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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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By essjae on 8/29/2007 3:00:55 PM , Rating: 0
Actually, it won't contain zillions of device driver updates, those will still be coming via WU

By TomZ on 8/29/07, Rating: -1
By mechBgon on 8/30/2007 12:51:45 AM , Rating: 1
I think that SP1 will roll up all the updated drivers since the release

For the record, Vista SP1 won't contain new drivers, and actually Microsoft's OS service packs aren't about delivering new drivers in the sense of, say, new drivers for nVidia/Intel/ATI hardware.

MVP, Windows Shell/User

By TomZ on 8/30/2007 2:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
You sure about that? The Vista install carries tons of drivers, and Microsoft also talks about the number of supported drivers statistics in their Vista SP1 whitepaper. This seems to contradict your statement.

By mechBgon on 8/30/2007 9:41:59 PM , Rating: 2
You sure about that?

The official FAQ sent to me by my MVP lead includes the specific question of what new drivers are included in Vista SP1. Microsoft's answer to that FAQ is that the service pack doesn't include new drivers.

By TomZ on 8/30/2007 9:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
Does that exclude the possibility that SP1 will carry all the new and updated drivers released since the original RTM?

In other words, since these drivers are already available via Windows Update, you could technically say that SP1 isn't releasing new drivers.

But on the other hand, it would be illogical for a Vista+SP1 distribution to carry a set of incomplete, out-of-date drivers. Do you see what I'm getting at?

By mechBgon on 8/30/2007 10:22:14 PM , Rating: 2
But on the other hand, it would be illogical for a Vista+SP1 distribution to carry a set of incomplete, out-of-date drivers. Do you see what I'm getting at?

Frankly, no I don't. Even if the drivers were updated with SP1, they'd still be out-of-date again within a month or two, because hardware manufacturers continue to improve upon them. If the included drivers are enough to get the OS installed, then the user can go get the latest & greatest drivers, or let Windows Update handle it if they're novices. I don't see it as a big deal one way or the other, but FYI that is the information straight from the horse's mouth.

Support for new classes of hardware and new standards will reportedly be included, as was the case with WinXP SP1 adding USB 2.0 support and recognition for high-capacity HDDs. Those would be meaningful benefits that don't go obsolete as months and years go by. That's what I'd take to the bank regarding SP1 as it relates to hardware, not trivial updates to the included drivers that Vista RTM shipped with.

By omnicronx on 8/29/2007 3:14:34 PM , Rating: 1
And you know this how?? Whats the point of slipstream or offline download if it doesn't contain new device drivers. Otherwise the express download would be the only 'real' solution to completely update your computer. Zillions maybe not, but many updated device drivers, probably. I can just see it now, every admin having to pick and choose the needed device driver updates for every hardware configuration they have =P

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