Microsoft's long-awaited Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is available for download and the company's Colin Erasmus promises a fix-rich release that will further improve the Windows Vista experience.
In addition to previously released updates, SP1 will contain enhancements focused on addressing reliability and performance, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards. SP1 will make it easier for IT administrators to deploy and manage Windows Vista.
SP1 will improve general responsiveness, and according to Erasmus, the improvements in SP1 primarily target the key scenarios "where we can really make a difference in the customer experience".
For instance, in many cases SP1:
* Improves the speed of copying and decompressing files.
* Improves the time to resume from hibernate and standby.
* Improves the performance of domain joined PCs when operating off of the domain.
* Improves battery life by reducing CPU utilisation by not having to redraw the screen as frequently, on certain hardware.
* Improves the logon experience.
The following are examples of how SP1 improves the administration experience:
* With SP1, BitLocker Drive Encryption has been enhanced to not only fully encrypt the entire Windows Vista volume but also any or all additional locally created data volumes. (Customers can now not only fully encrypt C but also D and E).
* SP1 Improves printer management by addressing difficulties associated with printing to a local printer from within a Terminal Server session.
* Network Diagnostics in Windows Vista SP1 will help users with the most common file sharing problems, in addition to basic problems already supported.
* SP1 includes support for SSTP (Secure Sockets Tunnel Protocol), a remote access VPN tunnelling protocol that will be part of Microsoft's RRAS (routing and remote access service) platform. SSTP helps provide full-network VPN remote access connections without some of the challenges that other VPN tunnels face traversing NAT, web proxies, and firewalls such as those that users might encounter at hotels or coffee shops.
* SP1 includes an update to Disk Defragmenter so administrators can control which volumes the disk defragmenter runs on.
Windows Vista SP1 is approximately 65 MB when delivered over Windows Update or downloaded from the Microsoft Download Centre. It will be included with all Windows Vista products on store shelves as soon as April.