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March 18th, 2008

Microsoft Released Service Pack 1 for Vista

Microsoft has released a service update for all versions of its Windows Vista operating system. It supposed to improve the stability, security and performance of the software.
The update, or service pack, includes some fixes released before now and adds many new ones as well.

Microsoft has warned that the update could clash with some security software and other programs customers may have installed on their machine. Those using Vista can download the update directly from Microsoft or wait for it to be automatically installed on their machine in mid-April. Advice about drivers and prequisites is provided on the Vista blog and in support articles.

Third-party software companies got mixed reactions to SP1. While it will open up access to the built-in search functionality for third-party desktop search apps, it has already raised problems for some third-party security software vendors whose utilities have been disrupted by the update.

On the security front, the service pack enables single sign-on for authenticated wired networks, which should streamline the end user experience in enterprise environments, in addition to many other updates.

While most users are likely to find Vista SP1 benign (if not beneficial), some organizations, such as large corporate IT departments, may wish to wait a while before deploying this software update. To do so, administrators should download the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool, which will prevent the service pack from being installed. This tool creates a registry key entry that can be later removed by the administrator, and can be run remotely across a network.

Vista SP1 is being released initially in only five languages – English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese. Another 31 will follow in mid-April when the software starts being pumped out to those that have their PCs automatically updated.

Microsoft recommends that Vista users go to Windows Update to get the service pack rather than use its download service. The version available via Windows Update is only 65 MB in size (compared to 434MB via download) and can diagnose driver problems before installation.

Troubleshooting for those who would like to install the SP1:

1. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is not available for installation from Windows Update and is not offered by Automatic Updates

2. Uninstall any previous SP releases

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