Want to test Vista SP1? Anyone can, starting next week

Want to test Vista SP1? Anyone can, starting next week

Summary: As you heard here last week, Microsoft is making the Release Candidate (RC) test build of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 available to a private group of testers this week and to the general public the week of December 10. Microsoft started its week-plus rollout of the RC 1 bits today, December 5.


As you heard here last week, Microsoft is making the Release Candidate (RC) test build of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 available to a private group of testers this week and to the general public the week of December 10.

Microsoft confirmed its RC rollout plans on December 5. Today, Wednesday, the company made the Vista SP1 RC bits available via Microsoft Connect to the same 15,000 testers it provided with the RC preview. On December 6, Thursday, Microsoft plans to make the Vista SP1 RC bits available on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and TechNet, officials said. And next week, the week of the 10th, Microsoft plans to make the Vista SP1 RC build available to anyone interested in downloading it from the Microsoft Download site.

Microsoft is still on track to deliver the final SP1 bits in the first calendar quarter of 2008, officials said.

Vista SP1 includes security, performance and reliability updates. Microsoft is emphasizing that in spite of the security updates, Vista SP1 won't break applications on anywhere near the scale that Windows XP Service Pack 2 did when it was released in 2004.

David Zipkin, Senior Product Manager with Windows Client, said Microsoft has managed to shrink significantly the size of the standalone installation packages for Vista SP1 since the company made a beta of the service pack available this summer. As itemized on the Windows Vista Team Blog, Microsoft has cut the size of the installer package between 37 percent (for the five-language pack) to 58 percent (for the package encompassing all languages). Microsoft also has cut back "significantly" the amount of disc space needed for SP1.

The size of the SP1 has been one of the major points of criticm by testers of the early builds of the service pack.

Zipkin uncharacteristically shared a bit of advance information about Microsoft's rollout plans for the final SP1 build.

Microsoft plans to release Vista SP1 in two waves: Vista SP1 for Microsoft's five primary languages (English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese) shortly after the product is released to manufacturing. Eight to 12 weeks later, it will roll out the final SP1 installers for all languages, Zipkin said.

Microsoft is planning to make available, as it did with Windows XP SP2 and other Windows releases, a blocking tool that administrators can use to prevent Windows Vista SP1 from being pushed onto users' desktops before they have tested sufficiently the update.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software


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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  • SP1; I hope this fixes the issues...

    Mary Jo:

    I am an optimist and I do hope that Vista RC SP1, least the final will fix Vista to make it it even more stable without breaking Apps.

    Over time, thus far, Microsoft has made good headway in stabilizing and fixing a good many fixes with this operating system. I have a large and powerful PC workstation and of course, I have just made a complete backup of the entire OS in the event that RC1 fails. I am looking forward to test and evaluate this Service Pack. I also realize there will be issues with RC SP1 -- Really, I've been with Microsoft for a good many years to know nothing goes out without a hitch.

    Still, I like Vista and on this system, I just put Vista on a clean install and of course, my software is the latest not to mention the latest hardware -- So we'll see.

    Thanks for the heads up!
    • the old stuff is not secure

      i can understand the sentiment about the old hardware/software. i love my old dos games and feel kind of ripped off when i can't play them on my new machines. truth is - if that's your bag, stick with the old OS. all that stuff is from another time, before most people making software (for windows, anyway) started to take security seriously. it's actually a lot easier than you might think to write a security hole. if you're not paying close attention to the right things, it will creep into your software's design, whether it's Windows, Linux, Mac, Mobile, or Web - then, all it takes is a little popularity and you're a target.

      It's unfortunate that there are old apps that don't work on Vista. It is sad to see software die because the new systems don't support it for whatever reason. The thing is it's really a bigger problem for Vista than it was for, say, Windows 98, or even XP because 1) there's more OSes to be backward compatible with, and 2) they're all pre-SDL OSes - meaning there's probably numerous security implications to fully supporting backward compat with them. Integrated virtualization sounds like a promising solution (can you say "sandbox"?), but I think that's going to take some time to get right. SP1 will make Vista better (faster, more reliable, etc), but it's not going to perform miracles.
    • So I get Vista for free

      to give it a whirl or do I have to dole out my hard earned cash to test drive its bug fixes?
  • I'll test it

    How much are they paying?
    • A special deal just for you

      [i]Today, Wednesday, the company made the Vista SP1 RC bits available via Microsoft Connect to the same 15,000 testers it provided with the RC preview.[/i]

      I spoke with my rep and he said MS was prepared to pay you 100,000 times more than they paid the other 14,999 testers!!! ;)
      • Cute

        • we're all M$ beta testers

          whether by choice or not, so 100,000 times more than 0, still = 0, right?
  • Why Vista?

    February 26th, 2007 - [b]about 800 programs labeled as Vista friendly[/b]

    and how about Linux?

    So, why Vista, not Linux? Is it just because Gates wants it?


    Apache - the most popular web server on the Internet since April 1996, and currently hosting more than 70 percent of Internet websites.

    The Linux market is growing rapidly, and the revenue of servers, desktops, and packaged software running Linux is expected to exceed $35.7 billion by 2008.


    IDC's report for Q1 2007 says that Linux now holds 12.7% of the overall server market.[28] This estimate was based on the number of Linux servers sold by various companies.

    Most modern versions of Linux will still run on a Pentium 1 with 128 MB RAM. Some distributions, such as Slackware, will run on an i486 with 16 MB RAM

    Linux software

    Microsoft's Linux ad 'misleading'
    • I Bet You Have

      I bet you have a betamax at home and tell everybody it's the next big thing. I've heard this Linux is making headway for 10 years now, and it's still being used only by the same old people.
      Psst. Want to buy a Video 2000? Much better than betamax, can even turn the video cassette over like a audio cassette. That's going to be then next big thing...
      • When I helped an old woman with her brand-new Vista-based laptop (Compaq)..

        ..., which she was not able to activate on her own, I told her about Linux.

        She didn't know much about Windows and Linux and due to this she had no preferences.

        She was upset that Vista came with no Word processor and she has to pay $hundreds to get it. When I told her that Linux is free and she can get similar to MS Office software, plus games she like and other apps for free too and IT"S LEGAL - she wanted to have it... despite the fact I activated her Vista ...

        Was there any reason for her to go with Vista instead of Linux?

        How many users need Vista when it cannot run most apps or has issues with apps, is full of bugs, expensive, etc.?
        • incompatible operating systems

          I want to know why Bill Gates keep him out of the operating systems that don't work in the first place. It took me a couple years to get my XP system to work properly. Now, I bought a vista operating system and a won't work half the programs that my XP system does. If you burn me once that's my fault. It's also my fault that I tried Windows a second time. You can bet my next computer will be an Apple.
          • No backward compabibility is whose fault? OEM's one? (NT)

          • My next computer WAS an Apple ... just one week ago

            And i can tell you ... that Mac Mini works perfectly - just out of the box - with many good apps - and finally much much cheaper considering total cost of ownership !

            To all those never learning Windows Fans: enjoy Beta testing, etc. !
          • like Leopard?

            Broke tiger drivers, broke applications.
            The grass is not greener on that side of the fence. Certainly not on Linux either. Grandma on Linux, thats a good one. Be prepared to be there alot more often than if you set her up on Linux. If she can figure out how to run Vista's wizards, she has no hope of troubleshooting a Linux box.
          • A few years ago

            I would have agreed with you. However, after trying the new versions of Ubuntu and Fedora, I can't agree with you. Wizards are not necessarily user friendly and some of them can be quite cryptic in Windows.

            For a new user there is going to be learning curve no matter which OS they choose. The newer Linux GUIs are a lot more user friendly than they used to be. Maybe, they are not as user friendly to someone who is used to Windows, but then again Windows was not all that user friendly to someone who was used to DOS.

            Of course, what he failed to mention to her was that much of OSS software out there will also run on Windows. I currently have Open Office running on my Windows machine (I have XP on the machine and not Vista, but if Open Office doesn't run on Vista right now, it will in the future).
          • Good apps?

            Let me see what apps I got with my iMac- ahh yes Microsoft Office - oops it craps out after 60 days. iLife, Nope, half of it requires a.Mac account to be usable and you have to pay for that. iWork? No, gotta pay for that too! So i got a $2000 computer with a few very simple apps (nice but scarcely much to write home about - how many of us use garage band - really?), a computer that's hardly upgradeable (laptop on a stick anyone?) that has limited compatibility with many websites (shame on you Microsoft for the Hotmail website - but many others too), that does indeed crash or hang (despite people's protestations that it doesn't) fairly regularly (I agree that the cause is third party software for the most part but if people can't write error free software what good is it?), that is supposed to be regionalized but isn't really despite the nice little national flag on the screen.

            You know, I think I'll stick to my Windows XP. It gives me far fewer headaches than the iMac. I'm sorry but I just don't buy the sizzle in the Apple ads, I'm looking for the steak, and I get that from my trusty old XP machine. It plays Crysis too!

            Mac users, go back to playing with yourselves - makes you blind you know - as any one can see from your posts
          • Don't Like Mac?

            Hmm. Microsoft Office. If you actually buy it (Student) you have the 3 main programs that Microsoft has to offer. And the current version is comparable to the Office for Vista (I have both).
            iLife? No need for a .mac account (Although I have one) and iTunes has almost everything I ever wanted to download. If you are upset with your application vision, Codeweavers has a Excellent software program that supports most of your Windows and XP (Not Vista yet) applications in a native manner. You should look at it.

            As to Crash/Hang problems, I don't run into those very often. Then again, I use Enterogue as a Mail client, not Exchange. So I don't have the application taking over my computer at times.

            Would like to talk about this with some depth. But only if you can discuss without flames (I don't play with myself.I have others that do that for me.)
        • What if she is using it to run Family Tree Maker?

          . . . after all, that is one of the biggest uses older people make of computers. I know that the run of the mill geek does not realize it, but genealogy has become big business and is responsible for a huge chunk of the domestic overnight tourism industry. I have had to help several people who had been "helped" by another geek who sold them on Linux only to find out that only the least user-friendly genealogical database software is available to them - and most of the commercial CD based databases won't run either.

          I hope you talked to her about that before selling her on Linux.
        • I hope you stay around as continuous help ...

          I keep trying Linux distros and keep dumping them because just
          surfing the web I keep running into stone walls (IE: Flash,
          Real, etc) that although supported are not packaged/installed by
          Unless/until this ideological feud by "open source" proponents and
          "proprietary" proponents is resolved, average users like this lady
          are going to get frustrated and resort BACK to Vista.
          Until Linux "just works" MS will have the upper hand even with
          the less than satisfactory performance of Vista.
        • Switching to Linux ..... yeah, right

          So I'm installing Linux for my dad since open source is the only way to go and the applications are free. The wireless card isn't working, I see you need restricted drivers, okay Dad, install those ... still not working? ... you may need to recompile .....what kernel version are you .... from the terminal do a sudo dpkg,.... wget .... back tick Dad, not single quote .... desktop manager, ummmm, just give it up! I have an OEM of XP I'm not using, I'll be right over.