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  (Source: Microsoft)

  (Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft spills the beans on Vista SP1

After months of leaks and speculation, Microsoft is finally ready to talk about Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1). Nick White, a product manager for Microsoft, posted today on the Windows Vista Team Blog that Vista SP1 will be released during the first quarter of 2008.

"We improve the Windows Vista experience by continuing to work closely with software partners to ensure application compatibility," said White. "We likewise align efforts with partners on the hardware side of the business to broaden the range of devices that work with Windows Vista and to constantly improve device driver quality."

"We didn’t design SP1 as a vehicle for releasing new features; however, some existing components do gain enhanced functionality in SP1," White added.

A new beta release of Vista SP1 is scheduled to be made available to a select group of testers during the first half of September. This is in addition to an even smaller pool of testers who have been testing a private beta of Vista SP1.

In keeping with its full disclosure on Vista SP1, Microsoft has posted a white paper on the SP1 beta. The white paper details the improvement that Microsoft has made in application compatibility and driver support as well as improvements to security and reliability.

The white paper also notes that there will be three ways of delivering Vista SP1:  Express, Stand-alone and Slipstream. The Express install will require a 50MB download from the Internet. System-specific updates will then be downloaded from Microsoft’s servers.

The Stand-alone package will be roughly 1GB in size for x86 systems. Customers, however, will be able to deploy SP1 to any Vista installation with the Stand-alone package and it will be compatible with the System Center Configuration Manager 2007 software.

Finally, Slipstream versions of Windows Vista with SP1 included will be made available to Volume Licensing Customers (and later in retail packaging). Microsoft does note, however, that "customers cannot apply SP1 to offline Windows Vista images." This could mean that customers will not able to make their own personal Slipstream copy of Windows Vista SP1 from an existing Windows Vista disc.

Installation of Windows Vista SP1 regardless of which method chosen will require a minimum of 7GB free disk space on x86 machines and 12GB free disk space on x64 machines. Microsoft does state that "most of this space will be reclaimed after installation."

As previously stated, Microsoft is targeting a Q1 2008 release time frame. That could change depending on a variety of factors according to Microsoft. "We’re first and foremost focused on delivering a high-quality release, so we'll determine the exact release date of SP1 after we have reached that quality bar," remarked White.

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Its huge!
By JasonMick on 8/29/2007 1:04:50 PM , Rating: 3
Windows XP Sevice Packs
Service Pack 1: 137 mb
Service Pack 2: 220 mb
Release Price: $250
Office XP

Windows Vista Service Packs:
Service Pack 1: 1 GB
Release Price: Home Basic $199 Home Premium $239 Ultimate $399

The basic problem of why the release is so huge is probably because there are so many different version of Vista. I have found Microsoft's new strategy of increases the types of Windows versions with each release to be slighty bothersome. If they are going to offer a low price point for the Home Premium, lower than the XP release price, why offer a Home Basic, at an insignificant 16% savings and surely a bigger hassle.

The size might not matter for a desktop with a huge hard drive, but for laptops, this may be inconvenient.

Also, this service pack isn't going to fix Vista's problems. Vista needs better driver support from hardware makers. Currently, a lot of the drivers are very green still when compared to XP. They are functional, true, but their performance is lacking. My brother regualarly complains about this when he is playing games on his Vista notebook. Until they get better, I'm not upgrading.

RE: Its huge!
By TomZ on 8/29/2007 1:16:32 PM , Rating: 3
1. Laptops can have pretty big HDDs now - 160-250GB is pretty commonly offered now. Many 17" models even have the ability to have 2 HDDs.

2. My experience with Vista drivers is not the same as yours. I've got two machines I use a lot, as well as a number of other machines that I take care of, all running Vista. Across all these machines, I can't think of any serious driver problems I've encountered. The only driver problems I've had are the usual ATI CCC-type nuisance bugs.

RE: Its huge!
By Christopher1 on 9/3/2007 8:59:23 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I haven't seen any driver issues myself except when I was trying to update the sound driver on my Vista laptop, and that was Realtek's fault because they uploaded a bum installer on their website, which they admitted.

I haven't had one thing thus far that isn't compatible with my Vista PC. My joystick worked when I plugged it in immediately, automatic after driver install. Same thing for my UPS, worked flawlessly after auto driver install. Printer, ditto.
The problem with Vista and old hardware is that people are expecting them to support hardware that is 5-10 years old. Sorry, but not going to do that! It just isn't worth the time, the businesses and home owners should upgrade after that period of time.

RE: Its huge!
By FITCamaro on 8/29/2007 1:37:51 PM , Rating: 1
I think the bigger problem is the gigantic amount of unpack space needed. 7GB for x86 and 12GB for x64? Thats a ton of unpack space. Some people may not have 7GB free on their laptop. Granted if you don't, you should probably clean some files off your laptop anyway.

Good thing my friend has x64 Ultimate installed on a 500GB hard drive.

And while he had two Nvidia driver hiccups, he's had a rock solid performance with Vista so far. Now how much better it can get, plenty I'm sure. But its working fine and playing games perfectly. Oblivion at 1680x1050 is running just fine with every detail maxed out, Havok threads increased, etc. Granted with a quad core, 4GB of RAM, 2 x 8800 GTS 640MBs, and a 150GB Raptor it better.

He nearly cried seeing WoW running smoothly at max detail since he's been playing off a laptop with integrated graphics for the past 3 years.

RE: Its huge!
By Griswold on 8/29/2007 1:47:52 PM , Rating: 1
Apples and oranges. None of the XP service packs contained all language files for the OS. You downloaded the one that is for your country and that was it.

Vista works entirely different as far as localization goes and thus, the full service pack will contain all necessary files for all localized versions of vista (not to mention that they need to fix alot of localization errors in the depths of the OS...).

I bet that is the main reason why its such a big download in adition to the necessary files needed to serve all vista editions from basic to ultimate.

Solution: go for the express package.

RE: Its huge!
By johnsonx on 8/29/2007 2:54:08 PM , Rating: 2
I really doubt the size of the service pack has much of anything to do with the different versions of Vista. Most of the files are the same for all versions; indeed it's largely the product key that controls the functionality. Yes, of course, Home Premium and Ultimate include the MCE files that the other versions don't have, and Enterprise has some management stuff the others don't have, etc., but the bulk of the OS is the same.

As others have pointed out, it's the language files that make it large. I wonder though if Microsoft couldn't offer single-language versions of the service pack, or perhaps one English-only version and one 'World' version.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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