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8/30/2007
06:53 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Five Things Microsoft Should Fix In Windows Vista Service Pack 1

Having long taken the position that there are many things which need to be fixed in Vista, I'm happy to see Microsoft is at work on a beta of Service Pack 1 for Vista. On the other hand, an examination of Redmond's documentation reveals that there may some significant shortfalls when SP1 ships in early 2008.

Having long taken the position that there are many things which need to be fixed in Vista, I'm happy to see Microsoft is at work on a beta of Service Pack 1 for Vista. On the other hand, an examination of Redmond's documentation reveals that there may some significant shortfalls when SP1 ships in early 2008.As Microsoft explains in on their Vista Team Blog:

SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues we've identified via customer feedback, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards. SP1 also makes additional improvements to the IT administration experience. We didn't design SP1 as a vehicle for releasing new features; however, some existing components do gain enhanced functionality in SP1.

While those words might warm the cockles of a sysadmin's heart, they won't do much for consumers looking for fixes for the OS's lingering annoyances. I might point out that it's those consumers who currently constitute Vista's main user base; enterprises have been slow to move off of Windows XP, mainly because of the extra hardware expense--more memory and a better graphics card--required by Vista-capable systems.

In fairness, consumers aren't being left out in the cold. Buried amid a Vista white paper are lots of welcome details, which put some meat on the bones of Microsoft's promises.

I've extracted the following items from the white paper, which are improvements Microsoft will fold into SP1, as things that Vista users have been crying out for, for a long time:

  • Device driver improvements;
  • Better applications compatibility;
  • Faster copying and extracting of files;
  • Improved performance of Internet Explorer 7;
  • Improved reliability in networking configuration scenarios; and
  • Increased compatibility with many printer drivers.

    All good stuff, and I'm grateful to Microsoft. (Just so you don't think I'm Microsoft-bashing, reading about some of the other Vista stuff I like, here.)

    However, when I compare the list of fixes coming in SP1 to the list of fixes I asked for in my blog post Top 5 Things About Windows Vista That Still Suck and things that still, er, stink, Part 2, I'm not quite as pleased. Here are those five items:

  • Applications "not responding" (i.e, the fact that apps are frequently afflicted with mild ischemic attacks);
  • User Account Control messages;
  • Messy Windows Update installs;
  • Poor Performance From Internet Explorer 7; and
  • The Need For More Memory (i.e, the fact that Vista requires 1-GB to 2-GB, depending on the version, to run decently).

    Unless I missed something, when I go through my list and compare it to Microsoft's, I can reasonably assume that they're fixing number one. The "apps not responding" item is satisfied by the driver and compatibility improvements, as well as SP1's general commitment to better performance.

    SP1 will also address my number-four complaint, the need for improved IE7 performance.

    Unfortunately, we seem to be stuck with the poorly designed User Account Controls and the mess that marks the automatic Windows Update installation process. To mention nothing of the ongoing fiasco surrounding Windows Genuine Advantage and activation issues.

    Which means that, while I'm going to welcome SP1, I'm also going to demand an SP2. Because Microsoft still has a lot more work to do.

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