Language packs delay Vista Ultimate SP1

Only five of 36 packs ready this month, says Microsoft

Microsoft has told consumers that delays in updating more than 30 bonus language packs will postpone the delivery of Service Pack 1 (SP1) to some Windows Vista users.

Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 will be initially available only to users who have installed the English, French, German, Japanese or Spanish language packs, Nick White, a Microsoft program manager said Monday. Users with one of those five packs will be able to download and install SP1 starting around the middle of this month, but people who have previously installed one of Vista Ultimate's other 31 language packs must wait for what White called SP1's "second wave."

"We will be releasing Windows Vista SP1 in two 'waves'," said White in a post to the Vista team's blog. "The first wave will only provide Windows Vista SP1 to Windows Vista Ultimate PCs running the following 5 Languages: English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. The second wave will follow shortly after -- supporting all 36 languages."

White didn't specify a release date for the second wave in the post, but in a comment later, said it would be "likely to occur next month."

His warning, in fact, wasn't completely unforseen. A month ago, when Microsoft said it had wrapped up RTM (release to manufacturing) and was shipping SP1 to duplication, it also spelled out a rough calendar for release. According to that timetable, Ultimate SP1 would appear as an optional download on Windows Update this month with just the five languages, as an automatic update mid-April, and the full 36 packs sometime next month, presumably after the mid-point.

Nor is this the first install glitch caused by the language packs. Last October, Barry Goffe, the director of Vista Ultimate, noted that users had had trouble installing the add-ons, and said an install component had been patched to fix the problem.

Earlier this week, Microsoft drew a clear line between the delay and an error noted by some users who have already tried to install SP1. Last month, Microsoft handed the update to volume licensing customers, subscribers to a pair of technical IT and developer services, and in a mistake, to some users of the 64-bit version of the operating system. Once they'd installed SP1, those users noticed that the additional language packs had vanished. According to support document KB947875, the only solution was to uninstall SP1.

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Gregg Keizer

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