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Microsoft releases Vista SP1 details

The company has published details of the issues Windows Vista Service Pack 1 will address and promised efficiency gains

Microsoft has revealed details of the changes to its Vista operating system that should come through in Service Pack 1, which is currently in beta form.

In a detailed document, Microsoft promised significant efficiency improvements. In a tacit admission that Vista, as it stands, is not satisfactorily efficient when copying files, Microsoft promised to cut the time spent copying files on a single machine by a quarter, and the time taken to copy from one Service Pack 1 (SP1) machine to another by half.

Microsoft also claimed that SP1 would reduce the time Vista takes to read large images by 50 percent and address a problem which can cause a five-minute delay when booting ReadyDrive hard drives.

Microsoft confirmed that it will address security vendors' concerns over restricted access to the Vista kernel, due to the Kernel Patch Protection feature in the operating system, by providing APIs for the 64-bit version of Vista.

"These APIs have been designed to help security and non-security ISVs [independent software vendors] develop software that extends the functionality of the Windows kernel on 64-bit systems in a documented and supported manner, and without disabling or weakening the protection offered by Kernel Patch Protection," Microsoft claimed in the document.

Both Symantec and McAfee voiced concerns in the autumn of 2006 that APIs were not available for the 64-bit version of Vista, claiming that restricted access to the kernel would hamper anti-malware development efforts.

The EU at the time also had broader antitrust concerns over Vista, caused by Microsoft's entry into the security market with its OneCare anti-malware offering and Forefront enterprise security product. Microsoft responded by releasing draft APIs for Vista last December.