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Vista Service Pack One

You may have heard some of the early rumblings about Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) back in May. In August, Nick White on the Vista blog team officially announced it’s existence, and late last month, Microsoft began a private beta of it.

I wanted to share some basic details about SP1. It includes a number of fixes that will provide greater battery life for mobile systems and greater overall reliability and application compatibility. 


Here are some basic questions that I wanted to provide some perspective on:


What is a Service Pack?


Once a major OS is released, issues will begin to crop up.  In the case of Microsoft, they will release a number of fixes until a critical mass is reached.  Once the requisite number of fixes is complete, Microsoft will test and deliver a Service Pack.  This is because it is necessary to test the fixes as a cohesive whole to ensure that they all work and play well together.  In the case of Vista the Beta level version of the 1st service pack has just been released for early testing. 


What fixes are in Windows Vista Service Pack 1?


In Vista Service Pack 1 has added 300+ fixes (approximately 50 Mb) many of which the casual user will not notice.  However, there are several fixes designed to improve Battery Life, Performance, Reliability and Application Compatibility.  The performance improvements that are most noticeable are around media and file copying.  There will also be changes to the way wireless connectivity works.  For the Business IT department, Vista SP1 makes a number of changes related to way Vista is administered on a network.  Overall, the service pack provides everyone with a better product.


What will Dell do to ensure that Vista SP1 works best on Dell Systems?


Dell has been working with Microsoft on Vista Service Pack 1 for several months now.  Much of our time, early on, has been around working with Microsoft to determine what fixes and design changes to the existing OS will be included in the final release of the Service Pack.  In addition we have been working with Microsoft on verifying individual fixes before they are included in the service pack.  We have also been busy working with Microsoft on the test plans for the service pack.  Now that we have Beta 1 in house we will begin our comprehensive testing of the OS.  In all by the time of release we will have tested the service pack with teams from all over the world to ensure Vista Service Pack 1 works well with Dell systems.  Much of our testing will not only be testing the Service Pack for factory installation, but also verifying the upgrade path to ensure that our customers who purchased Vista will be able to upgrade their Dell systems to Service Pack 1 with no problems. 


Should I upgrade to Vista Service Pack 1?


Remember that we are still in the Beta testing stage, but with the changes to battery life, reliability, and application compatibility that are in build and working the answer is an unqualified YES.   While there is much testing left to do and I am sure several changes to come, Vista SP1 resolves the vast majority of the issues and annoyances I have had with Vista Gold.  I would not recommend for the casual user to go out and join the beta program to get a copy now, when the beta is complete, Vista SP 1 will be available on Windows Update and all users should then strongly consider installing the update.  Windows Update provides an excellent and reliable mechanism to get SP1 once it is released and will allow all Windows Gold customers to get up to SP1 quickly and easily. 

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