A Second Shot: Windows Vista SP1

by Ryan Smith on 2/27/2008 12:00 AM EST
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  • siniranji - Saturday, April 26, 2008 - link

    when i apply service pack 1 to my licensed Vista, it turns to
    evoluation version and due date is june 2008
    Reply
  • siniranji - Saturday, April 26, 2008 - link

    when i apply service pack 1 to my licensed Vista, it turns to
    evoluation version and due date is june 2008
    Reply
  • shinomen - Saturday, March 08, 2008 - link

    When Vista was first about to hit shelves I was all for upgrading to the new OS. But once I started using it in real world environments, I found that my productivity started to suffer due to the revamped interface, lack of support for some older hardware and software, and added security.

    I understand anything new is going to be a learning experience, but it doesn't help when every move I make is preceeded with an extra step or message of confirmation (are you sure you want to continue, how about now, do you want to continue).

    For example, I'm trying to troublshoot networking issues with a client of mine. I'm use to window key + R , type cmd, press enter, ipconfig /release and the computer does what I want. But with Vista, I have to take the extra step of right clicking the cmd program and running with elevated privilages (I have now found a keyboard shortcut to do the same)

    Or for the same scenario, I need to telnet into the dsl modem. So again, I hit Window Key + R, cmd, telnet. But with windows vista, this is not installed. Ok, now I have to go to add remove programs, windows components, and install the telnet. (I hope I remembered to bring my DVD!)

    I understand that hardware support is largely due to manufacturers writing new drivers to be compatible with the new OS, but there were so many times I would install a peice of hardware (or printer specifically) and there would be no driver support. But because the manufacturer is making no real money off updating the driver and would in fact lose money by going back and writing the driver, they take their time realeasing it in hopes that the consumer will purcahse a newer model that already is supported in Vista. Again, not specifically Windows fault, but windows did change the way drivers are installed or supported (I don't know the techical details why it doesn't work, but I know it doesn't work).

    Software support, you're lucky if you can get the older software to work, (i.e. quickbooks 2006) otherwise just go out and purchase new software. No one likes to have to drop money to upgrade their line of business software just to get back to a functioning state that they were in with Windows XP. (Might not be a big deal with one computer, but when you're talking 5 to 10 computers, the money adds up)

    Performance. If your going to buy a new machine that has higher end hardware, then vista most likely will perform well (not as well as the same machine running xp, but well). But if you're going to take a machine running xp and upgrade it to vista just to take a performance hit, then it is not wise to upgrade. (Also, don't forget that now that you upgraded the old machine to vista, you may need to purchase more ram, and also update any software that is not compatible with vista)

    So, those are my gripes for the people that say Vista is a better operating system, or for the people that say they have had no problems with their vista computers.

    (side note: many times when I ask my pro vista customers what they think about vista, their response is "Oh, I love it, I don't know why people say they have problems, I haven't had any trouble with it". So my response is "Yeah, alot of people with older hardware and software were have compatibility issues", and my customer says, "Oh yeah, I couldn't get my printer to install, so I just bought a new one" ----great if you have the money to "just buy a new one")
    Reply
  • ufoall - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    I was running vista on my E4400 with 2g memory and PCi e .. vista runs very slow after install couples of software.. if i install same software on my xp it runs much faster than vista... vista is a crap compare to oldies windows os... Reply
  • Beartwo - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    Since buying a new pc just before christmas I have been plagued with Messenger, Windows mail, Explorer and other internal applications crashing.
    The system is based on an Asus P5K-E mb with Core 2 Quad cpu, 3 Gb of RAM, Nvidia GeForce 8800GT gfx.
    From the first moment I turned the pc on I kept getting these errors. I flashed the bios and installed all the latest drivers (certified ones), but the problems persisted.
    It got to the point where Vista was simply not usable, the error reports I got from Vista were about as useful as a bicycle would be to a fish...
    I am back to Windows XP, with a few less dollars in my pocket and a useless OS sitting in a drawer.

    As far as I am concerned Vista has been a waste of time and money... kinda reminds me of a friend who bought a pc with Millenium preinstalled... sheesh.

    Reply
  • just4U - Sunday, March 02, 2008 - link

    I've been using Vista64 for 2 weeks now and I must say .. I am very happy with it. I was so leary about moving to a 64bit os and then adding Vista on top of it .. but it worked out fine. It accually seems to be more responsive in windows aplications and load times. Not sure if that's just because it's a fresh install or not yet. Anyway...

    That's without SP1 installed by the way. I've been waiting for the official launch of it instead of beta versions and release candidates.
    Reply
  • jkantor - Sunday, March 02, 2008 - link

    I don't know what's worse: settling for a world in which software "development" means shipping it before it works - or excusing a monopoly for forcing us to purchase an overpriced upgrade that offers no real improvements over the previous version. Reply
  • Mark Huson - Sunday, March 02, 2008 - link

    I have read somewhere that with SP1, Vista allows the user to install Windows XP from within Vista, and automatically adding the Windows XP install to the bootloader. Is this true? Reply
  • hoelder - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    I beta tested Vista and was very dismayed about it's resource hungry attitude and the money I would have to fork over to upgrade hardware so I would not lose any performance. It was not worth it with the enormous sticker price of Vista Ultimate. I still insist that Vista needs 4 GB of RAM (people were laughing at me then) and a SCSI RAID controller with 4 74GB drives RAID 5. And then something amazing happened. I was contracted by a company that used Linux. First, Linux is for geeks, second I get everything I need to do everyday business work. I discovered that for a business solution Linux was a more reliable solution if you looked at Enterprise Linux Desktop by SUSE or Red Hat and has a lot to offer to developers or administrators. So forget Vista, get Linux. Reply
  • mczak - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    This is really lame to just show 4GB even if only 3GB or so are usable. Ok maybe some users got confused if it didn't show all ram installed, but now make them believe all ram is available is better? Now it will be even harder to convince people that 32bit windows CAN'T use 4GB ram... Come on it can't be that difficult to show something like "4GB ram installed, 3GB addressable" instead.
    And the multimedia scheduler is still pathetic. Almost looks like MS didn't want to admit the concept is fundamentally broken, instead they offer some way for powerusers to make its behaviour acceptable...
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    It's probably to prevent all the tech calls saying, "Gee golly, I have 4 Giga-bites of RAM, but the screen only says I have 3! Where'd the other one go!".

    I don't see a problem with doing this, as if you care enough to know how much is actually addressable you probably already know the rest of the story anyway.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    Any word if you can use a non sp1 key with a sp1 disk?

    Most of us hate vista for some reasons, like it for others. It just happens to be that the reasons why we hate it are more than why we like it, such as the way you have to pick how audio is sent to outputs (i.e. analog or digital, but not both at the same time as in previous versions, also that darn cdrom audio input I need), UAC, the fact that after your initial install of Vista that those 80 updates will then cause it upon shutdown to process, then upon restart will spend even more time processing the updates (albeit it only happens once and sp1 will do it for you, for now that is), and of course, everyone's favorite, why the hell did they have to change things like how to remove programs?

    Did SP1 restore the cdrom audio input? Probably not. No, I use it for my TV tuner card which Microsoft feels I no longer need to use, which I can still buy.

    And for UEFI, perhaps now we can take control of features that should be in the BIOS, yeah, right (I'm looking at you Intel for not putting in S3 standby support on your D201GLY v1 and 2 boards!).
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    Many people use nLite or other programs to slipstream a service pack (among other programs and hotfixes). You can then burn this as a new .iso cd and use that in place of your original disk. Short story:

    I have a 3 year old system that I never reformatted (I know, the shame). When I built the system SP2 had just come out so my XP disk already has sp2 included. But obviously in 3 years quite a few (100's?) updates and hotfixes have come about and it would be a real pain to reformat and then have to go through all the reboots and installs. Not to mention the chance that during this my system could become compromised from a previous exploit.

    So I started hearing about "slipstreaming" and spent some time reading about it. These programs basically create a custom installation disk with exactly what you want (and excluding what you don't want), so that you can reformat the drive, install the slipstreamed version of XP or Vista, and have only a handful of updates (I think I had 8 updates total, and required 2 reboots). This is a fantastic way to start from scratch without spending a lot of time.

    RyanVM (at least for XP) keeps an infrequent update pack that I used with my SP2 disk to enable the reformat I described above. Once SP3 for XP comes out you could slipstream it to your existing disk in 20min and be ready to reinstall. Really I'll never go back to the old-fashioned way of hosing a system.

    HTH (and I apologize if you already knew this)
    Reply
  • kdog03 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Well? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    No. That's a fundamental limit of 32bit operation, it can't be fixed. Reply
  • mcnabney - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    In regard to the network throttling to make room for audio. A gigabit connection will be trimmed back to 80Mbs, 8% of capacity. Anandtech writes:

    "We’ll fully admit the problem will only affect a small number of users (those with gigabit networks who need high network performance while using multimedia applications), but then we’re exactly that kind of user."

    Hmmm. Lets think. What might need more than 80Mps while using audio? Hmmmm. How about, playing HD video off of a local media server?
    Reply
  • HaZaRd2K6 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I just recently bought an eSATA enclosure for backups (FAST!) and in the article you mention "The only significant loser here are file operations over high-latency high-bandwidth links". Would eSATA be included in this list? Any chance of some numbers to check eSATA performance? Reply
  • trparky - Sunday, March 02, 2008 - link

    The only difference between eSATA and SATA is the connector. Everything else is the same, even the data encoding used to transmit it across the wire. Reply
  • ellis - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Does anybody know of any good benchmarks made measuring the multitasking performance on Vista? (vs. XP?)

    And I'm not talking about the ability for multi-core optimized applications ability to distribute it's load on several cores, but on the ability to run several demanding single threaded applications in parallell nicely distributed on the avalable cores.

    So does anyone know of any test that has focused on this aspect of utilizing a multi-core CPUs?
    Perhaps comparing dual-core with quad-core, on XP and Vista?
    Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I cant think of a single benchmark for this other than the "benchmark suite" they use here at AT sometimes (bunch of apps doing certain things creating alot of load and timing it). But I wouldnt really need that as vista always felt more responsive with multiple heavy load tasks than XP - and it even does so on this almost 1 year old install.

    I would like to expect MS being able to improve on the far from perfect task scheduler that comes with XP for their new flagship OS. As far as i'm concerned, they succeeded.
    Reply
  • blppt - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I could be just imagining things, but I could swear that Aero is noticably more responsive after the SP1 update.

    System has been up for 14 days since I installed the RTM SP1 on x64 Home Premium. I'd say so far it is quite stable.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    It does feel snappier, especially switching to non-aero mode, for example when maximizing/minimizing mediacenter.

    Fruthermore, the UAC secure desktop mode doesnt feel as sluggish anymore when the system is under heavy load.
    Reply
  • Etern205 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Can any tell me what buid number is this sp1 and is this the same version as it was released to RTM?

    From what I've read some where it says the build number 1806 or is it 1084 has a major bug and there is another version with the build number 20xx.

    Reply
  • Tristesse27 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I'm always amazed at the way some people refer to Vista ("wretch" was used in this thread I believe). Vista Hate has taken on a life of its own, with I think many people claiming to hate Vista despite never having used it.

    The benchmarks that review sites keep coming out with seem rather silly. Vista vs SP1 vs XP SP2 vs Vista x64 SP1 vs XP SP1 vs .... As a user I'm more concerned with stability, and Vista has been very good to me throughout all my gaming. One horrible BSOD loop occurred from what I can remember, and that's because I was trying to use Alcohol 120's XP version. Plus I have to admit I'm a sucker for prettiness, and Vista is pretty damn slick.
    Reply
  • WaltC - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    Every time Microsoft introduces a new OS the nutballs come crawling out of the woodwork to post their "expert" hypercritical opinions...;) It's happened every single time, without exception. The "Vista sucks" bandwagon is par for the course at the moment, as basically you're hearing from people who don't like change and are really, really upset that Microsoft is forcing them back to school once again, or forcing them to buy new hardware, or both. I think it's fairly sad. But not to worry--a year from now these same hypercritical "experts" will be using nothing but Vista and they'll be swearing up and down that they never, ever said what they said about Vista...;) It is as inevitable as the sunrise.

    I was going to comment about what a poorly written article this was, but it's so full of mistakes and propaganda that I just don't have the time or inclination to write the lengthy rebuttal to this article that ought to be written, point by point. So a general critique will have to suffice.

    I've been using Vista on several networked machines at home for a year and have been running a lot of 3d-games and application software without experiencing any of the problems alluded to in this article. I did not "wait" on SP1 and have absolutely no regrets. The only thing about Vista SP1 that mildly interests me is that like all service packs it rolls months of updates into a single installation package.

    What's really ironic to me is that when I installed XP in November of 2001, I had a lot more issues--mainly driver issues--with XP than I have ever had with Vista. None of these so-called "experts" seems to have experienced that for themselves with XP (I think they really did but don't choose to remember it because it might get in the way of their Vista bashing).

    Indeed, in the lopsided and dishonest way that these "experts" write about XP, someone new to computers in general today would think that the current state of XP in terms of drivers and updates is the same as the original state of XP when it shipped. The truth is that on both counts the XP experience today is nothing like the XP experience just one year after XP initially shipped.

    Furthermore, prior to Vista shipping, these same people couldn't criticize XP enough; but once Vista shipped then they adopted XP as the Holy Grail of OSes...;) I don't have time to speculate on the reasons why these people are doing this, but I will say that I think that their fear that Vista is too good of an OS is actually what drives them. They think that by criticizing Vista and instead recommending yesterday's XP (which prior to Vista they could never say anything good about) they will be hurting Microsoft in the process, and that I think is their real goal as unfortunate as it may be.

    The really pathetic part of all of these Vista-bashing festivities is that the people who write these kinds of silly articles focus on gnats while they swallow camels whole. I mean, take for instance the teeny tiny spectrum of complaints this author pontificates on to the point of tedium in this article.

    You would think by reading it that this handful of complaints constitutes all the difference there is between XP and Vista. The author would have the reader focus on the tree and remain blind to the forest behind it. From new driver models to greatly enhanced security, just for starters, Vista is leaps and bounds ahead of XP. But you'd never, ever guess that to be true from reading this article, would you?

    Here are just *a few* problems I had with this article:

    *"We’re still waiting for someone besides Apple to start shipping consumer machines (or motherboards) with UEFI support, so this will be an issue we’ll pick up another day. (Ed: We did see a few demonstrations of UEFI boards at CES, though they're not yet publicly available.)"

    As I understand it, EFI is merely an Intel technology that Apple ships in Macs alongside a lot of other Intel technology, and I see the primary benefit of that to Apple being that it makes it that much harder to install and run OSX on non-Apple x86 hardware platforms which are essentially all BIOS driven--which is exactly the way Apple wants to keep it for as long as possible.

    It would have been nice if the author had bothered to tell us why he thinks EFI is better than a BIOS for x86 32-bit machine environments. It would also be nice and lend additional credibility to authors hypercritical of anything Microsoft does if they'd refrain from alluding to "Apple" every time they want to criticize Microsoft. That sort of allusion is a dead giveaway of their intent, imo.

    *"Developers may simply skip Direct3D 10.1 and go for Direct3D 11 when it is finally released, otherwise sticking with 10.0 for the time being. (Ed: We've heard from Microsoft and several game developers that DX10.1 is not a major update and that they will do exactly that.)"

    Ahem...developers did not "skip" DX9 to go to DX10. Not even close. Of the developers currently supporting DX10, *all of them* also support DX9 with those games. Indeed, Vista itself did not skip DX9 in order to support DX10, but Vista also supports DX9 completely and fully--as DX9 is but a subset of DX10, and thus it has always been with D3d. All of my DX9-only games run great under Vista, without exception.

    The implication that developers may "skip" 10.1 to "wait" for DX11 is therefore ludicrous and silly as , just like DX9.0c, developers could support it or not as they chose without the necessity of having to "wait" on DX10. DX9.0c was also billed by Microsoft as a minor update--which did not keep any software developer who wished to do so from supporting it. Indeed, now, most of them support DX9.0c, don't they?

    The salient point is that minor update or not, DX10.1 is real and some developers will choose to support it even though they will also continue to support DX9 and DX10.0 at the same time and in the same games. There is no need to "wait" on DX11 at all, nor is there a reason to do so.

    *"With the addition of this API, developers will be able to control how DEP functions, so that if their code isn’t completely DEP-safe, they may disable certain parts of DEP for their specific application, allowing some protection from DEP without the need to rewrite the offending code or require that DEP be disabled for that program entirely. This is effectively a precursor towards Windows being globally DEP enabled at some later point."

    While the last sentence above is certainly true, I fear the author has once again allowed his obvious prejudices and personal opinions to influence his judgment. As I understand it, the purpose of the DEP API is *not* to provide developers with a way to get around DEP, but is rather to teach them how to program their software so that it will not break when DEP is enforced. Think about it a moment...the purpose of DEP is purely security--if Microsoft was to provide an API to developers to show them how to get around DEP then Microsoft might as well simply remove DEP from the OS altogether. Obviously, the purpose of the DEP API is *not* to allow developers to "get around" DEP.

    *"Among the 24 pages(!) of hotfixes that have been rolled into Vista SP1 are favorites such as the virtual address space fix and a fix for a conflict with NVIDIA’s USB controller and >2GB of RAM. Other additions include fixes for ejecting iPods, a fix for HybridSLI/HybridCrossfire (which is why the launch of these technologies is tied to SP1), and a fix for AMD Barcelona processors causing system reboots during Windows installations. While we could rattle off the entire 24 page list of hotfixes, the important thing to note here is that there are a number of small issues that have been “fixed” prior to SP1 but are only now being widely corrected."

    Talk about bias--note the exclamation point rendered after the phrase "24 pages(!)"...;) The intent here, of course, is to greatly exaggerate the "bugginess" of pre-SP1 Vista. There is no other intent possible here, because the "24 pages (!)" the author alludes to without explaining what he means by saying "24 pages" is not just a list of the updates and patches--it is the number of pages listing not only the updates and patches themselves, but also *all of the accompanying documentation* on each and every one of those updates and/or patches.

    I know this must be true because when I go out to Vista Update and display my history of patches applied, the entire list takes up less than a single on-screen page display. This kind of tactic is just too sad for words--as the author also fails to mention that people like me, who haven't yet installed Vista SP1, but who have already updated their installation via Vista Update *already have* better than 90% of SP1 installed and running at the present time.

    Here again we see some mention of Apple--this time for the iPod eject mechanism. It would have been nice if the author had bothered to remember that Apple had updated its own iPod-related software to run properly under Vista some months ago--which was not a Microsoft fix but purely an Apple fix. But obviously he can't be tasked with criticizing anyone except Microsoft.

    Last, of course, here I am puttering along with pre-SP1 Vista, which the author more or less characterizes as being non-usable because of the "24 pages (!)" of bugs--and, gee, I'm not having any problems!!!! Wonder how that's possible? Could it be because out of the *tens of millions* of lines of code in Vista that the "24 pages(!)" of bug fixes in Vista SP1 are very, very small potatoes? I certainly think so.

    *"This won’t change the public perception of UAC (or Apple jokes on the subject), but any reduction is welcome and perhaps will stem the tide of Vista users who are completely turning off this critical system feature."

    Apple jokes?...;) Wow, what an informative bit of drivel that is...;) Apple people routinely crack jokes about subjects they have no understanding of, so what else is new? It would have been nice if the author would have bothered to tell us what UAC is about and why it exists--but he cannot be bothered with doing anything aside from talking about his own impressions of "public perceptions" it seems. Such a pity.

    My own perception of UAC is that I have become so used to it that it simply doesn't bother me at all anymore, and the thought of "turning it off" seems really ridiculous--as why would I want to drop back to the lesser security levels of XP??? So sad that in his haste to write negative commentary the author cannot manage to find the time or the words to explain what UAC is and why it's not a good idea for people to turn it off.

    The change that SP1 brings to UAC file operations strikes me as entirely positive--where's the beef? Are we to encourage the ignorance of general computer users by letting them think that turning off UAC is a good thing simply because "Apple users" might ignorantly crack jokes about it? How does that sort of attitude help AT's readership?

    *"The advantage of this is that it will reduce the number of computer owners thinking something is wrong because Windows doesn’t “see” all of their RAM; on the other hand this is clearly disadvantageous because they will no longer be informed that Windows in fact isn’t using all of their RAM, nor will there be an easy way any longer to tell how much RAM it is capable of using."

    The whole point of this change is that users will correctly see that the amount of ram they have installed is present and accounted for. It would be nice if the author would tell us what *his* solution would be for this situation. But, alas, he doesn't--he just, once again, criticizes Microsoft whether they do or they don't.

    *"For SP1 we were hoping for a complete overhaul of the MMCSS so that it ceased adversely affecting network performance, unfortunately what we’re getting is something about mid-way towards that."

    I don't have much to say here except that the "problem" the author spends a great deal of time and wordage expounding upon is one I have not experienced. Possibly that could well be because I'm too busy using and enjoying Vista to run benchmark after benchmark in hopes of uncovering something wrong with it which only those benchmarks will indicate...;) I have better things to do with my time.

    *"When it comes to performance, anything is better than Explorer here. The silver lining here is that SP1 has improved WinRAR’s already fast performance by a further and unexpected 28%, making the argument to use anything but Explorer a very easy one."

    If there's something wrong with the idea that Vista is not intended to allow the end user to avoid purchasing or using third-party software, I'd like to know what it is...;) I mean, criticizing "MineSweeper" because it isn't "The Witcher" just strikes me as ludicrous and a waste of verbiage. Who cares? These ancillary programs in all Windows versions are meant to provide basic functionality and that's all. To complain that they aren't the best available just makes no sense. But I guess when your basic goal is to dump on Windows everything is in bounds, isn't it?

    *"We’re not convinced Microsoft is going to see much use of exFAT outside of Windows Mobile 6 devices given the high degree of overlap with NTFS; if the time comes for mobile devices where FAT32 is too little, they may very well switch to NTFS due to the much wider base of support."

    So? This is a "problem" for whom, exactly? Seems to me the more choice people have in matters of this type, the better off they are. Yawn...another mountain out of a molehill.

    *"Vista vs. Vista SP1"

    Gee, after presumably reading through the "24 pages (!)" written about SP1, you'd think the author might have concluded that SP1 doesn't contain anything relative to the three little software benchmarks he wastes an entire page talking about, including a display of colorful frame-rate bar charts.

    I mean, what is the point here, relative to SP1? When the author says "Vista versus Vista SP1, is he talking about Vista with *no updates* versus Vista with SP1? Or is he contrasting Vista + all updates currently obtainable through Vista Update versus Vista with SP1? We don't know and he doesn't say. What is his point here? Is it to suggest that there's no reason to go to SP1 because he sees no performance improvement in these three benchmarks? He doesn't tell us.

    *"One thing that is unfortunate for Microsoft with SP1 is that there is a good chance that system performance immediately following the patching process will be lower than it was prior to patching."

    Oh, gee--installing SP1 clears the caches and the author seeks to imply that SP1 is going to "run slower" than non-SP1 for up to "a couple of days." Wow, what a criticism that is--I need to chuck Vista out of my window right now!...;) Pity he doesn't bother to tell us whether or not after SP1 rebuilds the caches if our performance for the next *few years* will be a bit better. I guess it just didn't occur to him to think about it that way...Oh, well...

    *"Finally, coming into SP1 we heard some concerns about application and driver compatibility."

    Really? I didn't. What I heard was that there was a problem with some driver *install* routines that didn't mesh well with SP1 precisely because the driver developers had not adhered to Microsoft's guidelines when they wrote their driver install software. That's what *I* heard--I heard zero about "driver compatibility."

    You'd think the author would have researched this as opposed to relying on "what I heard"...;) Wouldn't you? Indeed, the only software I have ever seen to "break" under a service pack is software that was improperly coded by its developers in the first place. Microsoft doesn't publish its programming rules and guides for the heck of it. Microsoft has a purpose in doing so, and much of that purpose revolves around future compatibility. Most developers follow the guidelines and that's why the great bulk of software and driver install routines *don't break* under a service pack.

    I've said all I want to say here and I'll close with the admonition that AT much better vet it's articles in the future so that they provide relevant and informative information as opposed to providing little more than anti-Microsoft, or as in this case, anti-Vista, marketing propaganda. I still use XP on my principle machine at work because my employer is too cheap to update his hardware and software, and there's not a day goes by but when I think to myself how crude and rude XP is by comparison to Vista. That's my opinion on the matter.


    Reply
  • chizow - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Good job covering the main changes and fixes in SP1 Ryan. Very readable yet maintains a lot of technical info without getting bogged down. Linked for future reference once I get SP1 RTM installed as I'm still running RC1.

    As others stated though, it would've been nice to have compared to original RTM or even XP. I know that's exceedingly difficult to do with Windows since its very hard to run snapshots and your system may not run at all without Windows updates, but once you start updating you can't stop the flood of updates. Still, I think a lot of "performance" and "compatibility" improvements will be lost when comparing a fully updated/hotfixed pre-SP1 install to SP1 as many of the SP1 hotfixes were released and available prior to SP1.

    At first I thought you overlooked file and network transfers but on closer examination saw it covered on Page 3 extensively. That was a big concern about Vista and while initial speeds with RTM were very slow, there were a few patches that gradually brought my copy speeds closer to those of XP. Also, wouldn't testing copy speeds with a single HDD skew your copy testing a bit? When I copy Raptor to Raptor my copy speeds are very close to the synthetic scores I see with HDtach/HDtune etc at ~70 MB/s.

    In any case, nice job again with this and I enjoy reading your articles on Vista/Windows. You seem to be extremely familiar with Vista and the various stack changes compared to XP as demonstrated in your Messy Transition articles and some keen insights here (like the multimedia stack/transfer caps). I believe Derek (any relation?) mentioned AT would be doing a final XP to Vista 64 comparison for gaming/performance prior to switching to Vista 64 for all test suites and I'd personally think you would be best suited for the task. Now that SP1 has RTM'd this would be the perfect time to document the differences as well.
    Reply
  • jamawass - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I'm interested in the comments on recommending Vista 64 as one's main system. Aren't there still driver issues? Also I use citrix clients for remote access does anyone know if it's compatible with x64? I haven't had any problem with it on vista 32 even though MS pops up a message stating that it isn't compatible. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    Interested here as well. I'll be building a new system in the next 2-4 months and will need it to do everything from general OS to gaming. I'm leaning towards Vista64 with 4gigs of ram (2X2) allowing me to upgrade to 8 if needed in the future. I just don't know how the driver support is currently. Reply
  • takumsawsherman - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    One of the more interesting experiences I've had is moving a file to the desktop. For example, an HP LaserJet PCL6 driver, (12-15MB?) being moved to the desktop under Vista took something like 20 seconds on a customer's system.

    Now, the clever among you will ask "why move a laserjet driver to the desktop?". Good point. It doesn't matter what file. Pick any file of that size. What's the hold up? Also, UAC wants to crab about it unless disabled. Has this been improved? XP takes just a couple of seconds to move it (really, isn't it just updating the record on the filesystem anyway?). It took longer to move than to download, on Vista.

    I can't say I've tested Vista too extensively, as I have mostly business customers, and I have been having them stick to XP. However, a few people went out and bought laptops. They call me, miserable, because of the lousy performance and confusing nature of this wretch called Vista.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    They use the term x64.

    The term x86 came from the fact there were processors like 186, 286, 386, 486. x86-64 is OK, or something like that, or 64-bit x86, but x64 is derived from what? There were 164 chips, made by Intel? It sounds more like something of Alpha origin.

    Stop being lazy and learn how to type.
    Reply
  • whatthehey - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    The only thing they can do is nitpick about the use of a term like x64, when everybody knows what it means and Microsoft uses it all over the place (i.e. "Update for Windows Vista for x64-based Systems").

    You, sir, add new meaning to the term anal retentive.

    "The sky is falling - someone said x64 instead of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X64">x86-64! Help!"
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    They probably use the term x64 because Microsoft used it for the 64-bit x86 version of XP - "Windows XP Professional x64 Edition", to differentiate it from the old 64-bit Itanium version - "Windows XP 64-bit Edition".

    Everyone knows what x64 means (everyone who actually needs to know, anyway), so it makes sense to use it as it is quicker and easier than alternatives like x86-64 or 64-bit x86.
    Reply
  • Martimus - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Is exFAT an open standard? It sounds like a promising File Management system for a non-Microsoft OS. Reply
  • mmjjzz - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    READ, interest problem found!!

    client: Intel Q6600, 4GB RAM, Vista 64bit
    server: Intel Celeron 2.53, 2 GB RAM, Windows 2003 SP1

    Gigabit network (Jumbo Frames Enabled, SP1 didn't improve anything without jumbo frames enabled)

    Pre SP1 (large file)
    -------
    client (non OS drive) -> Server (share 1) = 43MB/s
    Server (share1) -> client = 6MB/s

    Post SP1 (large file)
    -------
    client (non OS drive) -> Server (share 1) = 45MB/s
    Server (share1) -> client = 33MB/s
    on client, Copying from Share1 to Share2 on server = 900K/s

    Share to share TAKES FOREVER.. i never tested this pre SP1, but i am assuming it is the same
    Reply
  • gimper48 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I may have missed this in the article. However, some people see it in update some do not. I have vista 64 and it has never come up as an option. Anyone know the methodology to determine who gets it and who does not? Also is the it sp1 only available to technet subscriptions? That kinda screws the small systems admin at a small company. They cannot upgrade all in one shot then. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    No-one is supposed to be getting it via Windows Update yet (except maybe some Beta testers). The fact that it was up there briefly the other day was a mistake on Microsoft's part. It should start showing up some time in March. Reply
  • haplo602 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    While you mentioned UEFI, it would be an interesting separate article/guide. With technology description ad current state of affairs.

    Are you planning any such article ?
    Reply
  • TheJian - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I'm wondering about the comment made regarding XP64 being bad for consumers. Why? Myself I'd like to see XP64 vs. Vista64 benchmarks done (games and all). Is there something stopping you from benchmarking XP64? It's been 2.5 years since this article at Tom's:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/08/23/windows_xp_...">http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/08/23/windows_xp_...

    XP64 looked pretty good then, 2.5yrs later it should SURELY be better correct? Why no testing for XP64? Most of Tom's benchmarks show a dead heat for xp32 vs xp64. On Steampowered.com Vista 64bit only counts for 2.5% of their users and Vista total is only 16.5%. Shouldn't you have a go at 64bit XP? Unfortunately they didn't breakdown the XP32 vs XP64 numbers.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    The issue with XP64 is that it is effectively an orphaned operating system on the consumer side of things. It was never even intended for consumer use, it was a slightly retooled version of Server 2003 designed to fill a gap for workstations that needed a 64bit version of Windows. Very few companies in the consumer space are testing their wares against XP64, this goes for both hardware and software. Compatibility problems are still few and far between, but never the less going forward it's only going to get worse particularly when it comes to drivers. Reply
  • TheJian - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    Are you sure? Nvidia's latest WHQL driver is dated Dec2007 with these notes:
    # WHQL driver for GeForce FX, 6, 7, and 8 series GPUs.
    # Added support for GeForce 8800 GTS 512 GPU.
    # Recommended driver for the latest DirectX 9, and OpenGL applications.
    # Numerous game and application compatibility fixes. Please refer to the release documentation for more information on features, driver fixes, and known issues.

    They are still improving gaming with these! I don't see it as Orphaned when people are revolting against Vista. Read the fixes in the readme. There are quite a few issues fixed in 64bit. Don't forget people were buying this OS for years before Vista. Both Intel and AMD were selling 64bit chips before vista for years. People were running XP64bit and still are (if they wanted to use their chip's abilities that is). Is it so tough to throw up some benchmarks for xp64? Is MS telling you not to do it in some agreement like stopping XP SP3 benchmarks from being published in their EULA? Just checked ATI/AMD and their drivers are updated for 64bit FEB 13th! That's just 2 weeks ago and includes the 3870x2 boards.

    If movement in this area picked up (cough up the benchies!) I could see MS backing away from Vista and just re-releasing XP with DX10.1 and Aero Glass which would make Vista pointless. Vista could end up just like WinME. We ended up with Win2k, and for games that wouldn't run in that OS we dual booted to 98-OSR2 :) LOL I see drivers for my chipsets on Intel P35 and Nvidia boards also. I don't see waning support. Same date for Nvidia's xp32/64 drivers so they are developed together (the readme covers both also). It seems to me only Microsoft wants it orphaned. Crappy benchmarks would prove it (or not if they're great!) so lets see some please.
    Reply
  • Per Hansson - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    On the steam survey I think Windows 2003 64 bit is the same thing as XP x64, they share the exact same codebase (even serivcepack and hotfixes) It accounts for 0.73%

    But yes, I agree, XP x64 is a very nice OS
    It is IMO more stable than XP (it is afterall a server OS since it's based on Server 2003 x64)
    Reply
  • Brunnis - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Although more of academical interest, I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to see the performance difference between an unpatched Vista RTM installation and Vista SP1.

    One pretty serious issue with Vista, that I can't seem to wrap my head around, is the folder types and how they're applied. They actually seem to be applied arbitrarily and without any sort of reason. They also sometimes seem to change without user interaction. I was hoping Vista would somehow address this, but it seems Microsoft is content with how it works.

    Otherwise I'm actually quite happy with Vista. I view SuperFetch as one of its most important features and one that actually makes Vista feel a good deal faster for general usage.
    Reply
  • amandahugnkiss - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    in the article: http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=10781">http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=10781

    it was reported that MS was bricking PCs, I would have imagined you guys would have adressed that issue here. At least report if it was still an issue, was a false lead, or what the issue was and what the was that MS implemented.

    Any info on this topic you can share?
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    We mention it a bit on the last page; basically it looks like a very small number of computers having problems, but it's hard to cut through the echo chamber effect of the internet. AFAIK that update still hasn't been reinstated on Windows Update though.

    We haven't experienced the issues on any computers we own.
    Reply
  • amandahugnkiss - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    My bad, you did indeed mention it.

    I'm curious what the problem was, be it user, MS, 3rd party, etc... I've not seen it and the only place I have heard about it was on the user forum linked in the article.
    Reply
  • IAMGOOSE - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    "We’re still waiting on someone besides Apple to start shipping consumer machines (or motherboards) with UEFI support, so this will be an issue we’ll pick up another day."


    Current intel branded boards allow booting from UEFI

    You guys should try it out, in a mini review or something
    Reply
  • kilkennycat - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Heading asks the question....... Reply
  • mechBgon - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    ...but may I make a suggestion: Vista and WinXP aren't, like, video cards, where framerates are all that matter. I frankly feel that the security advances of Vista are getting important in today's security landscape, and a comparison of WinXP SP3 versus Vista SP-anything deserves to cover that. Not much point in having another 10 frames per second in WoW, after the bad guys dropped an undetected keylogger into your system and stole your WoW stuff to auction it off. ;) Drop me a PM if you want to pick my brain on the subject... Reply
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Cant say I agree with your security views. Any OS(with a few exceptions . . .ME comes to mind) is only as good as the user using it.

    Not only that, the 'bad guys' can not 'drop' a key logger onto your system, unless the 'bad guys' you're referring to are in fact yourself. Files do not auto-magically appear on a system by osmosis, they are downloaded by the user using said system whether the user is actually aware of this or not. Setting up a system correctly will fix a lot of this, while common sense computing habit will take care of the rest. This includes setting up proper user/group policies, permissions, etc, and MAYBE using web based email if you're having issues with you email client being exploited in unexplainable ways.

    Been running XP Pro here for the last 3 years or so, and I have to say that since SP2, it has been fairly secure(once again; when set up proeprly), and I would not expect Vista would be any more reliable. Now since I beta tested Vista early on through to RC2, I KNOW for a fact that compared to XP, there ARE performance issues.
    Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    You may be a security professional, but I have no knowledge of you on the ATOT security forums. MechBgon however is very active and has a proven record of being extremely knowledgeable. Heck he spends most days trying dissecting this stuff to find out how to fix it.

    I think you are fighting a losing battle if you go up against him...instead try to learn.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Unless you are using vista NOW, you're not qualified to claim knowledge about performance issues NOW.
    Reply
  • mechBgon - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I think you should brush up on Windows Integrity Control and Kernel Patch Protection (for x64). These mandatory access controls are > users.

    Also, you are sadly incorrect in thinking that malware can only get onto a system with user cooperation. As the 4th-ranked SiteAdvisor reviewer worldwide (by total reputation), I have a fair amount of insight on the subject. ;) Between trusted sites being hacked and turned malicious, Mpack/Icepack-type exploit suites and vulnerable third-party software that people don't think to update, there's plenty of need for proactive security and mitigation.

    You like WinXP? Great. For a 7-year-old OS, it can be secured fairly well, if you want to, and I even have tips to help with that: http://www.mechbgon.com/build/security2.html">http://www.mechbgon.com/build/security2.html But it's time for OSes to be more secure by default, in my opinion. The latest Security Intelligence Report from Microsoft showed WinXP SP2 is 2.5x more likely to have malware detected by the Malicious Software Removal Tool than Vista SP-zero, to throw one statistic out there.

    Food for thought. I haven't seen much at AnandTech yet on that aspect of Vista.

    Microsoft MVP ~ Windows Shell/User
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I don't see exFAT being useful right away unless windows XP is updated to support it. Reply
  • Staples - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Vista SP1 mostly has all the updates that MS has released over the past year on Windows Update. I did not notice a difference either and I installed SP1 a few weeks ago. If this was a vanilla install I was installing it over, I am sure I would notice quite a few improvements. I have been using Vista Home Premium since Jan and it definitely had some problems then. Since about July, the drives were mature enough and other than the slow slow file copying (which now still is slower than XP), everything has been running well for months. Reply
  • KeypoX - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    On both laptop and desktop :( but i didnt really have any problems before... or after. Reply
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    "That experience has been unified somewhat with SP1, now the x86 environment can install the x64 version of the OS (but ____ the other way around, interestingly enough)."

    I do think a 'not' goes in that blank.

    (btw, none of the comment buttons like B, I, U, Quote, etc. are working for me atm)
    Reply
  • InternetGeek - Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - link

    I've been using SP1 on Vista Ultimate and it does bring some improvements. It took about one hour to install without any trouble at all. I simply started it and one hour later it was up as running.

    In general I find my laptop to be more responsive (Toshiba P105-S921). It restarts faster and comves alive from suspend faster as well. Applications in general feel the same, though tonight I'll play Oblivion and get a more "objective" feel of it. I used VS.NET 2008, Sql Server 2005, Photoshop CS2, Office 2007, DVDFab Platinum, Alcohol 120%, iTunes/WMP for media.

    Div 6.8 stopped working all together after applying 6.1. It either crashes while analyzing the subtitles or while encoding. The movie is Transformers.

    In general, I find that SP1 does bring good things for Vista on which, in general, I'm having a better experience than on XP.
    Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    From that list you don't use any heavy duty applications, so yes you probably wouldn't notice a difference... Reply
  • Spivonious - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Photoshop, SQL Server, and VS2008 aren't "heavy-duty" applications? Just what is heavy-duty in your opinion? Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I bet using his favourite browser, posting crap like that in comments like this, is what he considers "heavy-duty". Reply
  • stryder256 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Is there any need to be arrogant? He was trying to provide people with a review and you jumped on him...for what? How does that make you a superior intellectual force? Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    Stryder, re-read the comments. They aren't being arrogant towards the OP, they are commenting on the poster after the initial post. Reply

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