Vista SP1 - Day 1

Vista SP1 - Day 1

Summary: On Monday the 4th of February Microsoft announced that Windows Vista Service Pack 1 had been released to manufacturing. Although the code has been finalized, Windows Vista users won't start to get their hands for a few weeks. I've been fortunate to be sent the SP1 installer files, along with a complete copy of Vista with SP1 integrated into it. It's time to fire up a test system and see what happens.


On Monday the 4th of February Microsoft announced that Windows Vista Service Pack 1 had been released to manufacturing. Although the code has been finalized, Windows Vista users won't start to get their hands for a few weeks. I've been fortunate to be sent the SP1 installer files, along with a complete copy of Vista with SP1 integrated into it. It's time to fire up a test system and see what happens.

Check out the complete SP1 installation gallery here.

Vista SP1 discsGiven the fact that my ZDNet blogging colleague George Ou had some pretty negative experiences with installing SP1 (one machine seems to have eaten a dirt sandwich, which another is ill after having taken a few bites) I demonstrated great restraint in not throwing caution to the wind and installing the update straight onto my main work system. Instead I chose a test system that's reserved for these kinds of things.

For those interested in such things, here's the spec of the system:

  • Pentium 950D processor (3.4GHz)
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 250GB Maxtor hard drive
  • 32-bit Windows Vista Ultimate

This system scores a 4.5 on the Windows Experience Index (the top end of the scale is 5.9). The Windows Vista installation on this system is relatively fresh and the system is very reliable when in use at present. The system in up-to-date on all patches.

Next -->


For this first test I decided to apply SP1 to the existing installation - the way that most people will be taking their SP1 pill. I carried out no preparatory work prior to installing SP1 (that would be cheating). The installation was carried out off the CD that I was sent by Microsoft.

I can report that the installation went without a hitch. The process took 52 minutes (from running starting to run the installer to getting back to a usable Windows desktop). The system rebooted five (yes, you read that right, 5) times.

Vista SP1 - Day 1 Vista SP1 - Day 1

Vista SP1 - Day 1 Vista SP1 - Day 1

Vista SP1 - Day 1 Vista SP1 - Day 1

Vista SP1 - Day 1 Vista SP1 - Day 1

Vista SP1 - Day 1 Vista SP1 - Day 1

Vista SP1 - Day 1 Vista SP1 - Day 1


I'm not ready to publish any benchmark test results yet, but on first blush SP1 feels snappier than Vista RTM. Manipulating files certainly feels a lot better and many of those awful (and workflow disrupting) lags are gone.

Over the next few days I'll be sharing more of my experiences here. If you want to keep updated about SP1 and how it handles a variety of tasks on a selection of PCs, subscribe to the Hardware 2.0 RSS feed.


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Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Wow

    Seems like you have a lot better luck that George Ou, who seems to have killed a laptop and his desktop is in need of surgery....
    • Don't forget that George is also ....

      ... the publisher of 12 essential Vista programs you can download for free. I don't know that one of these is the culprit but it might be a good place to start.
      • Heh heh heh

        This is true.

        I for one will stick with my dual boot Vista/Linux laptop....
        • Dual Boot.

          Ha. I for one will stick with my Dual Boot XP Linux desktop!

          Still, having read the SP1 document, all fifty-five pages of it, forty of which are just the changes/improvements, I'm sort of impressed.

          I'd be more than "sort of" if I hadn't been working with Microsoft products for so long.
          • Unfortunately...

            ..for microsoft I become less and less impressed with each iteration of windows and become more and more inclined to go full out for linux. The only thing stopping me is the fact that I like to play the "occasional" game on my desktop. Soon enough that will be replaced by my console, which again unfortunately for me is a MS xbox 360 HAHA, only because i refuse to buy into the sony BS bandwagon, and the games for Wii are too kiddy. Trust the devil you know or the devil you dont know? IMO. So for now Ill keep the dual boot going and when I get the time and motivation Ill integrate towards Linux some more and see how life on the greener side treats me....
      • Perhaps George didn't debunk his laptop

        As thouroughly as he did Peter Gutmann's "A
        Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content

        Claim that Vista DRM causes full CPU load
        and global warming debunked!

        Or perhaps he forgot to debunk Bruce

        Or he doesn't have time to read PCWorld, and
        is a little overconfident

        Vista Prevents Users From Playing High-Def
        Vista's complicated, overzealous copy
        protection system is degrading even premium
        content's that's not copy protected, such as
        high-definition home movies, says researcher
        Peter Gutmann.
        Jon Brodkin, Network World
        Friday, August 10, 2007 6:00 AM PDT,135814-c,windowsbugs/article.html

        He's a busy guy, but maybe he should have
        read this first

        Current Known Issues with Windows Vista

        Then again, there's so many possible
        problems, he may just be working on it

        Maybe Vista just came back to bite him where
        it hurts.

        Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.

        What goes around, comes around.
        Ole Man
        • what is your issue?

          First, quoting gutmann is an instant loss of credibility, and second, who pays for your posts? You obviously put considerable time into spewing your useless garbage on any MS post... someone's footing the bill.

        • Give it up!

          My Vista system plays both HD-DVD and Blue-Ray thanks to the LG Superdrive I installed, ($239 at Best Buy) with none of the issues described. That is something that is not possible with Linux or OSX. You debunk yourself when you post such drivel.
        • Ole Man.

          Even though our exchanges can be a bit less than "friendly", i do count you as a friend, regardless of what you feel. <br>
          But when you post stuff like this, esp. the work of Gutmann whose work has been thoroughly invalidated by multiple objective soures outside of zdnet, I start to worry you really are serious about these things. <br>
          Please come back to at least some level of moderate thinking so you can weigh things more objectively. You've been brainwashed by zealots.
        • Or perhaps he forgot to debunk Bruce

          I switched from Mac to Windows a few years ago. I had just started to like Vista. This switch might have been a major mistake on my part. I had to keep a foot in both worlds and wanted to reduce costs was my reasoning for this change. Looks like I may have to consider and investigate another change - looking like Linux maybe in my future. This is similar to GM and Onstar, they can control your car from a command center. I believe they can even listen to conversations if they choose. I'm not liking this not abit.
    • re: wow

      Well, as to what George experienced... we'll have to wait and see if that is the norm or not. Obviously, SP1 has some incompatibilities with George's setup. In any case, I'll wait a while before trying it.
      • It is standard fair for SP to sink a few PCs...

        Every Service Pack has at least a handfull of computers that TANK or commit suiside.

        I am going to post what I think George messed up on, on his blog. I bet he's also a little click happy or in other words a "trigger clicker."
        • Fair?

          I wouldnt exactly call it fair HAHA, but I understand where youre going with your statement.... Im sure we all clicked where we shouldnt have at some point and then forgot why or where....
    • How reliable is SP1?

      I hope somebody is (1) looking at George Ou's problems, and (2) gathering statistics on Vista+SP1 reliability.
      • It looks like Microsoft responded very quickly

        [i]I hope somebody is (1) looking at George Ou's problems[/i]

        From reading George's blog, it would appear that Microsoft responded very quickly. Do you believe otherwise?
      • RTM & FUD

        Sir, please be informed that Microsoft has turned their complete attention to his
        unique set of problems installing Vista SP1. There are perks to being a journalist. The
        rest of you and your potential set of problems, good luck and godspeed.
    • George is a 'hacker' who likes to build ...

      ... his own systems. Who knows what went wrong with his setup. I have also learned that you cannot be impatient with SP1. Interrupt it in the middle and who knows where you will end up.
      M Wagner
      • The laptop was a Lenovo T60 though

        Not one that he "built."

        Still a point though. Though many seemed to have trouble with Windows Vista, he normally was a big proponent of the OS.

        I don't think he would have stopped the install in the middle either. Any one who has installed a Service Pack from NT onward would know better than to do that.
  • RE: Vista SP1 - Day 1

    Five reboots and 52 minutes to install? Absurd! Anyway, I think I'll wait on SP1 until I see enough favorable reviews. I have enough aggravation to deal with and don't need to add to it.
  • Over a Year

    Over a year to stabilize and speed up Vista... or not... we'll see.

    There is a preoccupation with capital costs from the hardware hobby contingent. It
    leads to a conclusion that a Mac is too expensive as per the last blog. Then the
    hardware hobbyist/gamerz go on to endorse the "cheap" solution, forgiving one full
    years worth of hobbled productivity with the release of SP1. Apparently, that didn't
    cost a thing.

    But reader?I object! I have lots of XP machines in the lab I can use in the interim
    (doesn't everyone). They didn't cost a thing either. Do we all see this situation as
    completely congruent with working computer use?

    For the computer repairman, Vista is super, it causes just enough grief too keep
    everyone strung out, but not quite enough for the guileless to switch platforms.
    The simplistic tests are run, the metrics are collected, and the advocacy is logged
    and blogged, and there can't possibly be a conflict of interest because our
    intentions are pure? At no time is productivity measured. At no time is TCO
    measured. You folks are being cheap handbag salesmen with nothing to offer
    working computer users beyond banal unboxing porn, and Microsoft's own self-

    Work with these computers. Real work. Stop repairing them, stop building them,
    stop modding them, and stop buying them. Work with all platforms. Assign yourself
    an hourly rate. Log productive time and log wasted time.

    Until this gets done, you are not describing computer use, and you are not coming
    close to the real costs. What you are doing is shopping.
    Harry Bardal