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05 February 2008, 10:02

Vista Service Pack 1 is ready

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Microsoft has released the first service pack — or, more precisely, the first version of the complete pack, called Wave 0 — for Windows Vista simultaneously with Server 2008. The release was announced in the Vista Team blog.

The Wave 0 service pack updates all versions of Vista — from Starter to Ultimate — in five languages; English, German, French, Spanish and Japanese. but there are still separate 32 and 64 bit versions. An expanded version will follow in the second wave, Wave 1), which will update all other languages in which Vista is available. Depending on the language, these complete packs will range from 500MB to 800MB in size. Installation using the automatic updater is significantly faster, since it only transfers version and language-specific data, which can be as small as 50MB depending on the version.

SP1, which consists mainly of bug fixes and error patches, does not offer much new functionality; a Technet article gives an overview of its contents. Alongside the bug-fixes, Microsoft is stepping up its campaign against unlicensed use of Windows, but is expanding its "reduced functionality mode" in response to pressure from big corporate clients. Microsoft is also including code from the newly completed Server 2008 which makes patch management easier. After a complaint from Google, SP1 has also modified the search function.

Delivery of SP1 will take place in stages. Wave 0 is currently being released to mainstream PC manufacturers, and production of new Vista packages with integrated SP1 will begin immediately. In mid-March SP1 will appear in Microsoft's download centre, where it can be downloaded manually. By the middle of April, SP1 will be available as an automatic update. In the same month, delivery of the expanded version for all other languages will also begin.

A prerequisite for installing SP1 is that the computer has to be up to the current patch level — all of the critical updates Microsoft delivers via the update function actually have to be installed. According to Microsoft, there is a small list of devices with drivers not programmed in accordance with Microsoft's guidelines that could cause problems. To play safe, the SP1 installation setup program terminates when it detects such a device.

The SP1 installation itself can take several hours. Using the Vista DVD with integrated SP1 the installation takes no longer than installing Vista without SP1, but you cannot create such a Vista DVD yourself, since there is no integrate function unlike previous service packs. The DIY integrated installation pack will not be available again until SP2 is released.


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