Almost exactly one year since the first release of Windows Vista to the market in 2007, Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) was released to manufacturing (RTM) today and will start being available to customers in March, starting with Microsoft Volume Licensing customers. The first available languages for download are English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese, and more will shortly follow.
Service Pack 1 is an important milestone for Microsoft because it aims to address many of the key issues that their customers have identified with Windows Vista over the last year. Although Microsoft claim that more than 100 million copies of Vista have been licensed so far, it has been clear that adaptation ratio of Windows Vista for corporate users has not been as high as Microsoft has initially expected, and by offering SP1 Microsoft hopes that many customers, waiting for the OS's first SP, will finally yield and begin to migrate their corporate workstations to Vista.
Microsoft claims that major issues with Vista, such as driver and compatibility and reliability problems have been addressed in Service Pack 1, allowing the Vista computers to perform better and more reliably. SP1 also includes changes focused on improving the performance of Windows Vista in areas that impact the customer experience the most. For instance, with SP1, copying or moving files around your PC, your home network or your corporate network should now be much faster - up to 50% faster in some scenarios. In addition, on many kinds of hardware, resuming a Windows Vista-based PC from sleep is faster on Service Pack 1.
Here's the timing for SP1 availability for current Windows Vista users:
- In mid-March, Microsoft will release Windows Vista SP1 to Windows Update (in English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese) and to the download center on microsoft.com. Customers who visit Windows Update can choose to install Service Pack 1. If Windows Update determines that the system has one of the drivers that has been identified to be problematic, then Windows Update will not offer SP1. Since Microsoft assumes that some customers may want to update to SP1 anyhow, the download center will allow anyone who wants to install SP1 to do so.
- In mid-April, Microsoft will begin delivering Windows Vista SP1 to Windows Vista customers who have chosen to have updates downloaded automatically. That said, any system that Windows Update determines has a driver known to not update successfully will not get SP1 automatically. As updates for these drivers become available, they will be installed automatically by Windows Update, which will unblock these systems from getting Service Pack 1. The result is that more and more systems will automatically get SP1, but only when we are confident they will have a good experience.
- The remaining languages will RTM in April.
As always, feel free to explore my Windows Vista tips and tricks section, which grows weekly with new and exciting articles. I will report more about SP1 as I dive deeper into the changes and features it brings to Windows Vista.