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Windows Vista Service Pack 1 details

The imminent arrival of Windows Vista’s first Service Pack is being preceded by a ton of information from Microsoft, as they call it

Windows Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals

We should pay attention to the SP1 Overview and the changes for the Release Candidate.

Microsoft continuously improves the Windows Vista® Operating System by providing ongoing updates while working with software and hardware vendors to help them to deliver improved compatibility, reliability and performance. These updates are provided to customers directly by our hardware and software partners, as well as from Microsoft in the form of hotfixes distributed on a regular basis using Windows Update. Updates to Windows are also delivered directly to some affected customers and preinstalled by PC manufacturers.

Windows Vista SP1 is an update to Windows Vista that, along with improvements delivered via these other channels, addresses feedback from our customers and partners. By providing these fixes integrated into a single service pack which will be thoroughly tested by Microsoft and by industry partners and customers during the beta cycle, Microsoft provides a single high quality update that minimizes deployment and testing complexity for customers.

In addition to all previously released updates, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards. SP1 also will continue to make it easier for IT administrators to deploy and manage Windows Vista. Service Packs are not intended to be a vehicle for releasing significant new features or functionality; however some existing components do gain slightly enhanced functionality in SP1 to support industry standards and new requirements.

This document describes many of the notable changes in Windows Vista SP1, with the exception of some updates to the Windows Genuine Advantage experience which we are still developing for our customers and will be released in a later build. For additional information about the changes in SP1, please see the forthcoming Knowledge Base (KB) article 936332, which is a compendium of all prior KB articles documenting updates to Windows Vista. Many of these updates are already publicly available and have been released via the Microsoft Download Center or Windows Update. All of these updates are included in Windows Vista SP1. The full list of these updates can be read in Hotfixes and Security Updates included in Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

Organizations do not need to wait for SP1 to deploy Windows Vista; we encourage them to begin their Windows Vista evaluation and deployment now.

Setup Prerequisites
Windows Vista SP1 requires two prerequisite packages to install; a third is required for versions of Windows Vista that are BitLocker™ Drive Encryption capable (Window Vista Enterprise and Windows Vista Ultimate).
• The first of the three prerequisite packages required for the service pack includes updates to the servicing stack—the component that handles installation and removal of software updates, language packs, and optional windows features. This update is necessary to successfully install and uninstall the service pack; it also improves the performance and reliability of the service pack installation.
• The second of the three prerequisite packages includes updates required to reliably install or uninstall the service pack.
• The third of the three prerequisite packages contains an update necessary for proper servicing of Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption capable PCs.

Service Pack 1 Size
In order to make the improvements detailed in this document, a large number of individual files and components have been updated for SP1. Also, the language-neutral design of Windows Vista necessitates that the service pack be able to update any possible combination of the basic languages supported by Windows Vista with a single installer, so language files for the 36 basic languages are included in the standalone installer.

These facts result in a large stand-alone package, which is the delivery vehicle typically used by system administrators. (See Table 1 below for an explanation of the different delivery mechanisms for Windows Vista SP1.) However, most home and small business users will receive SP1 via Windows Update, which utilizes an efficient transfer mechanism to download only the actual bytes changed, resulting in an approximately 65MB download. This is similar in size to many common software and driver updates delivered by other software vendors over the internet and will not be a problem for most customers.

There’s a lot more of this on the 17 pages of this document

Things that look promising

  • Adds support for new UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) industry standard PC firmware for 64-bit systems with functional parity with legacy BIOS firmware, which allows Windows Vista SP1 to install to GPT format disks, boot and resume from hibernate using UEFI firmware.
  • Adds support for Direct3D® 10.1, an update to Direct3D 10 that extends the API to support new hardware features, enabling 3D application and game developers to make more complete and efficient use of the upcoming generations of graphics hardware.
  • Adds support for exFAT, a new file system supporting larger overall capacity and larger files, which will be used in Flash memory storage and consumer devices.
  • Enhances support for high density drives by adding new icons and labels that will identify HD-DVD and Blu-ray Drives as high density drives.
  • Enhances the MPEG-2 decoder to support content protection across a user accessible bus on Media Center systems configured with Digital Cable Tuner hardware. This also effectively enables higher levels of hardware decoder acceleration for commercial DVD playback on some hardware.
  • Improves reliability by preventing data-loss while ejecting NTFS-formatted removable-media.
  • Improves Windows Vista’s built-in file backup solution to include EFS encrypted files in the backup.
  • Improves the speed of adding and extracting files to and from a compressed (zipped) folder.
  • Improves performance over Windows Vista’s current performance across the following scenarios1:

• 25% faster when copying files locally on the same disk on the same machine
• 45% faster when copying files from a remote non-Windows Vista system to a SP1 system
• 50% faster when copying files from a remote SP1 system to a local SP1 system

And a lot more.