Vista SP1 Improvements

Microsoft has finally posted a reasonably descriptive overview of what’s included in Vista SP1. As I’ve already blogged, I think Vista is more than a little slow and bloated. I know other people who are concerned with Vista’s reliability, but unfortunately I have not yet gotten there (I find Vista’s performance too lacking to have used it enough to run into reliability issues).

Update 3/23/2008 – On my laptop, I upgraded RAM to 4GB, and purchased two fast hard drives: one for Windows + Pagefile, and one Development tools + MSSQL.  Performance is now much better, and usually satisfactory.  I’ve also installed Vista SP1 and don’t have any complaints so far, so I’m leaning toward thumbs up.  Prognosis: faster hardware on Vista is better, and SP1 agrees with my computer.  I still hope Vista SP2 dials up the performance a bit more, but… I’d really like Windows 7 to focus on performance and simplification.  Note to Microsoft: Please don’t change the driver model in Windows 7!! Enough already, of upgrade pain and compatibility woes!

Here are Vista SP1 improvements I find interesting:

  • 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.
  • Addresses issues many of the most common causes of crashes and hangs in Windows Vista, as reported by Windows Error Reporting. These include issues relating to Windows Calendar, Windows Media Player, and a number of drivers included with Windows Vista.
  • An 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.
  • Adds full support for the latest IEEE draft of 802.11n wireless networking.
  • Improves OS deployment by enabling 64-bit versions of Windows Vista to be installed from a 32-bit OS. This will allow IT professionals to maintain just a single WinPE image.
  • Improves patch deployment by retrying failed updates in cases where multiple updates are pending and the failure of one update causes other updates to fail as well.
  • Enables reliable OS installation by optimizing OS installers so that they are run only when required during patch installation. Fewer installers operating results in fewer points of potential failure during installation, which leads to more robust and reliable installation.
  • Improves overall install time for updates by optimizing the query for installed OS updates.
  • Improved instrumentation allows additional data to be sent to Microsoft via the CEIP (Customer Experience Improvement Program) when enabled. This telemetry data led to the identification of numerous issues that are addressed in SP1 and resulted in improvement in the reliability of OS servicing.
  • SP1 reduces the number of UAC (User Account Control) prompts from 4 to 1 when creating or renaming a folder at a protected location.
  • Improvements in the Licensing User Interface and User Experience including more details in the help about activation and what happens if user does not activate; more detailed and descriptive dialog text; raw error codes replaced with easily comprehensible text.
  • While not reflected in the initial release candidate this week, we will also be making changes effective with SP1 in how we differentiate the experience customers have using non-genuine versions of our software. This is based on feedback we heard from volume license customers in particular as part of our Windows Genuine Advantage program.
  • Improves the performance of browsing network file shares by consuming less bandwidth.
  • 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 while copying files using BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service).
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Improves responsiveness when doing many kinds of file or media manipulations. For example, with Windows Vista today, copying files after deleting a different set of files can make the copy operation take longer than needed. In SP1, the file copy time is the same as if no files were initially deleted.
  • Addresses a problem that caused a delay of up to 5 minutes after boot with specific ReadyDrive capable hard drives.
  • Improves the effectiveness of a Windows ReadyBoost™ device in reducing the time to resume from standby and hibernate by increasing the amount of data stored in the ReadyBoost device that can be used during a resume cycle.
  • Includes improvements to Windows Superfetch™ that help to further improve resume times, in many environments.
  • In specific scenarios, SP1 reduces the shutdown time by a few seconds by improving the Windows Vista utility designed to sync a mobile device.
  • Improves the time to resume from standby for a certain class of USB Hubs by approximately 18%.
  • 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).
  • Reduces the time it takes to return to the user’s session when using the Photo screensaver, making it comparable to other screensavers.
  • Removes the delay that sometimes occurs when a user unlocks their PC.
  • Improves overall media performance by reducing many glitches.
  • Windows Vista SP1 includes a new compression algorithm for the RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) that helps reduce network bandwidth required to send bitmaps or images via RDP. The compression, which can be selected by administrators via Group Policy settings, 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.

Microsoft also lists a bunch of other improvements. If you want to get it directly from the horse’s mouth, please follow this link. And then download the file named: Notable_Changes_in_Windows_Vista_SP1_ Release _Candidate.doc


About dataland

Like many others, I'd like to improve the world but I'm currently caught up in day-to-day work. In the meantime, I'm a software developer who is very much focused on the end user.
This entry was posted in Microsoft, Software Development, Technology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Vista SP1 Improvements

  1. Protricity says:

    This is a biased article from a biased blogger. I’d recommend simply going to the source (posted at the bottom of the article) and reading the updates. Can’t trust anything from a biased source, good or bad.

    Protricity, Yes I am biased: I’m all for the end user, quality, honesty and usability. While I’m not anti-Vista, I am certainly not pro-Vista either (hey, it’s the operating system of the future!). But, overall I generally am pro-Microsoft and personally choose to continue developing native (WIN32/C++) software on the Microsoft Windows platform. Over time, I notice myself becoming less tolerant of new issues (problems) in Windows.
    — Dataland

  2. Pingback: SP1 - ! - IOPaneL

  3. chaoman says:

    I’m just adding my two cents to the improvements of SP1.

    1. Large file transfer on network will not time out.

    2. MSN messenger can now display music title

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