confirmed that the project was in the works, with a Vista spokesman saying, "Microsoft is working on a second Windows Vista service pack (Windows Vista SP2) and will share more details in the coming months."

Windows Vista already saw the release of its first service pack in May of this year.  The first release was marred by compatibility difficulties, which forced Microsoft to take it offline for a short time.  Amid slower than-hoped-for adoption growth, Microsoft launched a reinvigorated push to convince people to adopt Windows Vista, highlighted by its "I'm a PC" commercials.

Reports indicate that Microsoft is hard at work preparing the second generation service packs, to help further this new campaign.  It has reportedly delivered a beta of the Vista pack to select hardware and software partners.  This is similar to its current distribution method for early builds of Windows 7.  Microsoft also posted a placeholder article for Vista SP2 on its Knowledge Base site.

Details on the new packs are scarce, but sources with Microsoft say that the biggest deliverable for the Server version will be the integration of Hyper-V bits with it.  Sources also say the reason Microsoft is pushing to release the pack before Windows 7 is to limit confusion about whether to upgrade to Windows 7 or choose the newly more functional Vista.

The service pack for Windows Server 2008 will also reportedly be called SP2, despite it being the first service pack for the OS.  This because Windows Server 2008 was built on Vista with the SP1 service pack included.  Still, the first real service pack for the server OS will be an essential boost as many corporate partners are hesitant to buy an OS without service packs.

Microsoft is remaining tight-lipped about the server SP2 as well, except to acknowledge that its coming soon.  A Microsoft spokesperson stated, "[The] comment [on Vista] serves for Windows Server as well; Microsoft is not commenting further on the timing/release plans for the WS08 SP2 at this time, but will share more details in the coming months."

The Beta 1 releases for the two SP2s are expected within the next couple months.  This will put some pressure on Microsoft's developer team to quickly complete the service pack, as the Windows 7 Beta 1 is slated for mid-December release.

It is rumored that Microsoft may be including some aspects of Windows 7's functionality into Vista via the new service packs.

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RE: Limit confusion?
By aj28 on 10/17/2008 10:01:25 PM , Rating: 0
Because your "everyone" doesn't know what on earth they're doing. You could squeeze decent Vista performance out of a 1GB machine if you wanted to... Does it come configured that way out of the box? Of course not. It comes configured to look pretty. By disabling silly things like window open/close, minimize/maximize animations you can greatly increase general "snappiness" without affecting the visual appearance at all. Go so far as to out aero and you'll find Vista is actually quite capable of running on some very lean hardware...

Check your local Visual Effects tab and you'll see the type of performance this OS is really capable of.

RE: Limit confusion?
By Silver2k7 on 10/18/2008 3:56:08 AM , Rating: 2
does it even matter, just get 4 GB, ill get 8 GB for sure for the next upgrade..

RE: Limit confusion?
By mindless1 on 10/18/2008 12:57:02 PM , Rating: 4
That's like saying "what do you care if your new car has a hole in the gas tank, just buy twice as much gas as you'd otherwise need".

RE: Limit confusion?
By squirrelfriend on 10/23/2008 2:45:24 AM , Rating: 3
That's like saying "what do you care if your new car has a hole in the gas tank, just buy twice as much gas as you'd otherwise need".

except when a 4GB kit costs less than a tank of gas (let alone a 2GB kit). and will cover more bloat than the average user can throw at it. oh and you dont have to refill your RAM

and yes, as others have said, vista runs nice and snappy on 1GB as well.

RE: Limit confusion?
By noirsoft on 10/18/2008 12:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
I minorly disagree on 2 points

1) Visual effects are a property of your graphics card, and not related to RAM. Yes, if you have integrated graphics and low memory, your performance will be poor, and turning off effects may save enough GPU to make other parts feel snappier, but it is not relatd to RAM at all. It probably just feels faster because you don't see the animations any more. Computer Placebo Effet.

2) I just installed Vista home premium on an Acer AspireONE netbook with Intel 945 and 1 gig of RAM, and it runs Aero Glass and feels just as snappy as it did with its default XP Home installation. And the only "bloat" was a trial of office, MS Works, an video player, and Google desktop, so it's not a case of "fewer installed apps"

Yes, you can get decent performance out of Vista with 1 gig, but you don't have to do anything special to get it.

RE: Limit confusion?
By mindless1 on 10/19/2008 12:17:01 PM , Rating: 3
Nothing is a "property" of your graphics card that wasn't in main memory. The video subsystem is the least impacted because it has the most processing power and memory bandwidth % going untapped in typical 2D uses. Visual effects are definitely related to RAM quite a lot.

On the other hand, yes it feels faster because you don't see the animations any more but not because it is a Placebo, it's because of timing routines, additional amounts of time the system deliberately delays the actions so that you see them. For example if a menu fade happened as fast as the computer would display it, you wouldn't see it. If the menu fade progresses with a stall of a few ms per image then you start to see it happening. All these images and milliseconds add up.

RE: Limit confusion?
By mindless1 on 10/18/2008 12:55:12 PM , Rating: 4
You still don't get it, if you do the same things with XP for example, you again reap performance benefits and can run it on less memory.

An operating system's purpose is to be a means to run applications, it should not be the guideline for minimal system spec when talking about any budget computer made in the last 5+ years. The operating system should not be as bloated as possible up to the point it just barely seems less snappy, it should be the least overhead possible having only applicable code to the user's purposes running.

Did it occur to you that if all you cared about was OS snappiness, that you could slash the price of a computer nearly in half by not being a puppet to the upgrade cycle needed just to retain snappiness with the latest OS?

It's not about being capable of running on lean hardware, it's about senseless waste of resources. I don't know about you but I and many others do not buy faster computers just to retain the same snappiness, I want it substantially faster and more snappy than what it replaced if/when the OS is so much of a distraction that it constantly has to be dealt with instead of forgotten.

Bottom line - if you have thoughts about Vista at all that is a sign it is a problem. For example, you don't think about the firmware that runs your microwave much, do you? How about the code in your car's engine computer? An OS should be transparent allowing use of a device, not be the great burden of the device.

RE: Limit confusion?
By noirsoft on 10/20/2008 2:44:47 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, you are the one who doesn't seem to get it.

Under XP, you can save if certain animations are turned off because it's done on the CPU.

Under Vista (with Aero on) there is no difference. Whether you draw a window plain, stretched, rotated, transparent, or in some other way doesn't matter. The GPU does the drawing, not the CPU, and it is equally fast no matter what animation features are included. This is because it is better and faster for a GPU to draw as if all features were enabled than to check and use different code/hardware for drawing transparent pixels versus opaque ones.

That's why it is a placebo effect. You (personally) think it's snappier because you don't see the animation, but there is no difference whatsoever in the computer's ability to do work in either case.

The only real difference is the 1/4 of a second or so it takes the animation to complete. Since people don't start interacting with the window within that time-frame, there is again no difference in the usability or speed of the machine.

RE: Limit confusion?
By mindless1 on 10/20/2008 5:47:56 AM , Rating: 1
It does matter, Aero is more code that is processed by the CPU, more memory utilized, BEFORE the GPU renders it. How conveniently you overlook this but OOPS, we did already know Vista benchmarked slower and used more memory so how can't this be obvious?

There is no placebo effect, as I wrote in another post for an animation to be seen it has to have timing loops so the eye sees transistions from one state to another, a deliberate programeed slowdown even if the system were infinitely fast. Did you understand that? A computer 200 years from now, even that much faster, will have to slow down the animation so the user sees it happening to get the intended effect.

This is always the way it has been once computers got past 100 MHz or so.

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