Why you should Upgrade to Windows Vista SP1

Windows Vista SP1 is now RTM, and will be shortly available for download for all Vista users. You can read more about it on my Changes in Vista Service Pack 1 article and my Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is RTM article. SP1 is made of a large number of individual files and components, resulting is a big file (over 1.1 GB in size, if downloaded from MSDN).
In addition to all previously released updates, Windows Vista SP1 contains changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards. SP1 contains 479 patches. Also, there are also 109 new features included.
Windows Vista SP1 will support the following delivery methods:

    1. Express: Through Windows Update. Requires an internet connection, but minimizes the size of the download by sending only the changes needed for a specific computer. This installation will take about 65 MB for x86-based operating systems.


    1. Stand-alone: As a stand-alone download. Recommended for computers with limited Internet connectivity and for applying the service pack to multiple computers. The download size is (much) larger than the express package, but customers can apply a single package to any Windows Vista version and language combination (within a platform). This installation will take about 450 MB (5 Language package) and about 550 MB (Full 36 language package) for x86-based operating systems.


  1. Slipstream: The slipstream version of Windows Vista SP1 is media that already contains the service pack, which companies can use to deploy the operating system to new computers or to upgrade existing computers. Here is where I have bad news: You CANNOT slipstream SP1 into existing Vista media.

Here’s some quick facts on what Vista Service Pack 1 will bring:

    • GPMC (Group Policy Management Console) will be uninstalled with Service Pack 1 and GPEdit will default to Local Group Policy editing. Following these changes, SP1 users can download an updated version of GPMC which will include new Group Policy capabilities including adding comments to GPOs or individual settings and searching for specific Group Policy settings.


    • Reduces the number of UAC (User Account Control) prompts from 4 to 1 when creating or renaming a folder at a protected location.


    • Windows Vista SP1 includes a new Security Policy (UAC: Allow UAccess), which allows applications to prompt for elevation without using the secure desktop. This allows a remote helper to enter administrative credentials during a Remote Assistance session.


    • 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.


    • Overcomes FAT32’s 4 GB file limitation, FAT32’s 32 GB format limit.


    • Contains additional application compatibility fixes for individual applications.


    • Improves reliability by preventing data-loss while ejecting NTFS-formatted removable-media.


    • Improves the success of peer-to-peer connections, such as Windows Meeting Space or Remote Assistance applications, when both PCs are behind symmetric firewalls.


    • Improves Windows Vista’s built-in file backup solution to include EFS encrypted files in the backup.


    • Improved SRT (Startup Repair Tool), which is part of the Windows Recovery environment (WinRE), can now fix PCs unbootable due to certain missing OS files.


    • Improves the performance of browsing network file shares by consuming less bandwidth.


    • Improves power consumption when the display is not changing by allowing the processor to remain in its sleep state which consumes less energy.


    • Improves power consumption and battery life by addressing an issue that causes a hard disk to continue spinning when it should spin down, in certain circumstances.


    • Improves the speed of adding and extracting files to and from a compressed (zipped) folder.


    • Significantly improves the speed of moving a directory with many files underneath.


  • Improves performance over Windows Vista’s current performance across the following scenarios:
  • 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
    • Improves the time to read large images by approximately 50%.


    • Improves IE performance on certain Jscript intensive websites, bringing performance in line with previous IE releases.


    • Includes improvements to Windows Superfetch that help to further improve resume times, in many environments.


    • Improves network connection scenarios by updating the logic that auto selects which network interface to use (e.g., should a laptop use wireless or wired networking when both are available).


    • Removes the delay that sometimes occurs when a user unlocks their PC.


    • New compression algorithm for the RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) that helps reduce network bandwidth required to send bitmaps or images via RDP. The compression is transparent to all RDP traffic, and typically reduces the size of the RDP stream by as much as 25-60%, based on preliminary test results.


    • Improves the security of running RemoteApp programs and desktops by allowing RDP files to be signed.


    • Improves BitLocker Drive Encryption by offering an additional multi-factor authentication method that combines a key protected by the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) with a Startup Key stored on a USB storage device and a user-generated Personal Identification Number (PIN).


    • Enhanced the BitLocker encryption support to volumes other than bootable volumes in Windows Vista (for Enterprise and Ultimate SKUs).


    • Updated drivers are delivered primarily via Windows Update and directly from hardware vendors, not as part of a service pack.


    • Allows users and administrators to control which volumes the disk defragmenter runs on.


    • Allows users to rename or delete folders while working offline with redirected folders.


    • Allows KMS (Key Management Service) to run within a Virtual Machine environment.


    • Improves OS deployment by enabling 64-bit versions of Windows Vista to be installed from a 32-bit OS.


    • Reports the amount of system memory installed rather than report the amount of system memory available to the OS. (for example: 4 GB x86 systems)


    • Users are now required to enter a password hint during the initial setup of Windows Vista SP1.


  • Improved reliability when working with external displays on a laptop.

Related Links