Vista SP1 beta 1 to launch in mid-July

Vista SP1 beta 1 to launch in mid-July

Summary: It's official: We are now in the under-promise and over-deliver era at Microsoft. Beta 1 of Vista Service Pack 1 is coming -- with shut-down, CPU performance and other fixes -- earlier than expected. And the final Vista SP1 is looking like November 2007.

TOPICS: Microsoft, Windows

It's official: We are now in the under-promise and over-deliver era at Microsoft.

Just when Microsoft had customers, partners and competitors all believing that it was going to delay the first service pack for Vista -- not releasing a first beta of it until just before year-end -- the company is set to deliver Beta 1 of Vista SP1 in mid-July.

Word (from various sources who asked not to be named) is Microsoft is gearing up to drop Vista SP1 some time the week of July 16. And despite what Microsoft seemingly led Google, the U.S. Department of Justice and other company watchers to believe, the final version of Vista SP1 is sounding like November 2007.

(November 2007 is also the release-to-manufacturing target for Windows Server 2008, sources say. Microsoft won't provide an RTM date for Windows Server 2008, other than to say it is still on track to RTM before the end of 2007.)

If Vista SP1 is released in November, the Windows client team will be sticking to a schedule company officials outlined a year ago, when the official plan of record was to release Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 (Longhorn Server) simultaneously.

Another observation: If Microsoft releases Vista SP1 in November, it will have been in beta for an unusually short four months. In the past, Microsoft Windows service packs could be in beta for a year or longer.

Microsoft officials have been wavering over what to say about SP1 for the past year. Throughout that time, a number of company execs wouldn't even admit they were planning to release a service pack for Vista at all.

Microsoft's Windows client team, under Director of Windows Engineering Steven Sinofsky, has adopted a much more restrictive information-flow policy. Instead of over-promising and under-delivering, Sinofsky wants the client team to do the opposite. To achieve this, the client team is attempting to institute Apple-like secrecy over anything pertaining to future Windows client directions.

There was a tiny chink in the Windows organization's armor in June, when Microsoft agreed to Google's demand that it alter its desktop-search functionality, seemingly to head off another potential antitrust suit. In late June, the Redmondians said they'd have a Beta 1 version of SP1 (which would include alterations to Vista's search) before the end of calendar 2007. They declined to provide a date for the final Vista SP1 release.

History aside, what's on tap to be part of Vista SP1?

Microsoft is expected to emphasize that SP1 is more about fixes than new features. Most of the elements of SP1 are expected to enhance or supplement features that are already part of Vista, sources said.

In addition to desktop-search modifications, here's a list of other fixes likely to make it in:

* Performance tweaks lessening the amount of time it takes to copy files and shut down Vista machines (Yeah, I know Microsoft said Viista shutdown speed wasn't an issue. Guess users weren't so crazy, after all.) * Improved transfer performance and decreased CPU utilization via support for SD Advanced Direct Memory Access (DMA) * Support for ExFat, the Windows file format for flash memory storage and other consumer devices * Improvements to BitLocker Drive Encryption to allow not just encryption of the whole Vista volume, but also locally created data volumes * The ability to boot Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) on an x64 machine * Improved success rate for firewalled MeetingSpace and Remote Assistance connections

I asked Microsoft officials for a response on Vista SP1's timing and feature set. I did not hear back before posting this blog entry. (If and when I do get a response, I will add it here.)

Update: Here's the response I got from a Windows client spokesman late in the day on July 9: "The Windows Vista team is working hard on the service pack, and our current expectation is that a beta will be made available sometime this year."

There may be more in Vista SP1 than what's on this list. That's all I've heard so far. Anything you're hoping makes it in that's not listed here?

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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  • Best news I've read all day!

    Vista with UAC turned off is the best version of Windows in my honest opinion. Can't wait to see performance improvements!

    I do not like the Apple like secrecy, it takes away from the conversations that would usually occur on the MSDN blogs or Channel 9.
    • RE: Best news...

      but UAC is the best part of Vista.
  • This is unreal...

    Sinofsky once again hits it far, hits it deep, hits it OUT OF THE PARK. I called an emergency meeting of my MCSEs today. They went into the office and I called from the pool at home. I told them to prepare for the SP1 media and prepare to deploy and deploy without prejudice. Right now, Vista is DESTROYING all-comers in the client space. It is so powerful, it is so robust and now with SP1, it WILL BE BETTER THAN EVER!!!! We are now in the WOW SP1 phase of operations. I want to thank Mary Jo for reporting on this HUGE NEWS!
    Mike Cox
    • Old Jokes

      Same joke version #103. Mike get a life, even better get a better joke book.
    • GEEZ have I got news for you !

      This is a last ditch effort to get back up in sales . . and its going to take a DVD size SP1 to patch the holes in it and all its problems with WGA shutting it down . .Long may MS push its WGA right back to the bottom of the list of OS's to use . . Me I will stick with moving EVERYTHING to Linux and Never see those Patch Tuesday's again . . [b]And I can do all the stuff any windows computer can do, INSIDE of Linux ! [/b]
      • jackie40d give me some links to the mass shut downs of os's

        jackie40d give me some links to the mass shut downs of os's, i see you guys talk about them and if your facts are right man theres a lot of computers out there that WGA has just killed.

        and if thats so it should not be to hard to give me a link.

        wrong does it happen on a very few computers 0000.1% if something happens you are given time to reactivate it so your argument is FUD.

        and if it's not give us a link to where all these os's being killed are.
        SO.CAL Guy
    • Hey Mikey....

      Do us a favor and ask your rep where the hell our Ultimate Extra's are!

      If anyone can find out, you can :)
    • Me too Mike, I filed my teeth and await SP1 arrival

      I'm in total AWE, mystified and hamstrung with anticipation of SP1 coming out so soon. This will put all doubters at ease as they all thought Vista was rushed to market, silly people,
    • addendum

      MaryJo failed to mention the upcoming Vista SP1 downgrade to Vista Bloz. It is expected to release simultaneously with the Vista Ultimate Supreme Immaculate Gold Version.

      I have turned off UAC. Don't want it, don't need it, can't stand it. It keeps trying to turn itself back on. I keep saying NO, Heck NO.
  • How about removing the DRM?

    The WGA and the phone home to Redmond

    Why not just remove all the Microsoft
    installed rootkits, trojans, and

    Then, if they reduced the price at least
    50% it might be a halfway decent system?
    Ole Man
    • Cripes you're sounding like a broken record! don't like Vista's WGA and assocaited cruft. Fine, we get it. Don't use it and move on with your life. It gets old reading the same ole same ole from you all the time.
      • To simplistic a view

        If only I could use something else. Too bad the software I use only runs on Windows. Sure I could stick with XP but for how long? Eventually I'll have to move to Vista unless something drastic changes in the software world and the software I use suddenly goes Linux or Mac. Doubt that will happen however. So then I'm stuck with Vista.

        Personally I don't see the issue with DRM and WGA. I've heard and seen some weirdness with it but I've not personally experienced any problems as I'm not running Vista yet.
        • Use whatever works.

          This concept of one being better than the other. Each offers their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Todays operating systems are more similar that different. IMO the only thing to differentiate between them is personal preference (after software availability). Each is just as capable as the other.

          As for sticking with XP...stay with it as long as it works for you. When it finally doesn't evaluate your options and choose what works best for you at that time.

          As for DRM/WGA I haven't had any problems with it either. Nor has anyone I've known. While I dislike it I understand why Microsoft has implemented it I certainly am not going to say that Vista is a bad OS because of it. Soon you'll see DRM in other operating systems. That is if usage of protected content is to be added to the OS like it is in Windows.
        • Have you tried running it in XP compatibility mode?

          I have found a few niche programs that are used extensively at some sites, will run on a Vista machine in XP compatibility mode just fine. <br>
          If you don't want to run Vista, then you should lobby the software vendor. I'm not saying you are blaming this on Microsoft, but the more people hear others are "locked in" the more it sounds like Microsoft is to blame when they are not.
        • Similar to Windows 95

          Windows 95 also broke a lot of software that ran on Windows 3.1. These apps had to be run in "DOS mode" where the user restarted the computer to run in DOS instead of Windows. Eventually most companies got the idea and upgraded their applications to run on the latest version of Windows.

          It's not primarily Microsoft's fault that other software vendors haven't modified their software to work correctly on the latest version of Windows when it has been available in one form or another for some time now.

          (I could blame MS more for dropping support for older versions of Windows, since some vendors never do update their software...)
          • Recurring theme

            Planned obsolescence, or else software sales would take a huge dive. Imagine someone making software that works even on future OS's. Or giving away the work to update their software for each new OS.
            Mike Hunt
        • How can you be stuck with Vista if ur not running it ?

          Your post is a little peculiar and odd as you say you are stuck with Vista but you're not running it yet ? How does this become factual if one contradicts the other ? If you never upgrade or do anything aside from buy a computer with windows loaded and use the software that doesn't require Windows to verify or re activate, you are safe, count your blessings as many others have other experiences which are less than pleasant to deal with. Nobody, repeat nobody cares who uses what OS or why, it really doesn't affect them or anyone as to who uses what. The issues with MS is the way they force people to verify and activate, time and time and time again. If you bought a car, would you like to prove it's yours everytime you put new tires, had it serviced or parked it at a parking meter ? MS is just using people to spend their time and their dime to appease MS.
      • It's kinda like a tick

        You just have to keep picking at it because it causes some much annoyance when you have to report to Father Bill and Monkey Boy.
      • Message has been deleted.

        • I believe it's "Wile E." not willy.....? (NT)

          Mike Hunt