Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate with Service
Operating Systems are like living organisms
that are continually changing, whether they are fixing "bugs",
supporting the latest hardware or general improvements, this is the
nature of the operating systems.
Although Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system has been available
since 2007, there bas been a considerable amount of patches released
since then to improve the overall system.
Thankfully these patches are free to Vista users and for new users to
Vista, Microsoft have released Windows Vista Ultimate with Service Pack
1 (32/64-bit) which integrates these patches into the operating system.
Although patches and fixes will forever continue, Windows Vista Ultimate
with Service Pack 1 is now the definitive version for those purchasing
new computer systems or are finally upgrading to this great operating
It should also be noted that the Service Pack for Windows Vista Ultimate
is not just for this version of windows as it also applies for Windows
Vista home Premium and Windows Vista home Premium Upgrade for example.
Microsoft categorizes the updates of Service Pack into the following
improvements, including all previously released updates, which
address reliability, security, and performance (SP1 doesnt include
updates released in the two months prior to the SP1 release,
reducing the number of last-minute changes in the critical time just
prior to release.)
Support for emerging
hardware and standards, such as an Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)
and flash-based devices formatted using the Extended File Allocation
Table (exFAT) file format
help businesses better optimize their IT infrastructures
The world's most
popular operating system
In relation to the updates of Vista,
generally these changes incline towards system security and before the
Macintosh or Linux users jump on their high horse, the Windows platform
of operating systems is the most widely used system in the world that is
used on millions of different computer configurations and of course
millions of users.
With the good, come the bad which is why Microsoft always holds their
system security high, ensuring that users have a flawless and safe
service. For existing users of Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate, there
is not need to purchase this edition with Service Pack 1 because if you
have your system updates set to automatic, the operating system will
automatically download any patches to your system. However, if you have
just purchased a new system or wish to upgrade to Vista (provided you
have the correct system specifications), than this version is made for.
Existing users do not need to fret either when they re-install their
operating system because Service Pack 1 is also available as a complete
Installation of Vista Ultimate
Courtesy of AMD, our test machine for Windows Vista Ultimate included a
Phenom II Processor, YYY motherboard, 4GB of RAM and a "blank" 500GB
SATA Hard Drive. The beauty of the current range of operating systems
from Microsoft is that the installation process requires little "input"
by the user which means less fiddling by the end-user as the operating
system selects all the correct settings for your system
most of the
In regards to what system requirements you need, Windows Vista Ultimate
with Service Pack 1 requires a Intel x86 1Ghz Processor, 1GB of RAM,
40GB Hard Drive, DirectX 9.0 compatible graphics card with 128MB of RAM
and a DVD-ROM drive. Microsoft are a tad ambitious with these
specifications, however the system will work on the above
specifications, although some features will need to tweaked or turned
off, such as the Aero interface of Vista.
In order to install Microsoft Windows Vista
Ultimate, all we needed to do was turn our computer on, insert the DVD
into the drive and "presto", the installation process began and a little
over an hour, the installation was finally completed and we were ready
to test Vista. With minimal prompting from the user, Vista even detected
our network and successfully connected to the internet.
It should be noted that installation times vary, depending on computer
specifications such as CPU speed, memory configuration and of course
hard drive speeds. Once installed, we were greeted to the Vista login
screen and then after we logged in, we greeted to the Aero interface
that is an interactive feature of Vista. In terms of appearance, Service
Pack 1 is almost identical to the original Vista interface with just a
few tweaks here and there. Needless to say, there is an improvement.
As this was a fresh install of the
operating system with no "junk" (e.g. installed programs), the speed of
Vista was exceptionally fast, whether it was navigating the operating
system or opening up programs such as "WordPad", "paint" or Internet
Explorer, it was extremely impressive.
Thankfully we compared this to the original Vista Ultimate with all the
relevant updates and needless to say, Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
with Service Pack 1 won the performance competition. We also installed
the latest version of Microsoft Office, Norton Internet Security 2009
and Adobe CS4 on both systems to benchmark. Needless to say, the Service
Pack 1 edition still had the edge in terms of performance which is good
news and shows that Microsoft did not simply bundle all their patches
Compared to previous operating systems such as Windows XP or the
notorious Windows Millennium, Vista Ultimate is quite a speedy operating
system that reduces load-times and lag considerably with the biggest
improvement being the speed it accesses files from the hard drive such
as copying and extracting. For instance, compressing huge files on your
hard drive still makes the operating system quite useable with only a
tad amount of slowdown, whereas in the past, some programs (depending on
computer configurations) would crawl along.
Probably one of the most noticeable improvements with Service Pack 1 is
the "sleep" mode of Vista that now powers down considerably faster and
also powers up considerably faster. They even fixed an issue we had with
our video card (AMD/ATI 4870X2) which would display lines through our
monitor upon waking from "sleep" mode. We tested a variety of programs
between the non-service pack edition and the innate service pack edition
and load times improved between 40 80%.
Synopsis of Features
Service Pack 1 adds a variety of new security features into the
operating system which are must have installations in order to prevent
unauthorized access to your system. Thankfully with Microsoft Windows
Vista Ultimate with Service Pack 1, these are now integrated into the
operating system itself, ensuring a more secure system.
For instance, Remote Desktop files are now
electronically signed in Service Pack 1 that provides additional
security to the user or the addition of Secure Socket Tunnelling
Protocol for almost total protection for your VPNs.
Microsoft's BitLocker program has also received a face lift and now
allows you to encrypt a wide range of devices from portable hard drive
to USB devices that is not limited to bootable devices or Vista systems
It should also be noted that with Service Pack 1, Vista now supports the
powerful gaming platform DirectX 3D 10 which means those with the latest
graphic cards can now play and see some of the best PC games available.
We tested a wide range of games from the latest version of Farcry to
World of Warcraft and there was a slight improvement over performance
compared to the original version of Vista.
In conclusion, Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit) with Service Pack 1 is
more stable, has better security features and better performance in
relation to speeds and load times. Best of all, Microsoft continue
listening to the wider community, addressing a variety of issues that
have been made known.
It also gives the user better network
features that include performance and security plus the latest
standards, ensuring a truly holistic approach to networking. At the end
of day, Vista still has quite a bit of life left in it and this latest
edition ensures that Microsoft support their extensive community with
only the best options. While we wait for "Windows 7.0", Microsoft
Windows Vista Ultimate is still a very viable and affordable option till
Please click here to read
our original review of Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
For those techno junkies, the following is
a link from Microsoft, going into great detail some of the changes in
Windows Vista Service Pack 1.
Notable Changes in Windows Vista Service Pack 1
Microsoft continuously improves the Windows Vistaฎ Operating System by
providing ongoing updates while working with software and hardware
vendors to help them to deliver improved compatibility, reliability and
performance. These updates are provided to customers directly by our
hardware and software partners, as well as from Microsoft in the form of
hotfixes distributed on a regular basis using Windows Update. Updates to
Windows are also delivered directly to some affected customers and
preinstalled by PC manufacturers.
Windows Vista SP1 is an update to Windows Vista that, along with
improvements delivered via these other channels, addresses feedback from
our customers and partners. By providing these fixes integrated into a
single service pack which will be thoroughly tested by Microsoft and by
industry partners and customers during the beta cycle, Microsoft
provides a single high quality update that minimizes deployment and
testing complexity for customers.
In addition to all previously released updates, SP1 contains changes
focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues,
supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several
emerging standards. SP1 also continues to make it easier for IT
administrators to deploy and manage Windows Vista. Service Packs are not
intended to be a vehicle for releasing significant new features or
functionality; however some existing components do gain slightly
enhanced functionality in SP1 to support industry standards and new
Table 1: Windows Vista SP1 Delivery Mechanisms
Hardware Ecosystem Support and Enhancements
Adds support for new UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface)
industry standard PC firmware for 64-bit systems with functional parity
with legacy BIOS firmware, which allows Windows Vista SP1 to install to
GPT format disks, boot and resume from hibernate using UEFI firmware.
Adds support for x64 EFI network boot.
Adds support for the 64-bit version of MSDASQL, which acts as a
bridge from OLEDB to a variety of ODBC drivers thus simplifying
application migration from 32-bit platforms to 64-bit Windows Vista.
Adds support for Direct3Dฎ 10.1, an update to Direct3D 10 that extends
the API to support new hardware features, enabling 3D application and
game developers to make more complete and efficient use of the upcoming
generations of graphics hardware.
Adds support for exFAT, a new file system supporting larger overall
capacity and larger files, which will be used in Flash memory storage
and consumer devices.
Adds support for SD Advanced DMA (ADMA) on compliant SD standard host
controllers. This new transfer mechanism, which is expected to be
supported in SD controllers soon, will improve transfer performance and
decrease CPU utilization.
Adds support for creating a single DVD media that boots on PCs with
either BIOS or EFI.
Enhances support for high density drives by adding new icons and
labels that will identify HD-DVD and Blu-ray Drives as high density
Adds support to enable new types of Windows Media Center Extenders,
such as digital televisions and networked DVD players, to connect to
Windows Media Center PCs.
Enhances the MPEG-2 decoder to support content protection across a
user accessible bus on Media Center systems configured with Digital
Cable Tuner hardware. This also effectively enables higher levels of
hardware decoder acceleration for commercial DVD playback on some
Enhances Netproj.exe to temporarily resize the desktop to accommodate
custom projector resolutions when connecting to Windows Network
Application Compatibility Improvements
Since the release of Windows Vista, the ecosystem has made great
progress and the number of applications that have the Works with Windows
Vista and Certified for Windows Vista logos has grown to well over 2000.
Thanks to the rich instrumentation capability of Windows Vista, we are
able to understand the type of problems that our customers are
experiencing (while respecting their personal information and privacy
preferences). We use this information to focus improvements in Windows
Vista, but we also share this information with our software vendor
partners to help improve the reliability and compatibility of 3rd party
It is our goal that applications that run on the Windows Vista Operating
System today and are written using public APIs will continue to work as
designed on Windows Vista SP1.
Reliability improvements vary from PC to PC based on hardware,
environment, and usage. Customers will experience varying levels of
SP1 addresses issues many of the most common causes of crashes and
hangs in Windows Vista, as reported by Windows Error Reporting. These
include issues relating to Windows Calendar, Windows Media Player, and a
number of drivers included with Windows Vista.
Improves reliability by preventing data-loss while ejecting NTFS-formatted
Improves reliability of IPSec connections over IPv6 by ensuring by
ensuring that all Neighbor Discovery RFC traffic is IPsec exempted.
Improves certain problem scenarios where a driver goes to sleep with
incomplete packet transmissions by ensuring the driver is given enough
time to transmit or discard any outstanding packets before going to
Improves wireless ad-hoc connection (computer-to-computer wireless
connections) success rate
Improves the success of peer-to-peer connections, such as Windows
Meeting Space or Remote Assistance applications, when both PCs are
behind symmetric firewalls.
Improves Windows Vistas built-in file backup solution to include EFS
encrypted files in the backup.
An improved SRT (Startup Repair Tool), which is part of the Windows
Recovery environment (WinRE), can now fix PCs unbootable due to certain
missing OS files.
Users who did not opt-in to the Customer Experience Improvement
Program (CEIP) will be prompted again to join after installing SP1. The
experience will remain the same and the default will continue to be
Performance and Power Consumption Improvements
Performance improvements vary from PC to PC based on hardware,
environment, scenarios, and usage, so different customers will
experience varying levels of benefits. About 20-25% of these
improvements will be released separately via Windows update, prior to
Windows Vista SP1.
Improves the performance of browsing network file shares by consuming
Improves power consumption when the display is not changing by
allowing the processor to remain in its sleep state which consumes less
Addresses the problem of the Video chipset (VSync interrupt) not
allowing the system to stay asleep.
Improves power consumption and battery life by addressing an issue
that causes a hard disk to continue spinning when it should spin down,
in certain circumstances.
Improves the speed of adding and extracting files to and from a
compressed (zipped) folder.
Significantly improves the speed of moving a directory with many files
Improves performance while copying files using BITS (Background
Intelligent Transfer Service).
Improves performance over Windows Vistas current performance across
the following scenarios:
- 25% faster when copying files locally on the same disk on the same
- 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
Improves responsiveness when doing many kinds of file or media
manipulations. For example, with Windows Vista today, copying files
after deleting a different set of files can make the copy operation take
longer than needed. In SP1, the file copy time is the same as if no
files were initially deleted.
Improves the copy progress estimation when copying files within
Windows Explorer to about two seconds.
Improves the time to read large images by approximately 50%.
Improves IE performance on certain Jscript intensive websites,
bringing performance in line with previous IE releases.
Addresses a problem that caused a delay of up to 5 minutes after boot
with specific ReadyDrive capable hard drives.
Improves the effectiveness of a Windows ReadyBoost device in reducing
the time to resume from standby and hibernate by increasing the amount
of data stored in the ReadyBoost device that can be used during a resume
Includes improvements to Windows Superfetch that help to further
improve resume times, in many environments.
In specific scenarios, SP1 reduces the shutdown time by a few seconds
by improving the Windows Vista utility designed to sync a mobile device.
Improves the time to resume from standby for a certain class of USB
Hubs by approximately 18%.
Improves network connection scenarios by updating the logic that auto
selects which network interface to use (e.g., should a laptop use
wireless or wired networking when both are available).
Improves the performance of the user login experience on corporate PCs
outside of corporate environments (e.g., a corporate laptop taken home
for the evening), making it comparable with PCs within the corporate
Reduces the time it takes to return to the users session when using
the Photo screensaver, making it comparable to other screensavers.
Removes the delay that sometimes occurs when a user unlocks their PC.
Improves overall media performance by reducing many glitches.
In SP1, PC administrators are able to modify the network throttling
index value for the MMCSS (Multimedia Class Scheduling Service),
allowing them to determine the appropriate balance between network
performance and audio/video playback quality.
Windows Vista SP1 includes a new compression algorithm for the RDP
(Remote Desktop Protocol) that helps reduce network bandwidth required
to send bitmaps or images via RDP. The compression, which can be
selected by administrators via Group Policy settings, is transparent to
all RDP traffic, and typically reduces the size of the RDP stream by as
much as 25-60%, based on preliminary test results.
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.
SP1 addresses a number of customer performance concerns with new print
driver technologies, including XPS-based printing.
Windows Vista SP1 includes all previously
released Security Bulletin fixes which
affect Windows Vista.
SP1 includes Secure Development Lifecycle process updates, where
Microsoft identifies the root cause of each security bulletin and
improves our internal tools to eliminate code patterns that could lead
to future vulnerabilities.
Service Pack 1 includes supported APIs by which third-party security
and malicious software detection applications can work alongside Kernel
Patch Protection on 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. These APIs have
been designed to help security and non-security ISVs develop software
that extends the functionality of the Windows kernel on 64-bit systems,
in a documented and supported manner, and without disabling or weakening
the protection offered by Kernel Patch Protection.
Improves the security of running RemoteApp programs and desktops by
allowing RDP files to be signed. Administrators now have the control to
differentiate the user experience based on the publisher's identity.
Data Execution Protection (DEP) is a memory-protection feature
available beginning with Windows XP and Server 2003. SP1 improves
security with a new set of Win32 APIs to allow programmatic control over
a processs DEP policy. This will provide application developers with
finer control on a processs DEP settings for security, testability,
compatibility, and reliability.
Improves the trustworthiness of data presented in Windows Security
Center (WSC) by ensuring that only authenticated security applications
can communicate with WSC.
Improves security on wired networks by enabling single sign on (SSO)
for authenticated wired networks. The single sign on experience presents
the user with a single point of credential entry rather than being
double prompted for local and network logon.
For customers upgrading from Windows XP to Windows Vista SP1, the MSRT
(Malicious Software Removal Tool) will not run as part of the upgrade.
Rather the up-to-date MSRT offered monthly by Windows Update will help
The cryptographic random number generation is improved to gather seed
entropy from more sources, including a Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
when available, and replaces the general purpose pseudo-random number
generator (PRNG) with an AES-256 counter mode PRNG for both user and
Improves security in smart card scenarios:
o Introduction of a new PIN channel to securely collect smart card PINs
via a PC. This new capability mitigates a number of attacks that today
would require using an external PIN reader to prevent.
o Enables smart cards that use biometric authentication instead of a
Improves security over Teredo interface by blocking unsolicited
traffic by default. This has already been addressed in a Security Update
for Windows Vista (KB935807).
Improves BitLocker Drive Encryption by offering an additional
multi-factor authentication method that combines a key protected by the
TPM (Trusted Platform Module) with a Startup Key stored on a USB storage
device and a user-generated Personal Identification Number (PIN).
Enhances the BitLocker encryption support to volumes other than
bootable volumes in Windows Vista (for Enterprise and Ultimate SKUs).
Improves the OCSP (Online Certificate Status Protocol) implementation
such that it can be configured to work with OCSP responses that are
signed by trusted OCSP signers, separate from the issuer of the
certificate being validated.
Enables a standard user to invoke the CompletePC Backup application,
provided that user can supply administrator credentials. Previously,
only administrators could launch the application.
The Remote Desktop client in Windows Vista SP1 provides user interface
improvements for user and server authentication. The RDP client
streamlines the multiple steps end users must follow to providing their
credentials to Windows Server 2003 (or earlier) Terminal Servers, and
simplifies the management of previously saved credentials.
Support for New Technologies and Standards
Adds support for new strong cryptographic algorithms used in IPsec.
SHA-256, AES-GCM, and AES-GMAC for ESP and AH, ECDSA, SHA-256, and
SHA-384 for IKE and AuthIP.
Adds the NIST SP 800-90 Elliptical Curve Cryptography (ECC)
pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) to the list of available PRNG in
Adds support for SSTP (Secure Sockets Tunnel Protocol), a remote
access VPN tunneling protocol that will be part of Microsofts RRAS
(Routing and Remote Access Service) platform. SSTP helps provide
full-network VPN remote access connections over SSL, removing some of
the VPN connectivity challenges that other VPN tunnels face traversing
NAT, web proxies, and firewalls.
Adds full support for the latest IEEE draft of 802.11n wireless
Adds support for obtaining identity and invoke identity UI from an
inner method via a new EAPHost runtime API as well as a configuration UI
for tunnel methods. These APIs are useful for developers working on
tunneling/multi-phased EAP authentication methods as well as those who
implement networking supplicants which consume EAP authentications.
Adds support for Windows Smartcard Framework to enable compliance with
the EU Digital Signature Directive and National ID / eID.
Adds support for the Parental Controls Games Restrictions for ratings
from the Korean Game Rating Board (GRB).
Enhances TCP Chimney network card support so that a TCP Chimney
network card can also support Compound TCP.
Adds support in the Wireless Client for a new FIPS (Federal
Information Processing) compliant mode. This mode is FIPS 140-2
compliant because it moves the cryptographic processing from the
wireless network card to an existing FIPS-approved cryptographic
Enhances Windows Firewall and IPsec to use the new cryptographic
algorithms that are Suite B compliant.
Updated drivers are delivered primarily via Windows Update and
directly from hardware vendors, not as part of a service pack. However,
a small number of critical drivers are included as part of Windows Vista
(e.g., display drivers, audio drivers) and some of these have been
Desktop Administration and Management
Allows users and administrators to control which volumes the disk
Allows users and administrators using Network Diagnostics to solve the
most common file sharing problems, not just network connection problems.
Enables polling of RMS server at regular intervals to identify new
templates and download them to the local template store. Previously
these templates were pushed to clients via a combination of Group Policy
and scripting. Additionally SP1 provides an API for applications to
query and access template in the template store.
Windows Vista SP1 includes a new Security Policy (UAC: Allow UAccess),
which allows applications to prompt for elevation without using the
secure desktop. This allows a remote helper to enter administrative
credentials during a Remote Assistance session.
Allows administrators to configure NAP Clients to:
o Receive updates from Windows Update or Microsoft Update, in addition
to WSUS (Windows Server Update Services), as is the case for Windows
o Define the time a client has to retrieve and submit Statements of
Health. This allows the NAP client to respond in time when a particular
connection has a timeout requirement.
o Use DNS server records to discover health registration authority (HRA)
servers when there are no HRAs configured through local configuration
or group policy.
Allow healthy clients used by the Help Desk to establish IPSec
connections to unhealthy machines to help resolve problems. This
improves the supportability of NAP by allowing Help Desk technicians
with health compliant machines to establish connections (e.g. remote
desktop, file share) to help resolve issues.
Allows administrators to add a WSD (Web Services for Devices) Print
Device to remote Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 machines. This can
be accomplished by using the Print Management Console.
Allows the administrators to use a new admin flag to allow WMI
scripted enumeration of all contents in the CSC cache. This will enhance
WMI scripted administration for offline folders in Windows Vista.
Previously this was available only through the COM API.
Improves printing to local printers from within a Terminal Server
Allows users to rename or delete folders while working offline with
redirected folders. This functionality is important to users that use
Folder Redirection and work in offline mode for extended periods of
time. This functionality is disabled by default but can be enabled by
enabling a registry setting.
Enhances the existing Vista EAPHost service by including an EAP
(Extensible Authentication Protocol) Certification Program (ECP)
Detection Mechanism. This mechanism makes delivery of EAP Methods
submitted to the ECP available through Windows Update.
Adds a WMI interface as a replacement for the MoveUser.exe tool which
was removed from Windows Vista. This allows customers to remap an
existing workgroup or domain user account profile to a new domain user
Allows an administrator to configure properties of a network, such as
the name, and deploy it network-wide via a Group Policy snap-in.
Allows KMS (Key Management Service) to run within a Virtual Machine
Setup and Deployment Improvements
Enables global organizations to more easily deploy SP1 in a
multi-lingual environment, as SP1 includes all 36 language packs.
However, this change contributes to the increased size of the standalone
Enables users to get updated Help content via a separate downloadable
package. This package will be released around SP1 release.
Enables support for hotpatching, a reboot-reduction servicing
technology designed to maximize uptime. It works by allowing Windows
components to be updated (or "patched") while they are still in use by a
running process. Hotpatch-enabled update packages are installed via the
same methods as traditional update packages, and will not trigger a
Improves migration and upgrade scenarios relating to the component
that allows alternate text input modalities like speech, handwriting,
and multi-byte character input editors in applications that were not
written specifically to support them.
Improves OS deployment by enabling 64-bit versions of Windows Vista to
be installed from a 32-bit OS. This will allow IT professionals to
maintain just a single WinPE image.
Improves OS deployment by supporting the installation of offline boot
critical storage drivers. WinPE will automatically look to a hidden
partition for drivers. It will search that partition recursively, and if
boot critical drivers are present they will be loaded. Non-boot critical
drivers will be picked up and staged, but not loaded prior to the OS
Improves patch deployment by retrying failed updates in cases where
multiple updates are pending and the failure of one update causes other
updates to fail as well.
Enables reliable OS installation by optimizing OS installers so that
they are run only when required during patch installation. Fewer
installers operating results in fewer points of potential failure during
installation, which leads to more robust and reliable installation.
Improves overall install time for updates by optimizing the query for
installed OS updates.
Improves robustness during the patch installation by being resilient
to transient errors such as sharing violations or access violations.
Improves robustness of transient failures during the disk cleanup of
old OS files after install.
Improves the uninstallation experience for OS updates by improving the
uninstallation routines in custom OS installation code.
Improves reliability of OS updates by making them more resilient to
unexpected interruptions, such as power failure.
Improved instrumentation allows additional data to be sent to
Microsoft via the CEIP (Customer Experience Improvement Program) when
enabled. This telemetry data led to the identification of numerous
issues that are addressed in SP1 and resulted in improvement in the
reliability of OS servicing. (CEIP is respectful of personally
identifiable information and adheres to terms discussed in the EULA.)
After the SP1 version of the OPK (OEM pre-installation kit) is
installed, further OPK updates will not be required if a servicing stack
update is issued. (The servicing stack is the underlying set of binaries
used to update the system). Post SP1, offline images may be updated
using the servicing stack binaries contained in the image rather than
the servicing stack binaries in the OPK.
SP1 exposes Ideal Send Backlog (ISB) information to Winsock2
clients to enable better throughput over high bandwidth, high latency
links when communicating with Windows Server 2008. Applications that are
modified to use the new ISB info will provide better throughput when
sending large amounts of data over such links to other Windows Vista or
Windows Server 2008 machines. Applications not modified to take
advantage of this change will function as before.
SP1 includes throughput improvements to Send in TransmitFile/TransmitPackets
and ftp.exe, when communicating with Windows Server 2008 over high
bandwidth, high latency links. Ftp.exe and other applications using
TransmitFile/TransmitPackets on Windows Vista SP1 will achieve better
throughput when sending files over such links to other Windows Vista or
Windows Server 2008 machines.
Feature or API Changes
GPMC (Group Policy Management Console) will be uninstalled with
Service Pack 1 and GPEdit will default to Local Group Policy editing.
Following these changes, SP1 users can download an updated version of
GPMC which will include new Group Policy capabilities including adding
comments to GPOs or individual settings and searching for specific Group
The MSN Connection Center Dial-up Internet Access connector was
removed from the Windows Vista Connection Wizard.
Includes a new Offline Files interface that exports the dirty byte
count for a file that is modified offline. This interface is exposed
both through the COM APIs and WMI provider for Offline Files.
General Improvements and Enhancements
SP1 includes a number of changes which allow computer manufacturers
and consumers to select a default desktop search program similar to the
way they currently select defaults for third-party web browsers and
media players. That means that in addition to the numerous ways a user
could access a third party search solution in Windows Vista, they can
now get to their preferred search results from additional entry points
in the Start Menu and Explorer Windows in Windows Vista with SP1. 3rd
party software vendors simply need to register their search application
using the newly provided protocol in Windows Vista SP1 to enable these
options for their customers.
With SP1, Windows Vista will report the amount of system memory
installed rather than report the amount of system memory available to
the OS. Therefore 32-bit systems equipped with 4GB of RAM will report
all 4GB in many places throughout the OS, such as the System Control
Panel. However, this behavior is dependent on having a compatible BIOS,
so not all users may notice this change.
SP1 reduces the number of UAC (User Account Control) prompts from 4 to
1 when creating or renaming a folder at a protected location.
Improvements in the Licensing User Interface and User Experience
including more details in the help about activation and what happens if
user does not activate; more detailed and descriptive dialog text; raw
error codes replaced with easily comprehensible text.
SP1 modifies the text in the Ultimate Extras Control Panel to describe
the Ultimate Extras program in more general terms.
Upon scanning a photo with the Vista scanning experience, SP1 will
open Explorer rather than opening Windows Photo Gallery.
Users are now required to enter a password hint during the initial
setup of Windows Vista SP1. This change was made based on feedback from
top PC manufactures that many customers frequently do not remember their
password and because the administrator account is turned off by default
on Windows Vista, these users do not have a way to access to their PCs.
A password hint helps avoid this frustrating scenario.
Improves compatibility with 3rd party diagnostic tools that rely on
raw sockets by applying the same delivery logic to control (ICMP v4 and
v6) and regular packages.
With SP1, Microsoft differentiates the experience customers have using
non-genuine versions of our software. This is based on feedback we heard
from volume license customers in particular as part of our Windows
Genuine Advantage program. Further details can be found in an interview
with Microsoft Corporate Vice President Mike Sievert at
SP1 also includes updates that deal with two exploits we have seen,
which can affect system stability for our customers.
o The OEM Bios exploit, which involves modifying system files and the
BIOS of the motherboard to mimic a type of product activation performed
on copies of Windows that are pre-installed by OEMs in the factory.
o The Grace Timer exploit, which attempts to reset the grace time
limit between installation and activation to something like the year
2099 in some cases.
Windows Vista Alignment with Windows Server 2008
Windows Vista is aligned with Windows Server 2008, meaning that many
files are common to both products. A result of this design is that there
are cases where a common binary is modified to enable a server scenario
that has limited or no effect on Windows Vista SP1 capabilities. Here
are few examples:
File Sharing: The file sharing subsystem on Windows Vista only allows
10 concurrent inbound connections. Windows Server 2008 must scale to
support thousands of concurrent connections. During the testing and
customer feedback phase of Windows Server 2008 development, the file
sharing subsystems are tuned and refined to optimize the file sharing
stack for performance, scalability and reliability. This level of tuning
and refinement are not typically applicable on a 10-connection limit
client, but are critical to a file server role. Changes like this are
done primarily for the server scenarios, although these changes may also
benefit Windows Vista SP1.
IIS 7: IIS was included in some Windows Vista SKUs to enable web-based
developers to write and test their applications. IIS in Windows Server
2008 is a significant server role which requires Internet-level
scalability and performance requirements. The IIS7 components have gone
through significant performance and reliability enhancements since
Windows Vista originally shipped, in order to be a large-scale server
component. These changes do not affect most Windows Vista users who do
not even have the IIS7 components installed, however because Windows
Vista and Windows Server are aligned, these changes are included in
Windows Vista SP1.
Concurrent User Support: Key subsystems such as the Windows Logon
process and the core kernel need only support user-switching scenarios
on Windows Vista. However, on Windows Server 2008, where a Terminal
Server may have thousands of users logged in simultaneously, these
subsystems must be tuned for maximum performance and reliability.
Changes like this are done primarily for the server scenarios, although
they may also benefit Windows Vista SP1.