Just over a year after its much-anticipated release, Windows Vista will receive the equally anticipated Service Pack 1, which will address the bugs and agitating issues users have experienced with Microsoft’s most recent operating system. Although SP1 doesn’t possess any immediate, eye-catching changes like the ones seen in Windows XP SP2, the tweaks to the underlying code are designed to make Vista a faster and more stable operating system. Most users will receive SP1 via Windows Update sometime this March, but we got our hands on an early copy courtesy of the fine folks at Microsoft. It took us just shy of an hour to install SP1 onto a Toshiba Qosmio G45-AV690 notebook (your download time may vary, depending on whether or not you’ve installed the various updates that comprise elements of SP1 over the course of the past few months). During that time, the computer was off limits as it rebooted itself several times. New Features
All in all, Vista SP1 promises lots of goodies for both the casual and dedicated user.Benchmarks We ran our usual array of benchmarks on the Toshiba G45-AV690 both before and after we installed SP1 (MobileMark, 3DMark, F.E.A.R.) to note the changes that the new service pack brings. In most instances, the results rose or fell by an insignificant amount of points. Despite the promise of enhanced speed, data transfer times remained basically the same. The 10GB of audio/video content that we moved from the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini to the G45-AV690 took 9 minutes and 46 seconds before SP1 and 9 minutes and 51 seconds with SP1. Disappointing. The one area where SP1 excelled was in Vista’s boot times. Originally, the OS took 1 minute and 22 seconds to load on the G45-AV690, but after installing SP1, the time was cut to 55 seconds. This near-30 second improvement will be considered a technological godsend to those frustrated by Vista’s long boot-ups. Should You Install Windows Vista Service Pack 1? With all the negative flack Vista has received for its sluggishness and bouts of unreliability, all users should install it just for the stability that the pack brings. Just be forewarned that many of the changes are under the hood, so don’t expect too many visible tweaks to the OS.