Microsoft

Vista SP1 causes reduced functionality for some programs

The long awaited release of the first service pack for Vista is now just around the corner. Software maker Microsoft is still planning a mid March release of the update that is reputed to increase the security and stability of the operating system. But there have been challenges along the way.

The long-awaited release of the first service pack for Vista is now just around the corner. Software maker Microsoft is still planning a mid-March release of the update that is reputed to increase the security and stability of the operating system. But there have been challenges along the way.

First reported on Feb. 20, a prerequisite update has been pulled from the Windows Update site until programmers can resolve an issue that led to some computers running Vista to go into an endless reboot cycle.

On Feb. 21, Microsoft published KB935796 warning that there is a known list of programs that will lose functionality when SP1 is applied. Loss of functionality means that the program will be blocked on your PC; will not run at all; or will run with reduced functionality. You can find the list of known issues in the KB article.

From CNET:

The list is not considered to be comprehensive, and Microsoft has asked users who encounter problems with other applications to first restart their PC and, if they still encounter problems, to install a newer version of the program or contact the software vendor.

Without SP1 incompatibilities, Windows Vista is already facing an ingrained perception by enterprise users of incompatibility with old systems, said Joseph Sweeney, an analyst at Intelligent Business Research Services.

Issues of back compatibility require regression testing on old applications, making any deployment very painful to do in one install, he said. "In theory, you only have to fix it once, and you should be able to deploy it across your whole environment, but many organizations do not have a highly automated deployment."

The problems with SP1 will only make backward-compatibility issues worse, he said, especially since many companies have been waiting to deploy the operating system until the release of the service stack.

It is interesting to note that of the 12 programs listed, half are security products such as Bit Defender and Zone Alarm. Many of the programs have updates posted on their Web sites to return the program to functioning properly.

From Information Week:

Microsoft said the blocks occur because the antivirus programs are not compatible with Vista SP1. "For reliability reasons, Microsoft blocks these programs from starting after you install Windows Vista SP1," the company said in a statement posted Wednesday on its support Web site.

Microsoft also said Vista SP1 prevents a small number of other programs from working properly, including Novell's ZCM Agent and The New York Times reader software.

Many businesses have chosen to not move toward Vista, using SP1 as the landmark that must be reached first. Considering the issues that have resulted from trying to reach that point, do you think that SP1 is still a valid landmark, or do you think that there is additional maturing that the operating system needs to do first?

More information:

Microsoft says Vista SP1 blocks third party apps (Channel Web Network)

Microsoft warns on Vista update (BBC News)

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