Microsoft has released two updates for Windows Vista.
The first update, dealing with various problems with performance and reliability in Vista, fixes a glitch which means that, if User Account Control is disabled on the computer, a user cannot install a network printer successfully. The patch also addresses problems with file transfer "estimated time remaining" speeds, offline file corruption during synchronisation to a server, and memory-leak and management problems.
Compatibility and reliability bugs are addressed in the second update, which mostly concerns video problems. A situation where the screen may go blank when a user tries to upgrade the video driver has been addressed, as has a problem with the screen going blank after an external display device connected to the computer is turned off. The problem can occur when a projector is turned off during a presentation, according to text supplied by Microsoft with the update.
Users must validate their version of Vista with Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) — a Microsoft mechanism to protect against the illegal copying of its software — to receive the updates.
At the time of writing Microsoft could not confirm reports that the updates would be included in Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), which is due out later this year. However, the company did say that the updates will be "broadly available via Windows Update in the near future".
Microsoft also confirmed that pre-beta code for Vista SP1 and XP SP3 had been distributed to testers.
"Service packs are part of the traditional software lifecycle — they're something we do for all Microsoft products as part of our commitment to continuous improvement, and providing early test builds is a standard practice that helps us incorporate customer feedback and improve the overall quality of the product," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "For Windows Vista [SP1], our current expectation is that a beta will be made available sometime this year. The screen shots posted are from early, pre-beta test builds that were made available to a select group of testers. For XP SP3, we're currently planning to deliver SP3 for Windows XP in the first half of 2008. This date is preliminary, and we don't have any more details to share at this time."