On Monday the 4th of February Microsoft announced that Windows Vista Service Pack 1 had been released to manufacturing. Although the code has been finalized, Windows Vista users won't start to get their hands for a few weeks. I've been fortunate to be sent the SP1 installer files, along with a complete copy of Vista with SP1 integrated into it. It's time to fire up a test system and see what happens.
Given the fact that my ZDNet blogging colleague George Ou had some pretty negative experiences with installing SP1 (one machine seems to have eaten a dirt sandwich, which another is ill after having taken a few bites) I demonstrated great restraint in not throwing caution to the wind and installing the update straight onto my main work system. Instead I chose a test system that's reserved for these kinds of things.
Check out the complete SP1 installation gallery here.
For those interested in such things, here's the spec of the system:
This system scores a 4.5 on the Windows Experience Index (the top end of the scale is 5.9). The Windows Vista installation on this system is relatively fresh and the system is very reliable when in use at present. The system in up-to-date on all patches.
For this first test I decided to apply SP1 to the existing installation - the way that most people will be taking their SP1 pill. I carried out no preparatory work prior to installing SP1 (that would be cheating). The installation was carried out off the CD that I was sent by Microsoft.
I can report that the installation went without a hitch. The process took 52 minutes (from running starting to run the installer to getting back to a usable Windows desktop). The system rebooted five (yes, you read that right, 5) times.
I'm not ready to publish any benchmark test results yet, but on first blush SP1 feels snappier than Vista RTM. Manipulating files certainly feels a lot better and many of those awful (and workflow disrupting) lags are gone.
Over the next few days I'll be sharing more of my experiences here. If you want to keep updated about SP1 and how it handles a variety of tasks on a selection of PCs, subscribe to the Hardware 2.0 RSS feed.
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