Microsoft updates Vista speed, stability again

Posts more fixes for latest OS even as SP1 enters beta testing

For the second time in two months, Microsoft has rolled out fixes to improve Windows Vista's speed and reliability.

Four separate updates, available from the vendor's website, address several operating system performance and stability problems, deal with a dozen Universal Serial Bus (USB) issues, improve Windows Media Player and patch Media Center.

Although Microsoft has put Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) in the hands of some testers, it has said it will continue to update the original Vista -- dubbed "RTM" for "release to manufacturing" -- even as it puts SP1 through its paces. Seven weeks ago, it issued a pair of updates that tackled numerous problems, offering them as optional items through Windows Update in September.

"Tuesday's updates are a collection of fixes that we have made to address a small set of reliability, compatibility, stability, security and performance issues," a Microsoft spokeswoman said. "They will provide incremental improvements to the most common issues -- but in general, these improvements or fixes are going to be very narrow in scope."

The widest ranging of the quartet was a 5.4MB update for multiple hardware and operating system issues that Microsoft said extends laptop battery life, improves the stability of wireless network connections and deals with compatibility problems with some antivirus software.

The update also promised to shorten Vista start-up and resume-from-sleep times, problems that Microsoft had supposedly fixed with the August patches. Vista users have complained about Vista's slow start-up, shutdown and return from power-saving modes since at least April.

A second update, detailed in the KB941600 support document, is a cumulative roll-up of 12 fixes to Vista's USB components. In Microsoft's terminology, a "roll-up" is a collection of patches, similar to a service pack, but not tested as extensively.

A similar cumulative update for Media Center is also available from the Microsoft download site; it deals with several specific problems, including some involving how Vista interacts with Microsoft Xbox 360 video game consoles.

The fourth update patches Windows Media Player 11, the default audio- and video-playing software included with the operating system. Microsoft offered few details -- a support document has not been added to the database -- but the company's spokeswoman said the 8.8MB download for the 32-bit version of Vista eliminates corruption of Media Player database in certain scenarios and of media stream in certain scenarios.

The updates will be distributed via Windows Update in the near future, the spokeswoman added. Microsoft's next scheduled Windows Update releases are due out in the second week of October.

Microsoft has aggressively promoted its ability to update Vista through Windows Update, even going so far as denying after Vista's launch that it needed to produce a comprehensive service pack, or SP1. It has continued to claim that most issues can be addressed by Windows Update.

Mike Nash, the Microsoft executive who leads Windows product management, was the latest to brag about Windows Update's prowess in keeping Vista running smoothly. "The really important updates we can release with Windows Update, and the need for a service pack is actually reduced," he said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?