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What Vista SP1 Means To You 340

An anonymous reader writes " has an interview with Nick White, Microsoft's Vista Product Manager, covering the upcoming release of Vista SP1. The interview goes over some of the new features, how the change will affect admins, and how Microsoft decides if a change should be rolled out as an update or as part of the service pack. One of the most interesting questions asks whether people should feel that they have to wait until SP1 to upgrade to the operating system, a common practice with Windows users. White writes off this practice as no longer being necessary and notes how Windows Update has lessened the importance of the release of a service pack. Just the same, a article explores the possibility that this update will finally begin driving users to Vista."
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What Vista SP1 Means To You

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  • by eln ( 21727 ) * on Thursday August 30, 2007 @03:34PM (#20415371)
    Vista SP1 means fresh material to pick on Microsoft for. So now, instead of having a year of the same old "Vista sucks and is failing" articles on Slashdot day after day, we'll have fresh new material like "Vista SP1 sucks and is failing."
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30, 2007 @03:43PM (#20415497)
      What it means to me is enough freelance support work that I'll be able to afford a new Mac. On the downside, it's the IT equivalent of working with raw sewage.
    • Don't be fooled by his attempt to confuse the issue. Microsoft Windows is EXPENSIVE, in my opinion, and becoming more so. We often have had to re-load Windows XP to remove system instability caused by sloppy coding and by system files modified by malware.

      It has been more than 2 years since WinXP service pack 2 was released ( August 25, 2004 []), even though updating Windows XP from an SP2 CD requires downloading more than 170 Megabytes of files, a difficult problem when there is no internet connection or onl
  • Didn't I just read in the Slashdot Vista news earlier "The service pack is said to improve performance and stability, not to add features."
    • That being said, the message for Windows Vista SP1 is don't expect new features, but some components do gain new functionality.

      So ... the new "functionality" will not be a new "feature".

      I guess we're going to have to re-write the old "it's not a bug, it's a feature".

      Meanwhile, we'll be seeing new bugs in the new "functionality" that is not a new "feature".
      • Re:From TFA: (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:13PM (#20416717) Journal
        New features, my shiny pink ass. I want an operating system that runs Sonar and Premiere and Eve-Online, and runs them fast and with little hassle. I want an operating system that doesn't snoop on me or limit my ability to manipulate the data on my machine in any way I desire. I want an operating system that doesn't pretend to know what's good for me better than I do myself, and I want an operating system that uses my computing resources efficiently.

        In other words, I either want an updated XP Pro or OSX that will run on my own sweet hardware.

        In regards to Microsoft's "commitment to Service Pack 3", I've got a sick feeling that XP SP3 is going to try to basically bolt on most of the horrible shit in Vista onto my XP system. Microsoft's clearly pissed that we haven't embraced their wonderful new OS and they're going to try to shove it down our throats.

        I think what I really want is a third professional, commercial operating system that will run my software and light a fire under MS and Apple, perhaps convincing them that it's worthwhile to actually consider what their customers want. Their ability to make fat profits while ignoring customer satisfaction is not the way the "free market system" is supposed to work, and it speaks volumes about the disdain corporate America has for the rest of us.

        I make a living using software that runs on XP Pro. But I am so sick of having companies like Microsoft disregard the desires of "the market" and act like the monopoly they are that not using Vista has become as much a political act than it is a consumer decision.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Didn't I just read in the Slashdot Vista news earlier "The service pack is said to improve performance and stability, not to add features."
      Yes, very misleading. Performance and stability are the new features.
  • I doubt it will "drive" users to vista saying previous service packs managed to drive users to buy iMac's and then MacBooks.

  • You mean other than having to act sympathetic when cow-orkers gripe constantly?

    Hmmm -- nope. Nothing.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Unfortunately for Microsoft, Vista SP1 doesn't mean anything to the majority of computer users, and that trend is showing very little sign of changing. People that have been using Windows have been pretty happy with XP and Win2000. Surprising numbers of casual users still have '98. And increasing numbers of us are using something else entirely =)
    • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:18PM (#20416805)
      People that have been using Windows have been pretty happy with XP and Win2000. Surprising numbers of casual users still have '98. And increasing numbers of us are using something else entirely =)

      In round numbers, this is how the world looks to the web developer:

      Win XP 75%
      Unchanged since September 06

      W2K 6%
      Down 5% since September 06.
      W2K had little mass market exposure.

      Vista 4%
      Up from 0% in January 07
      It should be interesting to see how Vista fares in Back-To-School and Christmas sales. You will be much less of the warmed-over XP box and much more of the DX10 system realistically spec'd for Vista. To speak of Vista's "failure" in the marketplace is desperately premature, if not inane.

      OSX 4%
      Unchanged since January 05

      Linux 3%
      Unchanged since November 03
      However, the w3Schools stats suggest that Linux may be losing ground to the Mac and OSX.

      W98 1%
      Unchanged since August 06 OS Platform Statistics []

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by c.r.o.c.o ( 123083 )
        I understand you're talking about round numbers, but Linux went from 2.6% to 3.4% since Nov 2003 and Mac went from 2.8% to 4% since Jan 2005. True, they are very small increases, however a good web developer cannot simply ignore 7.4% of their market. And I think the statistics you're quoting are not very relevant, because the browser dictates how the computer interacts with a site, not the OS.

        On the same site I found these statistics: sp []

        The browser market i
      • by Erris ( 531066 ) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @08:00PM (#20418715) Homepage Journal

        To speak of Vista's "failure" in the marketplace is desperately premature, if not inane.

        A new OS or fork that fails to gain more than 4% of the user base in 9 months could only be considered a success in Redmond. We have already been through a Christmas and back to school sale. Why should next year be any different? M$ still thinks xbox and zune are competitive, so what do I know?

        If you want to talk about desperate, think about M$'s position. Release a brand new OS and a brand new Office suit and then see no difference to your bottom line. See banks, airlines, hardware stores and others deploy rival software, "where it counts". See vendors sell the same rival software. Their software is buggy because they opted for the great content lockdown instead of taking care of things that mattered.

  • Value proposition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @03:42PM (#20415469) Homepage

    So, with the service pack you're finally getting a stable product? Where's the value for all the money you're laying out? Pay hundreds of dollars, put up with anal probe product activation and wait almost a year for what you should have gotten in the first place.

    I'm sure that makes sense on some planet...just not this one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cliffski ( 65094 )
      if they didn't fix bugs you would whine. they are fixing them, and you whine. Does no distro of linux have any bugs right now?
      welcome to slashdot I guess *sigh*
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by plague3106 ( 71849 )
      I think you need to stop looking at things as black and white. Its not "stable vs. unstable." Personally, I've not had a single Vista OS crash since I started using it. So its been very stable for me. I think that covers most Vista users actually.

      The presense of bugs or unstability in some computers does not mean its not a value to most; even those affected by the bugs may see value depending on the severity of the bugs. Some may be annoying, but taken as a whole, the product is of value to them.

      I'm no
  • Waiting for the SP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by just_another_sean ( 919159 ) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @03:42PM (#20415471) Journal
    Mr. White's assertions aside, IMHO, MS is releasing this service pack as early as possible to entice people into believing Vista is "ready". The practice in the industry to wait for the first few updates is to firmly entrenched for them to simply "write it off".

    And in my experience, lest my FOSS bias shine through, the idea of waiting for the first few updates goes for most software, not just Windows or other MS software.
    • by Kenshin ( 43036 )
      That doesn't just got for software. It goes for hardware in many cases, too.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by El Lobo ( 994537 )
      So if they deploy the SP later, then they have a lot of problems or just don't care for the users. If they deploy it early, they just want the people think the system is ready... So they can't win, can they?

      On the other hand if Apple deploy some patchs later, they are just getting sure that everything is fixed right, and if they deploy them early, then wow! they are just blazing fast to help their users! oh well....

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )
      There are a few things that are certain:
      1. When doing major rewrites, you *will* cause regressions. At least if you don't have a budget where millions is petty cash.
      2. No matter how much testing you do, users will find ways to break it which you never imagined.

      I do seem to recall a few OSS releases where they basicly admitted "yes, we're releasing now even though we know it's not gold, but we need more testers". It's all down to the risk/reward ratio, there's always a bunch of power users who won't be "beta
    • ...the idea of waiting for the first few updates goes for most software, not just Windows...
      I've often said I wouldn't take the dot zero release of eternal life...
    • Sure the SP will fix some things, bu the primary reason to push it out is to invigorate sales.

      Nobody, not even utter fanboys, thought that pre-SP Vista would be worthwhile. MS know they have to release an SP to make people interested. It gives them a way to wipe the slate clean.

  • It means there is only one more service pack to go before I might consider thinking about adopting it.
    • It means there is only one more service pack to go before I might consider thinking about adopting it.
      Yep, and then after that it will be time to upgrade again, er, I mean wait for the second service pack for their next OS to come out that is.
  • by Benanov ( 583592 ) * <brian.kemp@m[ ] ['emb' in gap]> on Thursday August 30, 2007 @03:43PM (#20415487) Journal
    From TFA:

    "If you're an administrator, then you definitely have a lot more to look forward to when it comes to SP1. One thing that caught my eye was the additional ability in BitLocker to encrypt extra local volumes. Many enterprises still partition their workstations and laptops into a C and D drive. Since users are usually instructed to use the D drive to store their data, this means data was at risk if the enterprise also used BitLocker as a security measure, since D couldn't be previously encrypted."

    Wait. Only C: could be locked? Full of fail.
  • Maybe a massive bugfix so I can install and use it finally? Or is this just a small patch to an OS going down in history as a Windows ME Second edition
  • This seems semi-ridiculous.

    But I'll say the same thing here that I did last time. Basically, the reason that SP1 isn't as big as deal as a "Service Pack" normally is, is that the two "main" updates that will provide a different end-user experience have already been released [].

    The main "other" thing that SP1 will offer, which apparently wasn't confirmed by Nick White's post, is Paul Thurrott's statement (echoed by others, but which he has now stepped back from until he can get confirmation []) that Vista
  • Bloat? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Thyamine ( 531612 ) <thyamine@ofdr a g o> on Thursday August 30, 2007 @03:45PM (#20415535) Homepage Journal
    Wow, I didn't know you could remove bloat with a Service Pack.
  • It means "XP" to me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @03:47PM (#20415563) Journal
    I'll tell you what it means to me - Windows XP 64-bit. I "upgraded" to Vista early in the summer, and I kept telling myself through all the headaches that I'd just wait it out until SP1. Now that that's not until next year, I've decided I'm no longer waiting. Instead, I'm switching to XP 64-bit, which appears to have a lot more driver support than the last time I tried it. There's no way I'm going to wait until Q1 2008 for a service pack that might fix my issues, especially if, according to Microsoft, service packs are less important now that Windows Update is widely used.
    • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

      There's no way I'm going to wait until Q1 2008 for a service pack that might fix my issues, especially if, according to Microsoft, service packs are less important now that Windows Update is widely used.

      Huh? Service packs are less important now. A service pack is essentially just a collection of patches. Before the Internet was widely used, these patches would be distributed on floppy and later CD. Now you can just download the patches immediately. These days, a service pack is just a large download, along with the CD option for people who don't want to download a giant collection of patches. (Or, if Vista SP1 is going to be as large as Microsoft seems to be suggesting, a DVD option.)

      It's not like Micr

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It's sad that you got modded up, but at least the moderator was smart enough to use "underrated" to prevent from being M2ed for modding up crap.

        It's not like Microsoft is not releasing bug fixes until Q1 2008

        RTFA. That's exactly what's happening. Straight from the article, straight from Microsoft's product manager himself:

        SP1's purpose is not primarily as a feature-delivery vehicle but as a way to improve the user experience and enhance it in some areas.

        ... On the other hand, security may be a great
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      vista is better at 64 bit then xp is good luck finding drivers all of your hardware for xp 64bit.
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @03:52PM (#20415637) Journal
    it means that we will have a flood of articles about Vista SP1, just like the initial flood of Vista articles. Seeing as there's now 2 articles already inside an hour.... I shudder to think how many we will see until March 2008.. or whenever SP1 comes out.

    What can someone be xpected to say about a mere Statement of Intent from Microsoft, about a Service Pack.... which right thinking people would expect a big comapny to release RIGJHT NOW and solve teething troubles faced by Vista users daily?

    The schedule for SP1 indicates MS is under zero pressure to deliver anything or do anything innovative. No point fantasizing about it.
    • by fsmunoz ( 267297 )
      Indeed. I'm waiting for a "GPL violation found in Vista SP1 running of an Apple laptop" story. Should be fun.
  • Products that start their lives perceived as having a very high suck factor will end their lives with much the same perception. There is little that can be done once a products suck level (read: consumer perception) has been determined.
  • by boxlight ( 928484 ) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @03:55PM (#20415681)
    Vista SP1 will be one step closer to a Windows that's as good as Mac OS X.

    Just like Windows eventually caught up to Mac with Windows95 and then exceeded it with Windows 2000, Microsoft will once again catch up to Mac OS X with an eventual improved version of Vista that looks and feels as good.

    When that time comes Apple faithful will rant "Mac's had that for 5 years!" and it won't matter anymore. Apple had better get innovating the next major killer features fast, because Microsoft is always improving.

  • Seriously,
    Vista was supposed to be released in ?
    Vista was proclaimed as ready... oops

    How many times do people have to be fooled before they realise that the next release from MS will also be a disappointment?
    • How many times do people have to be fooled before they realise that the next release from MS will also be a disappointment?

      Remember, we are talking about the same people who have come to accept system crashes as a fact of life.

    • by turgid ( 580780 )

      As long as all new PeeCees come with Windows installed, the Average Person will continue to believe that Microsoft Windows (and associated applications) is "the best."

      They've got 11 year old kids coming home from school extolling the virtues of Power Point and Dream Weaver.

      Microsoft has won. Game over.

  • For express and stand-alone deployment methods, Microsoft recommends the following:
    * A minimum of 7 GB free disk space on the system partition for x86-based operating systems and a minimum of 12 GB free disk space for x64-based operating systems.

    They say the drive space will only be used temporarily, and I know drive space is cheap these days. But what about people with laptops that are pushing their hard drives near the limit?
    • by cnettel ( 836611 )
      There might be some (more or less) hidden option to avoid any kind of system restore checkpoint and uninstall possibility before going ahead. That should save a lot, but I wouldn't call it a wise gamble.

      Generally available system requirements for previous SPs have at least assumed that you go the "keep uninstall files" route, while also keeping local copies of all the new SP files, in addition to the actually installed copy.

    • by Dan Ost ( 415913 )
      Then unless they can attach an external drive or mount a network drive, it sounds like they're out of luck. But that's missing the point. People with laptops aren't the ones who will be using the stand-alone deployment. Instead, they'll be using the windows update which will only require 50MB or so of space.

      I guess what I'm really saying is that if they care, they'll find a way.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The $500 dual core laptop with Vista home pro pre-installed is the most effective way to spread Vista - and that's exactly what's happening.
    It has started a huge shift from desktop computers to laptops, just check out your local stores. I picked up a decent HP dual core, 1 GB memory, 80GB HD, DVD-RW, firewire for my daughter to replace her aging desktop.

    Since Vista was pre-installed, everything works, of course. I would not want to switch over to Vista, but since it's included in the $500 laptop price, and
    • Since Vista was pre-installed, everything works, of course.

      I'm not really sure how you got from the first clause to the second. Vista now works on machines it's pre-installed on? That's great news for gamers and HD-video enthusiasts who've been lamenting the broken or DRM-crippled drivers on their high end systems.

      but since it's included in the $500 laptop price, and it would cost me $160 to get an XP OEM plus my time

      Or, get one with XP OEM pre-installed (so that everything works, of course) for a marginal cost of... nothing. Which is exactly what I'm in the process of doing right now, since I'm buying a laptop to run exactly one specific program and I don't w

  • Personally I feel bad for my sister who will have to use it. I'd recomend she use Ubuntu instead, but she lives in another country and I won't be able to help her, and she doesn't feel prepared to try it on her own. I guess she would probably manage just fine, but sadly she doesn't even want to give it a shot. Oh well...
  • huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by catbutt ( 469582 ) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @04:16PM (#20415913)

    One of the most interesting questions asks if whether people should feel like that have to wait until SP1 to upgrade to the operating system, a common practice with Windows users
    Who wrote that sentence? Miss South Carolina?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No, Miss South Carolina is a beautiful, intelligent human being who feels deep embarrassment and shame after her public humiliation. She'll work hard to make sure you don't see a mistake like that from her again in her lifetime.

      Zonk, on the other hand...
  • ... that Microsoft should spend more money in bug fixing and for faster update release.
    None can be perfect, software can always contain bugs. But being dull and dumb with bugs and security holes is deliberate stupidity.
  • Driving? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MenTaLguY ( 5483 ) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @04:36PM (#20416169) Homepage
    You know something's wrong when you're talking about driving people to use software rather than attracting them to it.
  • And I like it like that.
  • At least Vista cut down on the number of complaints about XP.

    Windows Vista, making XP look good for 7 months now.
  • by Scot Seese ( 137975 ) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:09PM (#20416659)
    I read this with a twinge of curiosity. Vista Home Ultimate came on the new Dell system I received a couple months ago. While the novelty of Vista's graphical enhancements wore off quickly, my irritation at a litany of Vista bugs did not. They include:

      - Two year old Netgear 802.11g wireless card being virtually impossible to install
      - Crackling, popping audio in World of Warcraft (and other games) from the built in audio that defied repeated attempts to fix via driver upgrades
      --- Disabled said audio in BIOS, inserted Creative Sound Blaster 5.1 digital PCI card. Guess what? VISTA INCOMPATIBLE. Creative. THE standard. with Vista's DRM-heavy digital device list. Back to crackling, popping on board audio. So annoying I resorted to playing WoW with no sound.
      - ATI HDTv Wonder PCI card installation - wasted time. Windows Media Center could not tune ANYTHING with any degree of quality when the same card + antenna did brilliantly on my old Win XP box. Furthermore, exhaustive forum searching reveals that Media Center actually cripples the driver for the HD tuner, making it so that you can tune OTA content, OR CATV content, but NOT BOTH. You have to install a hacked up driver from some shady 3rd party website to use the full functionality of your TV card. Again, the ATI product does not appear on Microsoft's DRM-heavy "approved digital device" list.
      - On board gigabit ethernet adapter's network configuration would randomly disappear and have to be reconfigured when the computer was hard rebooted for any reason, including power outages, or video lockups, leading us to..
      - NVidia GForce 7300 PCI Express card included with machine worked flawlessly as delivered, BUT after Microsofts last "patch Tuesday" a few weeks ago, the video would not 'wake up' after the machine had been put to sleep. The "sleep mode" suspend worked great until the last security patch.. It makes no sense to me either. After the patch, the video would not wake with the rest of the system, forcing a hard poweroff/restart, causing the network setting to disappear.. HALF the time.

      So, two nights ago, after backing up, I took my freshly burned Ubuntu 7.04 cd, took a deep breath, and installed. I can get around in Linux, but I am by no means an expert. My installation was smooth. In less than 90 minutes, using Automatix, I had every plugin, driver, and application I could ever want to make my system perform properly. Nvidia OpenGL driver automatically configured, all video/flash plugins for Firefox, DVD playback, the whole 9 yards. Additionally, using the step-by step copy and paste instructions from the ubuntu website, I had Wine installed, and had configured it properly to run World of Warcraft.

        So here I sit. World of Warcraft runs smoothly. Audio is CRYSTAL CLEAR, my Soundblaster Live 5.1 card is supported, no popping, clicking audio. I play the game at 1680x1050 with almost all detail settings turned on at a very smooth framerate. I visit and view all embedded video seamlessly, no plugin errors or other irritants. When I need to type papers for college, I have OpenOffice. Ipod works flawlessly with podcast management program.

    Why do I need Vista again?


    Make World of Warcraft work flawlessy in Ubuntu with Wine: []

    PC World's noob-friendly "Seven Post-Install Tips for Unbuntu 7.04" :,130923-page,1-c, linux/article.html []
    • Crackling, popping audio in World of Warcraft (and other games) from the built in audio that defied repeated attempts to fix via driver upgrades

      Your network must be too fast.

    • My installation was smooth. In less than 90 minutes, using Automatix,
      There is no reason to use automatix any more as it screws up your system when you want to upgrade. You can download flash, java and video codecs by going to add / remove programs and searching for them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by W2k ( 540424 )
      Each one of the issues you list are with drivers. In contrast, every piece of hardware in my system was supported out of the box. Was I just lucky? Maybe. But blaming Microsoft for poor third-party drivers is like blaming Linus Torvalds for security holes in Firefox on Linux.
  • Is anyone else getting sick of tags that "answer" the question asked in the subject? It's fine that Vista SP1 means nothing to you...but I really don't need to see it. Can we just ban people that add stupid tags?
    • by pohl ( 872 ) *
      Is anyone else getting sick of posts that complain about snarky tags? It's fine that someone's tag offends you, but I really don't need to know about it. Can we just ban people that post stupid complaints? ...and people who post self-referential meta-complaint jokes too, while we're at it.
  • Windows XP SP2 is almost a completely different OS than what shipped in a shrink wrapped box in 2001. The article completely glosses over that point, and stresses the virtues of Windows Update. Which, if I recall correctly, existed before XP SP2. So... ?
  • Not a god-damned thing.

    I had such a miserable experience running Vista for two weeks (on a fairly ballsy PC - AMD Athlon fx 4000 w/ 4 gb RAM, gamer-quality video card, etc.). Sorry, but you'd have to point a gun to my head to get me to do that again.

    This was the last Windows PC in my otherwise all-Mac house. Tomorrow I'm replacing it with a new Mac Mini Core2Duo. Probably just redeploy the PC as a home network server.

    If you love Vista, great, I'm not trying to piss on your parade. I will admit the Aero

A university faculty is 500 egotists with a common parking problem.