Vista SP1 – Microsoft Could Not Have Given Less – Vista SP2 Anyone?

Microsoft had the chance to position the first service pack for Windows Vista as a panacea for the operating system, giving the platform nothing less than a fresh start and another take at the Wow. Instead, Vista SP1 will deliver close to nothing. Users should expect little, because they will get it in full, and because Microsoft could not have given anything less with the refresh. And if you believe that the company didn't try, then you are sadly mistaken.

Microsoft in fact stripped Vista SP1 down to the bare bones, leaving only the essential architecture that would qualify as a service pack. All strictly non-essential features, capabilities, features and improvements were killed from the status of concept, none of them making it to the embryonic stage.

A member of the Windows Installer Team explained why they had to pull references for Windows Installer 4.1, designed especially for Windows Vista SP1, from MSDN and to cancel version 4.1 altogether. "What changed was that the new guard in Windows had a very different bar for the Vista SP than had been in practice for previous releases (at least in my memory). Generally there is lip service to no large feature work in a SP but this time folks listened. Big feature adds were heavily scrutinized. The items we wanted to fix in the SP, UAC tweaks, were big feature by the new bar. When the UAC tweaks were rejected for Vista SP1, the justification for 4.1 faded as there were no new features in the Windows Installer in Vista SP1," the Windows Installer Team member stated.

The new guard at Microsoft is formed by Kevin Johnson, President, Platforms & Services Division; Jon DeVaan, Senior Vice President, Windows Core Operating System Division and Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group...although the last executive might be more familiar to you as Steven codename Translucency Sinofsky, the source of the Windows Omerta. By comparison, the old guard involved Jim Allchin, (Former) Co-President, Platforms & Services Division; Brian Valentine (former) senior vice president of the Windows Division and Chris Jones, Corporate Vice President, Windows Live Experience Program Management.

Johnson, DeVaan and Sinofsky lowered the standard as much as possible on the features that would end up in Vista SP1. In this context, the service pack will be comprised of regular Windows Vista updates, application compatibility improvements, device driver improvements, enhancements to performance, reliability and security and a few tweaks to the default desktop search mechanism. Vista SP1 will be nothing more than a standard service pack, planned for the first quarter of 2008. However, the generalized consumer perception, and the continuous user preference focused on Windows XP seem to point to the fact that Vista would actually need a SP2 that will be a repeat of the second service pack for XP.


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