Vista SP1 offers no features, focuses on tweaks, security

Unlike XP's SP2, this service pack offers mainly under-the-hood changes

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), just delivered to a group of approximately 12,000 beta testers, offers no dramatic interface changes, nor does it add new features to the operating system. Instead SP1 focuses on improving performance, reliability and application compatibility, and it extends support to emerging hardware such as the exFAT file system that will be used by flash memory storage and consumer devices. However, SP1 does change the way Windows search works, allowing third-party programs such as Google Desktop Search to integrate more easily into the operating system.

Microsoft plans to release the final version of SP1 in the first quarter of 2008.

Those who hoped that SP1 would introduce new features or interface improvements, as was done with Windows XP SP2, will be disappointed. David Zipkin, product manager for Vista SP1, said that the company's goal has been to focus on operating system improvements rather than on interface changes or new features.

He added that Windows XP SP2 was an anomaly in that it made some significant changes to the way that Windows XP looked and worked. Those changes were made in response to emerging Internet threats, he said. Vista SP1, he said, is a return to a more traditional Microsoft approach towards service packs --- that they should focus on performance and reliability rather than on new features.

Many corporate customers appear to be waiting for SP1 to ship before they move to Vista, and when the service pack ships, it may boost Vista's adoption rate, which many observers have called sluggish.

Performance, reliability, security and search

Windows Vista SP1 will address many of the performance and reliability issues that some Vista customers have complained about. Microsoft claims that SP1 will speed up copying and extracting files, make PCs return more quickly from Hibernate and Resume modes, and improve laptop battery life by reducing CPU utilization. In addition, the company said that SP1 will fix problems that Windows Vista has encountered with newer graphics cards, improve networking and improve reliability when a PC enters or resumes from sleep. Browsing network file shares is expected to consume less bandwidth and perform more quickly.

Microsoft also stressed that security will also be enhanced because SP1 addresses a complaint from third-party security vendors that they can't easily hook into the Windows Security Center. In SP1, Microsoft said, vendors will have a more secure way to communicate with the Windows Security Center.

In addition, as an extension of Microsoft's 2002 antitrust settlement with US government regulators, Microsoft has made it easier for third-party programs, such as Google Desktop Search, to replace Windows' built-in search technology. The Search link has been removed from the Start menu, and there are now ways to easily select a new search tool as the default for Windows search.

Support for new hardware

SP1 will add support for emerging hardware standards that are expected to become more important in the future. The exFAT file system, which will be used by flash memory storage and consumer devices, will now work with Vista. SP1 will also add support for Secure Digital (SD) Advanced Direct Memory Access (DMA), which is expected to be on SD host controllers. This will increase transfer rates and decrease CPU use, according to Microsoft. SP1 will also add support for Direct3D 10.1, so that games developers will be able to take greater advantage of Direct3D graphics.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Preston Gralla

Preston Gralla

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?