Print 66 comment(s) - last by Blight AC.. on Dec 18 at 11:40 AM

Microsoft releases updates for two popular software platforms

Microsoft has two presents for its customers today with the release of Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Office 2007 and Service Pack 3 (SP3) Release Candidate 1 (RC1) for Windows XP.

According to the Office 2007 SP1 whitepaper [DOC], Microsoft took steps to enhance its productivity suite in the areas of stability, performance and security.

In reference to stability, Microsoft addressed at least five bugs in each of its Office 2007 applications and improved the stability of its server components. Performance improved across the board with Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and the SharePoint Server seeing the biggest gains. Likewise, Microsoft made incremental improvements to security and offers better protection against malicious software.

Office 2007 SP1 can be downloaded directly from Microsoft and weighs in at 281MB.

Microsoft also has a surprise for customers that have stuck with the company's long-serving Windows XP operating system. Windows XP made the headlines in recent months for its increased popularity despite the introduction of Windows Vista.

SP3 includes 1,073 hotfixes and contains four new feature additions for customers: a new activation scheme, Network Access Protection Module, Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module and a Black Hole Router detection algorithm.

Previous beta and release candidate versions of SP3 were available to beta testers, but RC1 is now available for the public to test.

Those who wish to try out Windows XP SP3 RC1 can download it directly from Microsoft.

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no new obvious features?
By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 2:15:01 PM , Rating: 2
I take it that SP3 will not be nearly as 'obvious' as SP2? I mean, you can tell a system has SP2 (or more accurately these days, one that's missing SP2) almost at a glance due to significant feature differences. It doesn't seem like SP3 will be nearly so obvious, as the touted four new features seem to be behind the scenes.

I certainly won't be installing it until it goes final, since my XP SP2 boxes run just fine thank you. A Vista SP1 RC would be worth a try: my last remaining Vista box is awaiting the XP downgrade guillotine, and is ardently hoping for an 11th hour stay of execution in the form of SP1.

Can anyone who's installed it (XP SP3 RC I mean, not Vista) comment?

RE: no new obvious features?
By ChronoReverse on 12/11/2007 2:15:52 PM , Rating: 2
Supposedly, SP3 is mostly just a rollup of security updates, so yes, it won't be obviously like the massive change SP2 was.

RE: no new obvious features?
By darkpaw on 12/11/2007 2:21:14 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't personally installed it yet, but I've researched it a bit. There will be a few feature changes you'd be able to see if you look, but nothing as drastic as the change from SP1 -> 2.

This is almost entirely a patch roll-up, which is sorely needed considering how long its been since SP2. I think I needed to install something in the neighborhood of 112 patches in the first set after reinstalling XP-SP2 on a laptop a few weeks ago. Thats just the updates available through WUS and doesn't count all the optional updates.

Overall, what I'm read about SP3 sounds really good. I downloaded it from Technet last week and just haven't gotten around to trying it on a dev machine yet.

RE: no new obvious features?
By OxBow on 12/11/2007 2:48:25 PM , Rating: 1
I can tell you this much. I just downgraded a vista laptop to XP and it's running beautifully. The thing was so buggy under Vista it was barely useable as an ineffective paperweight. Go ahead and downgrade, you'll be happier for it.

RE: no new obvious features?
By codeThug on 12/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: no new obvious features?
By retrospooty on 12/12/2007 10:04:38 AM , Rating: 4
Not surprising you both got rated way down... Anything anti Vista takes a hit.

The pro Vista crowd is convinced that because it runs OK on their particular computers with their particular parts that it therefore works perfect for everyone, therefore anyone that had issues is 100% user error.

Ugh. it gets tiring.

RE: no new obvious features?
By Oregonian2 on 12/13/2007 1:49:19 PM , Rating: 2
Also with their particular software. I've comparatively niche software that has compatibility problems which makes Vista unusable until the problems are fixed (which they may be with the SP1, we'll see). Particularly a problem for software whose company is no longer with us (Vista update not coming soon).

P.S. - It'd be nice if Microsoft had a legally downloadable free version of Vista that would expire in a month "period". Goes dead in a month no matter what, has to be uninstalled. But free, and legit. I could then use it on a older laptop (won't care if it runs slow, but hopefully it'll run) and experiment with compatibility problems (with a bit of time to try and get around or investigate problems).

RE: no new obvious features?
By webdawg77 on 12/11/2007 2:53:38 PM , Rating: 5
Just installed on a test box. A few things I've noticed and checked.

Works (no noticeable errors)

* Login scripts
* RD to servers
* In-house apps
* Office 2003
* Acrobat 7
* FF

Things I noticed

* Time from login to desktop seems to be a little faster
* Apps load a little faster
* IE 7 seems more responsive

I went to MU site, and there were 4 updates. However, only 1 directly affected XP. The others were for Office 2003, and the MSRT that's put out every month.

After just a little (~ 10 minutes) of testing, it looks to be good.

Sys specs
XP 32-bit
C2D E6300
Intel Video

RE: no new obvious features?
By Blight AC on 12/18/2007 11:19:13 AM , Rating: 2
I've installed this on my Dell Inspiron 9300 system.
Pentium M 1.86 Ghz
Geforce 6800
7200 RPM HDD

There are a few notable improvements so far. Boot up to the login screen is faster. It takes around 20 seconds or so to boot to the login screen, and around 40 seconds to full Desktop with a password login (including the time it takes to enter the password). This is on a PC that has had the same Windows XP install for over 2 years now.. and I'm not sure when the last time I defragmented was. But I do use the Full System Scan monthly which not only does AV and Malware scanning, but also checks and offers to defragment your HDD and does registry cleanup as well.

My main complaint about XP seems to be resolved. And that's the notification pop-ups. Previously, they would just sit their till you closed them. On a Laptop with 1920x1200 resolution and a touchpad mouse, it was a bother to always have to close those notifications. Usually I'd get one after logging in (letting me know the Wireless was connected) and there are a few other things that do it. Either way, now it seems the notifications go away on their own, thankfully.

Another change is to the Remote Desktop Connection. Now, it no longer requests a Username and Password to connect, and states that "You will be asked for credentials when you connect", unless of course you specify credentials in the connection properties. A nice change. Although, I can't seem to remote into a PC with SP3 installed, which worked fine before. I can remote to other PC's from a SP3 machine, but not into the SP3 machine itself.

Games seem to maintain the same performance, although, I've only tested EVE with the Trinity graphics.

That's pretty much all I've tested so far. IE7 loads fast.

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