Windows Vista SP1 Officially Released

Check your Windows Updates guys, because the long awaited Service Pack 1 for Vista has finally been released.

So how do I get it?

  1. Open the Start Menu and type windows update, then push enter
  2. Click Check for Updates in the Sidebar
  3. The Windows Service Pack 1 update should be available

Still don’t see it?
Microsoft said they wouldn’t release it via Windows Update via April, but a lot of users have found it available as an update. If you can’t find it, here are the links for the Standalone Service Packs:

Download Windows Service Pack 1 Standalone (32-bit based systems)
Download Windows Service Pack 1 Standalone (64-bit based systems)

Some of the most notable changes are:

  • Less UAC prompts in specific scenarios
  • Improved third-party support for software and hardware
  • WGA tweaked to prevent two popular activation bypass methods
  • Support for DirectX 10.1
  • File transfers no longer hang and take forever
  • Better responsiveness in resuming, shutting down, and sleep (hibernation)
  • Some “sleep” problems fixed (Many were unable to put their computer to sleep)

Quoted from the Microsoft website, before you install SP1:

If you install Windows Vista and then install SP1 without first activating Windows Vista, you might not be able to uninstall the service pack. Either activate Windows Vista before you install SP1 or activate SP1 before you attempt to uninstall the service pack.

Another quote for after installing SP1:

The Windows Vista SP1 install process clears the user-specific data that is used by Windows to optimize performance, which may make the system feel less responsive immediately after install. As the customer uses their SP1 PC, the system will be retrained over the course of a few hours or days and will return to the previous level of responsiveness.

For the less tech-savvy, I have composed a less technical list of the most important updates made in Service Pack 1 below. For more detailed information, here are a couple of useful links:

  • Things to know before you download Windows Vista SP1
  • Full list of Hotfixes and Security Updates included in Windows Vista SP1
  • Full List of Notable Changes in Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (long version of what is below)

Notable Updates in SP1 (Basic Version):

Hardware ecosystem support and enhancements:

– Support for DX10.1
– Support for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray drives
– Support for new types of digital televisions and networked DVD players to work with Windows Media Center

Application Compatibility Improvements:

– Increased application compatibility (updates can be obtained via Windows Update after installation of SP1)

Reliability Improvements:

– Fixes many crashes and hangs caused by drivers, Windows Media Player, and Windows Calendar
– Reduces chances of data-loss while ejecting NTFS-formatted removable media (your external hard drives)
– Improves connection between two computers (PC to PC WiFi connection or through the use of Remote Assistance and Windows Meeting Space applications)
– Improved the Startup Repair tool so it can fix PCs unbootable due to missing system files
– Windows Backup tool now includes EFS encrypted files in backup

Performance and Power Consumption Improvements:

– Reduced power consumption or improved battery life
– Addresses several problems that allow the computer unable to hibernate or go to sleep
– Improves speed for copying files, extracting, and compressing files:

  • 25% faster when copying files locally on the same disk on the same computer
  • 45% faster when copying files from a remote non-Windows Vista system to a SP1 system
  • 50% faster when copying files from a remote SP1 system to a local SP1 system

– Reduced glitches occuring during media performance
– Improves the time to read large images by 50%
– Shutdown time improved
– Improved resume times
– Reduced delays occuring when resuming from a photo screensaver or unlocking the PC
– New Print driver technologies

Security Improvements:

– Includes all previously released Security Bulletin fixes affecting Windows Vista
– Improves many aspects of security in Vista that include Bitlocker, Windows Security Center, and others.

Support for New Technologies and Standards:

– Adds support for the Parental Controls Games Restrictions
– Enhances Firewall and IPsec cryptographic algorithms
– Updated drivers are delivered primarily via Windows Update and directly from hardware vendors. Only a small number of critical drivers are included as part of Windows Vista (display and audio drivers)

Desktop Administration and Management:

– Allows Disk Defragmenter to defragment individual volumes
– Allows the use of Network Diagnostics to solve most common file-sharing problems, and not just network connection problems
– Includes a new security policy called UAC: AllowUAccess which allows applications to prompt for elevation without using the secure desktop. This feature is mainly for remote helpers that can perform administrative tasks during a Remote Assistance session.

Setup and Deployment Improvements:

– Enables support for hotpatching, which is the ability to apply updates to running processes without rebooting
– Allows 64-bit versions of Windows Vista to be installed from a 32-bit OS
– Improved reliability during OS installation
– Improves the installation and uninstallation of updates

General Improvements and Enhancements:

– Allows users to select a default desktop search program similar to the way search-engine defaults are set in web browsers
– Windows Vista will report the amount of memory installed rather than report the amount of system memory available to the OS. (Your 4GB system will not indicate 4GBs of memory even though less than 4GB is being used.)
– Reduces the number of UAC prompts from 4 to 1 when dealing with folders in protected locations
– Prevents the OEM Bios Exploits and Grace Timer exploits from working Still need help? Check out our new forums where you can get an even faster and better response!