Windows Vista Service Pack 1 ready for Download
After weeks of uncertainty, SP1 for Vista is finally ready for public download. Microsoft is already delivering the big Vista update through the automatic update function.
Microsoft actually completed SP1 for Vista by the beginning of February, although it was only made available for selected groups. But anybody who wants to can now download SP1 in both 32-bit and 64-bit installations from Microsoft's Download Center.
This is the initial "Wave 0" version of SP1, which is only in the English, German, Spanish, and French languages. A second variant, known as "Wave 1", which will update Vista in all of its other language versions, will be released at a later time – the exact date is not yet clear. The installation packages update all versions of Vista from Starter to Ultimate. The 32-bit variant is 434 MB and the x64 packet is 726 MB.
The Windows update function, on the other hand, downloads a significantly leaner version, which only contains data for the version and language installed on the system. Depending on how current the updates for the existing installation are, the download should be around 70 MB. Installing SP1 can take several hours and requires, at least temporarily, several GB of free space on the hard drive.
SP1 does not perform any fundamental upgrades, but mainly fixes faults and problems. Once the update is complete, Vista is supposed to be faster at copying and unpacking files and the user account manager will not require so many confirmations. Microsoft provides an overview of the updates in Service Pack 1 in a white paper.
The reason for Microsoft's delay in releasing SP1 for download was partly that it wanted to give hardware and software vendors time to make their products compatible with SP1 and to work out any errors, which in some cases was desperately needed. Microsoft had to concede, for example, that certain drivers prevented SP1 from being installed – specifically, it was the setup programs for the drivers which began running during the SP1 installation. Microsoft has not revealed which drivers were affected, so it is not clear yet if the problem is been corrected. Microsoft has already released a list of certain applications that cause problems.
Because of known problems, a backup should be created to play it safe before attempting to install SP1. Vista Ultimate users that wish to install language packages after the fact would do better to wait for "Wave 1", since postinstallation of the package does not work under "Wave 0".
(Axel Vahldiek/c't) /