New Vista fix packs provide updates promised for SP1

New Vista fix packs provide updates promised for SP1

Summary: Microsoft has rolled out to select testers two new Windows Vista fix packs that deliver many of the same updates expected to be provided by Vista Service Pack (SP) 1. Here's what Microsoft told testers earlier this month to expect in Vista SP1. Compare that to what's in the new Vista fix packs. Very, very similar.

TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft

Microsoft has rolled out to select testers two new Windows Vista fix packs that deliver many of the same updates expected to be provided by Vista Service Pack (SP) 1.

(Note: The original posting listing the fixes has been pulled by AeroXP, with no explanation given. So if you need the list of Vista hotfixes provided, go here. )

The fix packs (detailed in Knowledge Base articles 938194 and 938979) were made available to Windows Server 2008 testers on July 29 earlier this month. The packs provide a number of performance and reliability improvements to Vista, testers said. Among the new Vista fixes are patches for speeding up Vista's hibernate/sleep/resume performance; improving file copy/transfer capabilities; and enhancing Vista memory management, all of which are set to be part of Vista SP1, testers said earlier this month.

I'm wondering whether these two fix packs are just another name for what Microsoft has been calling the Vista SP1 private beta/preview. In spite of Microsoft's best efforts to quash talk of its plans for Windows Vista SP 1 -- while simultaneously confirming its 2010 target ship date for Windows 7 -- the Windows team did tell certain testers to expect a private beta of SP1 the week of July 16th or possibly a week later (the week of July 23, which was last week).

"SP1 Beta is projected for release to influencers ... either the week of the 16th or the following week, depending on how things proceed. The public Beta will follow shortly thereafter," according to a note Microsoft provided to testers it was considering adding to the Vista SP1 beta program.

Some other factoids from the note that went to certain testers earlier this month -- a copy of which I recently had a chance to see:

Q: What is in Windows Vista SP1?

A: "Windows Vista SP1 is an update to Windows Vista that, along with improvements delivered to users via Windows Update, addresses feedback from our customers. In addition to previously released updates, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards."

Q: What is not in Windows Vista SP1?

A: "SP1 is not intended to be a vehicle for releasing new features; however some existing components do gain enhanced functionality in SP1. "

Q: How big is SP1?

A: "Windows Vista SP1 is approximately 45 MB when delivered over Windows Update and is designed to not significantly change the UI or regress application compatibility."

Q: What are some examples of "improved security and quality?"

A: "SP1 delivers improvements that target what we’ve found to be the most common causes of crashes and hangs, giving users a more reliable experience. SP1 also improves upon performance in key scenarios, such as copying files and shutdown time.

"Beyond improvements to the basics,SP1 addresses other areas where we have received feedback. For example, SP1 improves the success of peer-to-peer connections, such as Windows MeetingSpace or Remote Assistance, when both PCs are behind symmetric firewalls. It also gives vendors of security software a more secure way to communicate with Windows Security Center."

Q: What are some examples of “support for emerging technologies and standards?"

A: "With SP1, Windows Vista can boot via EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) on an x64 machine. SP1 supports ExFAT, a new file format that will be used in flash memory storage and consumer devices Support for SD Advanced DMA Support to improve transfer performance and decrease CPU utilization is part of SP1." Q: What are some examples of “improving the management experience?”

A: "SP1 improves the administration experience. For example: With Windows Vista SP1, BitLocker Drive Encryption has been enhanced to not only fully encrypt the entire Windows Vista volume but also any or all additional locally created data volumes. (Customers can now not only fully encrypt C: but also D: and E. Network Diagnostics in Windows Vista SP1 will help users with the most common file sharing problems, in addition to basic problems already supported."

If Microsoft stuck to its timetable, certain testers should have received latest SP1 beta bits. Perhaps the two new Vista fix packs are simply the private SP1 beta in sheep's clothing? All I do know is, based on the note above, a public beta of Vista SP1 should be coming soon. And the final? I still hear November 2007, not 2009. (Microsoft still won't confirm or deny either the November or the 2009 dates.)

Anyone tried out the new fix packs yet? What's your verdict?

Topics: Windows, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Sounds like a band-aid on a gapping wound

    I'm not impressed. It is hard to avoid the impression that Microsoft just doesn't get it.
    Michael Of Atlanta
    • Band-aid?

      You can predict this before it's released and form an impression. Hmmm. <br><br>
      As for any gapping holes, care to elaborate?
  • this got my attention

    "adding support for several emerging standards."
    Is M$ still up for the old tricks?
    Is DOJ watching?
    Linux Geek
    • Please clarify

      What does "Is M$ stil up for the old tricks?" mean? Who is M$? <br>
      "Is DOJ watching?" Who is DOJ? Why would s/he be watching?
    • And why would that be?

      Very clever with the dollar sign there...

      Why would Microsoft not add support for emerging standards? As new versions of HTML or CSS or RSS or MPEG or any other standards are released by the community, of COURSE Microsoft builds support into the Operating System. What does DOJ have to do with this?

      Does your Linux distro support HTML or MP3s? Then that means that Novell and Red Hat and Ubuntu have been "adding support for several emerging standards." Chill with the fanboyism...
  • Wrong Date of patches

    I work for AeroXp as a news-reporter and was the first one to post about this piece of news. I would just like to point out that these updates were released by Microsoft on 20th July 2007 and not 29th, maybe you should credit the orignal source ;)
  • I certainly can elaborate...

    I saw nothing in there about the chronic issue with PnP. With so many peripherals going to USB and PnP, this, at least in my opinion, is a huge issue. I talked to Dell support this weekend about the issue, and their resolution was to reinstall XP.

    I've been on this soap box a long time, and have pretty much given up. But, to me, at least, if an OS cannot predictably support the primary interface of peripherals, it is deeply flawed.

    I do not intend to debate this. I have no ax to grind.
    Michael Of Atlanta
    • You prefer the blame game to axes, I see

      I see you prefer the blame game to grinding axes. It's all Microsoft's fault - It can't be the fault of the vendors for bad drivers.

      Seriously, I'm pretty sure it's not Microsoft's code to blame - my USB devices seem to work fine. I'm pretty sure it's the fault of the vendors and their drivers.
      • Right, how could anyone blame Microsoft?

        For producing an operating system to operate
        a computer just because it won't operate a
        computer like it's supposed to operate a
        computer? Is it their fault that it won't do
        everything they promised and advertised?
        Could it be their fault the operating system
        doesn't operate USB drives and other
        components just because they're a part of
        the computer?

        Of course not! It's the whole world's fault.
        Everyone knows that everybody everywhere
        that produces anything is supposed to make
        all their products work with whatever the
        masters of the universe, Microsoft,
        Ole Man
        • As a side note

          Instead of calling Vista an "Operating
          System", shouldn't they call it an "Operater
          Of Whatever Parts The Producers Have
          Modified To Work With It"?

          Wouldn't that be more like Truth In
          Advertising than deceiving the public for
          profit? (commonly called extortion)
          Ole Man
  • Dates for fix packs

    Thanks.I fixed. I did credit AeroXP for the info on the new packs by linking to the site.
    Mary Jo Foley
  • Will they fix backup?

    Am I missing something or is it not possible to backup C:\Program Files\NameOfProgram\aFile.mdb
    I'm so far unable to do it in Vista or Windows OneCare 2.0.
    Will SP1 fix it?
  • Fix Packs vs SP1

    I had always thought SP1 would come out in 2008 with the Vista/Server2008 kernel refresh and also a Media Center update. I don't understand what the blogging frenzy around SP1 is all about.
  • Monthly Windows Vista QFE Testing

    Whether these two update packs are the genesis of SP1 or simply future Windows Update pushes, it's great news that MS is externally testing hotfixes (the Vista hotfixes are the QFE Vista Monthly Drop). This is something I wish they'd done a long time ago, particularly since Patch Tuesday almost regularly gets ugly with at least one errant patch a month, sometimes over the most basic of things.

    I'm assuming that testers will filter out the worst of the problems before they're later passed onto Windows Update.
    • AMEN, Brother!

      um, what he said...
      Michael Of Atlanta
  • A vista Fix Pack is utterly worthless

    To anyone using XP. Why don't they fix the
    old bugs (like the Activation nightmare)
    before hatching a new horde? Did they think
    a new name would fool all the
    sucke......uh..users? A name which they
    stole from the VA, by the way:

    VHA Office of Information

    Very convenient for them, since their
    intentions are to embrace, extend, and
    extinguish our medical system.

    Will their brutal exploitation never end?
    Only when (and if) the public awakes from
    their slumber of ignorance.
    Ole Man
    • vetrans health affair ?

      Your claiming that MS stole the name from THEM?
      That's the best you have? OMFG that's a not even in the same ballpark as Vista the operating system.
      Learn more about trademarks and IP law before you spout retarded information like that again. Waste of space!

      What activation nightmare? You can install it 3 times at least I believe with the same activation code unless you are trying to get a hacked version, there IS NO PROBLEM DOOF! Some games act like a root kit and change Vista's activation. This has already been addressed and its the games not the OS causing the problem!

      This has got to be from a mactard that doesnt get that Apple has an lock, CAN ONLY USE APPLE MACs to install it on!

      Sorry but the mactarded nation has a new language, it's called Idiot!
      • Yeah, just like that "Mactard" idiot Winston Churchill

        Everybody knows what an idiot he was!

        "Appeasement, said Winston Churchill,
        consists of being nice to a crocodile in the
        hope that he will eat you last. At the
        moment, the biggest crocodile in the world
        is Microsoft, and everybody is busy sucking
        up to it."
        -- John Naughton, the London Observer

        Or that idiot Richard Brandshaft, of the San
        Jose Mercury

        "Microsoft does not innovate. It buys,
        imitates, or steals. It makes things
        difficult for software developers, and thus
        eventually for users."
        -- Richard Brandshaft, San Jose Mercury-News

        Or that idiot Robert X. Cringley

        "There is a fantasy in Redmond that
        Microsoft products are innovative, but this
        is based entirely on a peculiar confusion of
        the words "innovative" and "successful."
        Microsoft products are successful -- they
        make a lot of money -- but that doesn't make
        them innovative, or even particularly good."
        -- Robert X. Cringley

        Or that idiot Scott Mcnealy, Chairman and
        Co-Founder of Sun Microsystems

        "Every time you turn on your new car, you're
        turning on 20 microprocessors. Every time
        you use an ATM, you're using a computer.
        Every time I use a settop box or game
        machine, I'm using a computer. The only
        computer you don't know how to work is your
        Microsoft computer, right?"
        -- Scott McNealy, CEO, Sun Microsystems,

        Or perhaps that idiot Esther Schindler, of
        OS/2 Magazine

        "Microsoft's biggest and most dangerous
        contribution to the software industry may be
        the degree to which it has lowered user
        -- Esther Schindler, OS/2 Magazine

        More idiots than can be listed, actually.
        Too bad everybody couldn't be smart like
        you, eh? Or would that be paid like you?
        Ole Man
        • Hummmm...

          You are a very grumpy old man indeed!
          • So I'm a grumpy old man because a lot of people don't like Microsoft, eh?

            Where did you get your training in

            I understand if you didn't graduate. Your
            prose show it.
            Ole Man