Hands-On with Windows Vista Service Pack 1

vista-logo.jpgJust 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

  • Transfer Speeds: Addressing those complaints that copying and unzipping files felt a bit sluggish, SP1 boosts transfer speeds by 20 percent
  • Bit Locker (available to Vista Business and Vista Ultimate users), which used to only encrypt the C drive, now can safeguard any file on any volume
  • DVD Settings: OEMs now can scale back DVD frames from 60 frames per second to 30 frames per second to help extend battery life
  • Remote Desktop is now more efficient for handling network traffic, so users will see better connections at lower speeds
  • Direct3D will enhance the already stunning visuals of Microsoft’s DirectX 10.

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.

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  1. GothicX Says:

    That’s not so true…about the speed I mean…

    Before the SP1 to transfer for example 10GB from one drive to the other, it would take “forever” to do it! It would be stuck saying “Estimating…” or something like it.

    Now it doesn’t even take 1s! I just copy/paste or drag/drop it and it’s all! It starts to work without any delay and much faster than before!

    So by all means, DO install the SP1! I dunno how the hell did you test the SP1 and why you think it’s ‘bad’, but Vista before the SP1, compared to now, it’s just unthinkable!

    The system would also crash from time to time, for no know reason.
    Now I’ve been running it 24/7 for at least 1 month and don’t even had 1 crash.

    Memory management seems to be better as well.

    If this is with the SP1, I can’t wait for an SP2! :-) There’s when XP really started to shine, so…maybe it’s an ‘SP2′ thing…:o)

  2. debi Says:

    I have a Dell Inspirion 1720. I had never even heard of Sevice Pack 1 until I attempted to download CS4 onto my laptop. A message at the beginning of the download said that SP1 is required before I could continue with the download. Well after several failed attempts and several hours on the phone with both Dell and Microsoft. They decide to send me a reinstallation disk and the SP1 disk…that was 3 weeks ago.

    Does anyone have an easier way to fix this problem? Is the SP1 really going to automatically download this month? I dont want to backup and reinstall if I don’t have to. HELP!!!

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