Finally, after months of silence, Microsoft has finally came up with details about its plans for the first update to Windows Vista. According to Microsoft, the service pack will arrive in the first quarter of the 2008, with a beta of SP1 for Vista coming in the next few weeks to a limited group of 10,000 pre-selected testers.
The Vista update will mostly be a collection of existing fixes and tweaks targeted at increasing the stability and reliability of the system. Says Shanen Boettcher, a general manager in the Windows unit: "Its not a delivery vehicle for lots of features."
Some of the improvements that can be expected from SP1 for Vista, as highlighted by ZDNet Blogger, Mary Jo Foley:
- Support for Direct 3D 10.1
- Support for Secure Digital (SD) Advanced Direct Memory Access (DMA) to improve transfer performance and decrease CPU utilization
- Performance tweaks pertaining to copying of files, shut down, and resume
- Support for ExFat, the Windows file format for flash memory storage and other consumer devices
- Improvements to BitLocker Drive Encryption to allow not just encryption of the whole Vista volume, but also locally created data volumes
- The ability to boot Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) on an x64 machine
- Improvements to battery life by reducing CPU utilization be "not redrawing the screen as frequently, on certain computers"
- Bugs, bugs and more bugs
A point to note is that the final size of Vista SP1 that Microsoft communicated to beta testers is only about 50 MB -- this is the size of the SP as it will be delivered via Windows Update and Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) only.
The total size for the standalone SP1 will be in the region of 1 GB for x86 systems. Microsoft has clarified that the 1 GB for the standalone installer was due to a design decision to put all the various language packs into a single release. Anyway, it appears that you'll need 7 GB of free disk space to install the x86 version and 12 GB of free disk space for the x64 package. (most of this space is for temporary files and for the Vista image-based installer).
It is not clear at the moment whether the 7 GB of free disk requirement relates only for the standalone installation only or if this requirement is also applicable for the Windows Update and WSUS route. If that is so, it might pose a problem with businesses that installed the OS on a dedicated (smaller) partition.
For more information:
- MS Says Vista SP1 Is Almost Baked (TechNewsWorld)
- The shroud of secrecy is lifted: Vista SP1 beta due in two weeks (ZDNet Blogs: Mary Jo Foley)
- What you can expect in Vista SP1 (ZDNet Blogs: Ed Bott)
- Microsoft Vista SP1 beta on the way (Network World)
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Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.