Vista SP2 beta: Nothing obviously new has been added

The changes to Vista are under the hood and even they are far from earth-shaking

If you install the beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) expecting to see visible changes to your version of Vista, you'll be sorely disappointed. At least in this initial beta, all the changes are under the hood, and even they are far from earth-shaking.

Microsoft says that it has fixed compatibility problems with the third-party Spy Sweeper and ZoneAlarm security applications, enhanced hardware support for Direct X, improved Wi-Fi connections after a system resumes from sleep, improved Windows Search, added support for the newest Bluetooth specification (2.1) and rolled up all previous Vista updates.

In addition, Microsoft says that the RSS gadget now uses fewer resources, that it has added support for burning Blu-ray discs, and that a new feature called Windows Connect Now (WCN) makes it simpler to configure Wi-Fi networks.

But in reality, what's really new in SP2 is somewhat murky. For example, support for Bluetooth 2.1 and WCN have been available since July, via what Microsoft calls the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless. That feature pack was available only to system manufacturers, not users, so perhaps Microsoft means that with SP2 these wireless features are now directly available to consumers for the first time. But anyone who has a Vista PC purchased from a system manufacturer that includes the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless already has WCN and support for Bluetooth 2.1.

Installation a snap -- with a few caveats

You have several choices for installing Vista SP2, including via Windows Update, as a stand-alone installer or by downloading an .iso image file, which you can then burn to a DVD and install from the DVD.

Initially, the beta was available only on MSDN and TechNet before public release, and at that point was available only as an .iso image. I downloaded the image, but had troubles with installation. The first .iso image burner I used, the free ImgBurn application, said it could not handle that particular .iso image. I had used this software to install .iso images before during the original Vista installation cycle, so this was odd.

Next, I tried Nero 7 to burn an image. It had trouble as well -- when the burning was complete, the only file on my DVD was an .ini file and nothing else, so I couldn't install the beta. I never found out the source of the problem. Given that the .iso file is now in public beta and no outcry has been heard, the problem, if any, has most likely been fixed.

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.

Tags Vista SP2

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?