Shhhh! Pre-beta Vista SP1 is out there

Shhhh! Pre-beta Vista SP1 is out there

Summary: Over the past couple of days, there have been new reports of sightings of the pre-beta of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1. The reported build number: 6001.16549 (longhorn_sp1beta1.070628-1825). I've asked Microsoft for comment. But given that "translucency," not "transparency," is the new Windows world order, I'm not expecting to hear much new.

TOPICS: Microsoft, Windows

Over the past couple of days, there have been new reports of sightings of the pre-beta of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1. The reported build number: 6001.16549 (longhorn_sp1beta1.070628-1825).

I've been getting tips over the past couple of weeks from testers who said they had the promised pre-beta. The tipsters all were referencing different build numbers. My first guess was the secrecy-obsessed Windows Vista team might be providing different testers with different build numbers in order to trace leaks.

I've asked a few testers about the latest 6001.16549 build number. This one sounds like it's the real deal (and not a typo). It seems to be the pre-beta Vista SP1 build that Microsoft has been slowly trickling out to more and more testers over the past few weeks.

WinBeta is running alleged pre-beta Vista SP1 screen shots. I have no idea whether these are real or not. I've asked Microsoft officials for comment on the screens and for an update on Vista SP1 beta and final timing. (I'm not expecting I'll get much more than the same-old statement authorized for distribution by the Windows spokespeople.)

When will Microsoft release the promised public betaof SP1 to Vista testers? Back in early July, Microsoft told selected testers its plan of record was to get the private beta in key "influencers'" hands in mid-July and a public beta would follow "shortly thereafter." Microsoft is telling everyone else a beta of SP1 will be available some time this year -- and they they don't need it, anyway, since Microsoft has been rolling out fixes and updates regularly via Windows Update.

Microsoft also told selected testers earlier this summer that, if testing went smoothly, the final Vista SP1 would be out in November 2007. Microsoft isn't telling everyone else anything about final SP1 availability.

Back to the age-old question: Why has the Windows team become so intent on restricting information about a first service pack for a version of Windows that seemingly could benefit from one?

Sources say the new Windows client watchword is "translucency," as opposed to "transparency." Steven Sinofsky, the head of Windows and Windows Live engineering, blogged a few weeks back about the distinction, sources say. (Sinofsky's blog is, not surprisingly, an internal-only one. His external-facing blog went inactive in March 2006.)

"I know many folks think that this type of corporate 'clamp down' on disclosure is 'old school' and that in the age of corporate transparency we should be open all the time. Corporations are not really transparent. Corporations are translucent. All organizations have things that are visible and things that are not. Saying we want to be transparent overstates what we should or can do practically—we will share our plans in a thoughtful and constructive manner," according an alleged excerpt from Sinofsky's internal blog posting, shared by a source who requested translucency.

But just because "leaks" make for more work for the Microsoft teams working with press, analysts, customers and partners doesn't mean real information-sharing should be dialed-back to zero. And while the transparency policy in place during the development of Windows Vista may not have been fun for Microsoft -- and is now allegedly being blamed by Sinofsky as the reason Vista had so few drivers and applications certified as compatible when it came out of the gate -- is going 180-degrees in the opposite way really a better solution?

So we're officially in the new era of translucency (as in shower curtain, not window, pun intended). Given the new rules, if anyone wants to share information on Vista SP1 privately, feel free to drop me an e-mail.

Topics: Microsoft, Windows


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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  • Shhhh!.....who cares?

    I don't because I use Linux, as most people I know do....
    Linux Geek
    • Lots, actually

      Most people don't know you, I would assume.

      When SP1 hits, and large corporate users start installing, it will make those numbers look tiny in comparison.
      • Vista Is Being Left Behind by Business

        The hardware costs, and memory demands of this operating system means it will be left in the bin in the hopes that the next version will be better (or the linux desktop market matures).

        No service pack is going to fix the fact that Vista is a hardware hog.
    • I care.

      Because I use Windows (Vista, of course if I used XP I would still care) as most people in the WORLD do....
    • Message has been deleted.

    • Sad

      Not to offend, but you're either not observant, not telling the truth, or you need more friends if "most people" you know run Linux.
  • I've never seen so much coverage for a service pack... one individual. Sheesh
    • Slow news day...

      ... and gotta keep that churn up for the advertizers!
      Confused by religion
    • Actually...

      the last XP service pack generated a ton of coverage.
    • Coverage Is Appropriate, Where's the Beef?

      Of course there is maximum coverage of service packs. Everyone is hoping the next service pack will finally save them from the folly of Microsoft.

      In the end, these hopes will be dashed. But hope springs eternal...

      Maybe this is the real reason Micosoft fiddles instead of delivers. Promises are easier to sell than bloated memory sucking software.
  • Thanks.

    Thank you Mary for always keeping us updated on news about Vista SP1. Windows Vista SP1 means a lot to many of my friends because that's when they think they'll purchase Windows Vista.
  • what the, Beta and prebeta

    Who invents this beta and pre-beta words. the meaning are as ambiguous as Windows touts its secure.
    • Not prebeta, its called Alpha.

      I'm betting you knew that though and just wanted something to rant about.
      • Alpha Beta ??

        All sounds Greek to me !!
        Richard Turpin
  • Why so hush-hush?

    Maybe, because it isn't going to be the be-all fixer-upper that most people have been waiting for.

    A lot of people are waiting for that SP to qualm their fears of moving into what so far has been rather problematic for others. That is why this SP is being covered so heavily.

    It doesn't seem, from what I have read, that this SP is going to be fixing the major compatibility headaches (the no.1 reason people are waiting).
    Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
  • Big deal about the ID # what is in it?

    I don't care what the dame ID # is what is in SP 1 what does it fix or replace?

    Does is modify the UAC?
  • Is this the same sp1 you said would be out in mid july

    ahem. seems like your reporting is shoddy
    • Same

      Yes, this is the pre-beta mid-July build that testers said they were told by Microsoft to expect.

      I quoted from that message to testers here:

      Microsoft told certain testers in early July: ?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."

      I'm curious why you blame the messenger if the dates Microsoft delivered the code are different from what they told testers. Either Microsoft delayed giving them the code when they expected to, or testers were too scared to talk about getting the code if they received it "on time." ....
      Mary Jo Foley
  • stick a FORK in it when its done !

    "pre-beta of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1"

    i would call a noob a pre-beta.
    and don't that mean Alpha - like just thought to try.

    thanks for more useless information. . .
    not of this world
  • Forget SP1, Q938194 and Q938979 are OUT

    Sooner than expected, that's for sure.

    BTW, Mary, I think something is wrong with your Email links in this blog. With Outlook anyway, the Subject and body get filled in -- but crucially, not the email address!