Vista SP2: What's inside?

Vista SP2: What's inside?

Summary: Over on the jkOnTheRun blog, Kevin Tofel posted the most complete list I've seen of what's in Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) -- which sounds like it is on track to RTM in April of 2009.

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Microsoft is continuing to broaden the pool of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) testers beyond the fairly small, select group who've been working with test builds for the past few months.

On December 2, Microsoft made the latest beta build of SP2 available for download by any TechNet and Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers.

Over on the jkOnTheRun blog, Kevin Tofel posted the most complete list I've seen of what's in Vista SP2. (Tofel's full list has disappeared, but not before I grabbed it. It's now at the bottom of this post.)

In addition to the known Vista SP2 features -- such as the ability to record data on to Blu-Ray media natively in Windows Vista and the addition of Windows Connect Now for simpler wifi configuration -- Tofel says SP2 also will include:

  • Built-in Hyper-V hypervisor
  • Event logging support in SPC
  • Fixes for DRM issues from WMP upgrades
  • Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless
  • Functionality to reduce resources required for sidebar gadgets
  • Improved power settings for Windows Server 2008

Note (added on December 3): Even though Microsoft originally listed Hyper-V as one of the features it would make available as part of Vista SP2, that information is incorrect. A company spokeswoman sent me the following update:

"Sorry for any confusion, but Hyper-V is in Windows Server 2008 SP2, not Windows Vista. Apparently it was listed incorrectly and they're correcting it now."

Microsoft made a first beta build of SP2 releases for both Vista and Windows Server 2008 available to select testers in late October. Company officials have said to expect the final Vista and Windows Server 2008 SP2 builds in the first half of 2009.

Last week, the Tech ARP site reported that Microsoft is targeting April 2009 as its final Vista SP2 release date. Given the Redmondians' desire to get Vista SP2 out the door before Windows 7 is released to manufacturing, April makes a lot of sense. The latest RTM targets I've heard for Windows 7 are in the June/July 2009 realm.

On a related note, speaking of service pack updates, the Windows Home Server team is readying its Power Pack 2 update for mid-2009. The second full-fledged release of Windows Home Server, which will possibly come in Basic and Premium editions, is now looking like a 2010 deliverable, according to APC Magazine.

Back to Vista and Windows Server 2008 SP2: Any testers out there anxiously awaiting any particular features?

Update: Tofel's list of Vista SP2 features is gone. Luckily, I saved his original full list. Here it is:

Emerging Hardware Support

•SP2 contains Blue tooth 2.1 feature pack supporting the most recent specification for Blue tooth technology •Ability to record data on Blu-Ray media, •Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration to Windows Vista SP2, •exFAT file system now supports UTC timestamps, which enables correct file synchronization across time zones. •SP2 provides support for new form factors, such as ICCD/CCID.  new form factor support --example USB form factor as opposed to PCMCIA). •Support for the new VIA 64-bit CPU Security

•SP2 includes all previously released security updates, and builds on the proven security benefits of Windows Vista •Secure Development Lifecycle process updates, where we identify the root cause of each security bulletin and improve our internal tools to eliminate code patterns that could lead to future vulnerabilities •Reliability •SP2 addresses previously released reliability updates, as well as addressing crashes, caused by Microsoft code,  discovered since the launch of SP1 Performance

•Resume performance when Wi-Fi connection is no longer available after resume from sleep •Inclusion of Windows Search 4 for improved indexing performance,  improved relevancy in search, broader indexing scenario inclusion, as well as new Group Policy integration for Windows Search, •Improvements to the RSS feeds sidebar gadget to improve update performance and responsiveness Application Compatibility

•It is our goal that applications that run on the Windows Vista Operating System today and are written using public APIs will continue to work as designed on Windows Vista SP2. •Previously released Application Compatibility updates are included in Windows Vista SP2. •Spysweeper and ZoneAlarm now working with POP3 email accounts Administration and Support Improvements

•Customers installing .net framework 3.5 service pack 1 will notice shorter download and installation times with Vista service pack 2 or Windows 2008 service pack 2 already installed, •Service Pack Clean up tool (Compcln.exe): This tool helps restore the hard disk space by permanently deleting the previous versions of the files (RTM & SP1) that are being serviced by Service Pack 2. •Single installer for both Vista & Server 2008 •Ability to detect an incompatible driver and block service pack installation or warn users of any loss of functionality •Better error handling and providing more descriptive error messages where possible •Better manageability through logging in system event log •Componentization for Serviceability of the installer Some Specific Fixes/Additions Include:

•Inclusion of Hyper-V •Event logging support in SPC •DNS Server now listens over ISATAP address •Fixes DRM issues from WMP upgrades •Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless •Reduction of resources required for sidebar gadgets •Improved power settings for WS08

Update No. 2: Microsoft is circulating a list of some of the hotfixes that is rolling up into Vista/Windows Server 2008 SP2. But Microsoft's list does not include all of the features of the service packs. Perhaps that is why Tofel's list was "disappeared."

Here's Microsoft's note on its own list of SP2 features:

 "This document contains a list of these updates with links to their descriptive pages on the Microsoft Web site http://support.microsoft.com. There are other updates in Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 that have not been released, and they are not presented in this list."

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

About

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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  • Windows Explorer

    Are they going to fix Windows Explorer? Things like remembering views, better copy performance, etc?
    velkymx@...
    • Copy Performance? How so? (NT)

      NT
      logicearth@...
      • Some sort of core sluggishness exists

        Opening the control panel, copying from one partition to another, and sometimes entering a directory with lots of files (1000+) causes strange pauses before Vista displays the requested information. It isn't a freeze - you can click on other stuff and Vista responds quickly, so I'm not sure what the issue is.

        I see this a couple times a week on my Home Premium SP1 system.
        croberts
        • Vista responds quickly??

          Every so often when I click on the start menu I have to wait 20-30 seconds for a response. Also Windows Explorer has crashed on me a number of times. During boot just after the desktop shows, the machine will look like its ready but it won't become respond for at least another 2 minutes.

          This is with a 2Ghz Core 2 and 2 Gigs of DRAM by the way... I also have Aero and the side bar disabled, despite having a GeForce 8800 GTX with 384 MB of DDR3 video DRAM.
          T1Oracle
          • I would...

            seriously consider taking a look at what drivers you're using and what you're doing to cause that. Possibly check into your hard drive, run some utilities to scan for issues, etc. I have an E8400 and 8 GB of memory (I like to multi-task, a lot) with 2-3 VMs usually running and often a DX9/10 game running in Windowed mode (so I don't have to tab out to do other stuff) with Aero enabled and have never had any pause when hitting the start key. Sometimes when I have too much going on it takes it 3-4 seconds to display the search results I typed in as I no longer navigate for programs instead just typing what I'm looking for and hitting enter but I have to think it's something with your setup.

            Judging from your general posts you seem competant with computers so I'm really not sure what could be causing that other than a malfunctioning driver or a failing HDD. Often times a HDD that is on the verge of failing will cause EXTREME slowdown on a PC as it's already the slowest component. It may continue to work but the motor begins to slow down. If a 7200 RPM drive is only spinning at 4000 RPMs you will notice a huge performance hit and the odd performance problems you're describing. The best way to know for sure is to download Process Explorer from www.sysinternals.com (now owned by MS but it will still get you where you need) which is far, far superior to Task Manager. There are 3 listings in particular you want to watch. Interrupt processor usage, "System" processor usage and Kernal time. You have to turn on Kernel time in one of the options. If when you get these extreme slowdowns that normally show little to no processor usage in Task Manager but show 10-50% on any of the 3 listed above it's pretty much guaranteed to be a failure in the IO Subsystem. Either motherboard, driver or hard drive.

            Hope that helps.
            LiquidLearner
          • i had a similar problem

            and it turned out it was my DVD drive that was failing! once i changed the drive, all issues went away (i had things like passwords disappearing, cookies not getting saved, none of which shud have a direct link to the DVD drive).
            reverseswing
          • Hardware?

            My system is only a year old. I dual boot Kubuntu and it runs just fine, I never see it slow down.

            I will check into driver issues, but I don't see how it could be a hardware problem. My HD does not click, I can run Crysis in Vista, and Kubuntu is fast.
            T1Oracle
          • HDD doesn't need to click to be failing...

            look for event 51 in your system event logs. I have a RAID 1 setup and I foolishly placed on of the HDDs in an area where there was not much case air flow. It over-heated and I get slow response and event 51 on that drive.

            BTW - I bought a new drive to replace it with about 3-4 months ago and have still not gotten around to it. Anybody got some "round tuits"? ;-)
            dunn@...
          • Do you have any network shares?

            I experienced this problem on my home network that has 3 Windows PCs and 1 Ubuntu linux box. 2 of the 3 Windows PCs use XP Pro and 1 has Vista. I share folders located on various internal and external HDs attached to all 4 devices. However, I do not always have all computers powered up all the time.

            I noticed extremely unsatisfactory boot times, as well as sluggish performance when I clicked on the "My Computer" icon, on the Vista box. There folders on drives on the other systems that I mapped as permanent shares. Since those systems were down, the Vista box would keep trying to connect. Boot times were taking up to 5 minutes, on more than 1 occasion it would take over 1/2 hour for the "My Computer" window to open. This only happened when 1 or more of the other non-Vista systems were offline. If all systems where I had established permanent shares were up, Vista booted crisply and the ridiculous amounts of time it took for the "My Computer" window to finally open returned to a second or two.

            I decided to remove the permanent shares since I really do not need to have all 4 systems with their various internal and external HDs up and running 24/7. Once I removed the shares, Vista booted fine just as it did when the permanently shared folders on my other systems behaved when powered up.

            XP and Ubuntu do not behave as Vista does with permanently mapped network shares. Vista appears to be persistent as it tries to re-establish the network mapping on boot and when you click on "My Computer". The good news is that I found a way to remove a very annoying problem on what has been otherwise a positive computing experience. I found no documentation that discusses this issue on the MS website but once I fixed the problem about 1 year ago I stopped looking.
            ThePrairiePrankster
          • Try enabling Aero

            Aero is meant to push a lot of graphical processing off to the graphics card. If you have any sort of a moddern video card (meaning, not an imbedded chip), your performance will actuallly be better WITH Aero than without. And the reverse is true: if you have integrated graphics, keep Aero off for better performance.
            FearTheDonut
          • You don't have a Seagate 1.5TB drive do you?

            Because there is a known issue with a bad batch of those drives?
            dunn@...
          • Your PC may be looking for phantom links...

            I have seen delays like those happen before and they were caused by links going to nowhere. This can happen when:
            - An user creates a link to a file/program on another PC in a network. If the machine is no longer present windows may still be trying to verify the link and timing out after a period of time (and this can be anywhere from 20 seconds to a couple of minutes depending on how many links).
            - In the case of roaming profiles (not that you use them) some may install programs that set their links under the user instead of under "All Users". The user then logs on another PC and windows tries to connect across the network yet again.

            In any case, you can easily create a log to find out what is causing this delay, I think there is a guide in this site somewhere.

            I have been using Vista since day one without any major issues besides the apparent slowdowns when copying lots of small files or a single HUGE file.
            magius
        • Performance is relevent to various factors of the HDD (NT)

          NT
          logicearth@...
          • Relevent to what?

            Same equipment test on Linux, Windows XP and Vista... Vista is 100x slower. Test it out for your self. Get 100 MP3s and copy them from one hard drive to another ... or USB to hard drive or CD to hard drive.
            velkymx@...
        • Sluggishness

          I have run into this problem several times in the past. Look for invalid shortcuts from software that has been uninstalled (on desktop and in program menues), invalid printer shortcuts, and invalid drive maps (if using a network).
          dtdalke
      • Explorer SLOOOOOOW

        Loading a folder with a couple of thousand mp3s, which is not uncommon, takes FOR-E-VER.

        Copying 50 from one location to another takes over a 5 minutes from a USB to my hard drive. On average I get less than 600 kbps over a USB 2.0 connection. Right now as I write this, I am copying 168 mp3s (829MB), with just over 22 minutes remaining at 800KB/sec - while USB 2.0 has theoretical limit of 480MB/sec - and flash drives having a limit of around 30MB/sec. Anyone else see the problem with that? (FYI: 1MB = 1000KB)

        Before everyone starts flaming about how its my hardware that is slow?. I am using a new USB 2.0 external drive with a Seagate 500GB SATA 3.0 drive, all connected to my new Intel Centrino Core 2 Duo notebook with a 4 foot USB cable - Vista was slow even when this hard drive was installed as the primary in my old desktop (also an Intel 965 with a Core 2 Duo).

        The same goes for cSSSSSLLLOOOOOWWWWW - In previous versions of Windows loading and copying files was a little slow with lots of files, but coping was relatively quick. Now loading a folder with a couple of thousand mp3s, which is not uncommon, takes FOR-E-VER.

        Copying 50 from one location to another takes over a 5 minutes from a USB to my hard drive. On average I get less than 600 kbps over a USB 2.0 connection. Right now as I write this, I am copying 168 mp3s (829MB), with just over 22 minutes remaining at 800KB/sec - while USB 2.0 has theoretical limit of 480MB/sec - and flash drives having a limit of around 30MB/sec. Anyone else see the problem with that? (FYI: 1MB = 1000KB)

        Before everyone starts flaming about how its my hardware that is slow?. I am using a new USB 2.0 external drive with a Seagate 500GB SATA 3.0 drive, all connected to my new Intel Centrino Core 2 Duo notebook with a 4 foot USB cable - Vista was slow even when this hard drive was installed as the primary in my old desktop (also an Intel 965 with a Core 2 Duo).

        Copying across an gitabyte lan is another great example. Copying the same 168 MP3 across the network topped out at 120 Kbps. 1 hour 45 minutes.

        XP tops out at around 1.5 MB/s Linux the same. Infact copying the same MP3s from the USB to Linux hard drive took just 3 minutes.

        Its not about Linux though.... I really want Vista to work!!!
        velkymx@...
        • Fully Agree

          I fully agree that the copy/transfer functions are brutally slow in Vista.

          The slow copy/transfer speeds in Vista, and the time it takes for Vista to even *start* processing the copy/move on a lot of files is ridiculous - it's THE reason I left Vista (even though the other stuff seemed fine).

          Gee, I'd like to move these 300 files from A to B...Vista sits and ponders your request for a looong time BEFORE it even *starts* to slowly move the files (as you grow a beard). With XP, the process starts right away and transfers quickly. (and I have a FAST system!)

          We develop microsoft apps and our clients would chase us down with pitchforks and torches if our apps did that.
          Smarty_Pantz
          • Use Teracopy

            Yeah I know Vista is like extremely slow in copying stuff...That's why you should use Teracopy. My copying speeds were IMMENSELY boosted using Teracopy. You just need to integrate Teracopy into the explorer shell and it will take over copying/moving. Most of all...it's free.

            http://www.codesector.com/teracopy.php

            Have fun.
            zomgguy
        • Re: Explorer SLOOOOOOW

          Do you have SP1 installed? One of the issues that MS fixed in SP1 was the slow transfer times.
          justanitguy
          • FIXED - Why do so many people drink that KoolAid?

            The issue wasn't ever FIXED. The did IMPROVE the crappy performance of vista with SP1 - NOT FIXED!!!!!
            boed