Microsoft Brings Us SP1

Dennis Faas's picture

After a long wait and much speculation, Microsoft has finally announced plans for its upcoming service pack, SP1 for Windows Vista. Unearthing details on Wednesday, the Redmond-based company revealed it will be launching the update over the course of a 90-day period, with the SP1 beta test planned soon.

What is SP1?

SP1, or Service Pack 1, is the first major update to Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows Vista. It's a critical "patch", if you will, and may lure more of the tech world's cynics to a troubled OS that could, and should, be the next wave in its market.

And so, some of our most critical questions of SP1 have been answered...sort of. Although Microsoft has revealed that the first beta test will arrive in a few weeks, or "September", an exact date is not yet known. Judging by the company's disinterest in providing concrete details, most analysts believe Microsoft won't be releasing a final, concrete version of SP1 until early next year. (Source:

Why is this critical?

For consumers, and especially the big ones at the top of corporate America, Vista must be completely stable before it can be integrated into a million or billion-dollar information technology system. Since XP has continued to "get the job done", most of the United States' and Canada's biggest companies have been hesitant to test the Vista waters.

For Microsoft, SP1 is a second chance. If the update fixes many of the issues outlined by folks like our Bill Lindner, it will allow Vista to engulf the home and business markets. That means Microsoft can simply maintain the OS, and move on to another, future project (ahem, meaning more money).

Those interested in taking part in an SP1 beta shouldn't hold their breath. Microsoft reportedly plans on only releasing a test to between ten and fifteen thousand users, an idea that can clearly be interpreted as a "don't call us, we'll call you" approach.

Give us details!

Although specs are few and far between even now, a few bits of information have reached the media.  At this time, SP1 is just 50MB, but that's expected to balloon to almost 700MB by the time it's complete.  That's based on a build leaked through Bit Torrent last week, making it a good, but not great, sniff of what's to come.

Business users can expect a much heftier update, however.  Computerworld is speculating that this edition of SP1 will be about 1GB, squeezed onto a DVD.

Regardless, SP1 will be a big boy (or girl).  Microsoft has informed users that they should keep "a large amount" of free space available, with analysts figuring this to be about 7GB for a 32-bit system and 12GB for 64-bit.

For more official details, check out Microsoft's white paper on their website.

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