On February 4, 2008, Microsoft released Windows Vista Service Pack 1 to manufacturing.
The RTM deadline of the first service pack for Vista coincided with Windows Server 2008 going gold, as Microsoft client and server platforms were joined at the hip, starting at kernel-level, a move designed not to repeat the disjunction between Windows XP and Windows Server 2008. For Vista, the RTM failed to be synonymous with the general availability of the service pack. The first to get their hands on the gold bits were the 15,000 participants in the beta testing process, along with Volume License customers, MSDN and TechNet Plus subscribers.
"Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) is a vehicle that Microsoft will use to deliver operating system improvements to customers. Windows Vista SP1 is an update to Windows Vista that, along with improvements delivered to users via these other channels, addresses feedback from our customers. In addition to previously released updates, Windows Vista SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards," reads Microsoft's official description of the service pack.
Only on March 18 did Microsoft finally make available Vista RTM for download through Windows Update, as well as on the Microsoft Download Center. The March 18 packages are Wave 0 of the Vista SP1 release, delivering just the English, German, Japanese, Spanish and French. Only the users of Vista RTM editions in these specific five languages are able to grab SP1 either through WU or as standalone downloads. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Five Language Standalone for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system is available for download.
"Microsoft strongly recommends using Windows Update to download and install Windows Vista SP1 on single PCs. The download size from Windows Update of Windows Vista SP1 for x86 is 65 MB (compared to 450 MB from the Microsoft Download Center). The download size from Windows Update of Windows Vista SP1 for x64 is 125 MB (compared to 745 MB from the Microsoft Download Center). Windows Update will recognize PCs with known problematic drivers and postpone downloading Windows Vista SP1 until the PC has updated drivers or other applicable updates. Using Windows Update will help ensure you have the most trouble-free update experience possible," the Redmond company stated.
Vista SP1 is not at the end of its journey, although the finish line is on the immediate horizon. The service pack started along in early 2007, with the first leaked screenshot dropped on in mid-May of the last year. By the summer of 2007, Microsoft was well under way with the development process for Vista SP1, and in early August the first screenshots of the service pack build 6001.16549 were leaked by the private testers. Vista SP1 moved through Beta stage then into Release Candidate in December 2007, RC Refresh in January and then RTM with build 6001-18000.