Microsoft released a couple of white papers that discuss in detail Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista. I just skimmed over those five documents. Not all of them are really worth reading. In this post, you'll find a brief comment to each white paper. There is one paper that includes some revealing information.

Overview of Windows Vista SP1 ^

I don't recommend reading this one. It seems to be mostly advertisement for Vista. It discusses some of the new features of SP1, but there is a more detailed description in the next paper.

Notable Changes in Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate ^

The list of these notable changes is quite long. If you have a special problem with Vista, you might have a look at this document, just to see if it has been solved. But maybe it is faster to just download the release candidate and try it.

Hotfixes and Security Updates in Windows Vista SP1 ^

This document just lists previously released updates that are included in this service pack. Unless one of those updates caused problems in your environment, you probably won't find this paper too thrilling.

Enterprise Guidance for Application Compatibility Testing and Windows Vista SP1 ^

I found some passages in this text quite interesting. I have to cite them otherwise you might not believe me:

Microsoft expects that nearly all applications that run on Windows Vista® today will continue to run on Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1). Applications that have compatibility issues with Windows Vista today will most likely continue to have the same issues with Windows Vista with SP1. The changes made in the Windows Vista release that enhance security, reliability, and networking that might cause earlier versions of applications to break are being carried forward in Windows Vista SP1.

One of the major reasons, why many organizations didn't deploy Vista yet, is because of the many compatibility issues. So if you take this paragraph seriously, you could come to the conclusion that it might make sense to skip Vista altogether and just wait for Windows 7. However, after you read the next sentence, you will get a clearer view about the real intention of the writer of this document:

Microsoft recommends that all enterprise customers begin testing their applications on the currently available version of Windows Vista.

SP1 will probably be released only at the end of February. Since Vista adoption is so slow, Microsoft obviously wants to encourage organizations to move to Vista as soon as possible. The sheer number of changes in this service pack proves the above sentence wrong. If you start your compatibility tests now, you probably have to start from scratch after the release of this SP. The next citation is from the very same document and obviously a contradiction to Microsoft's recommendation from above:

There is a chance that some applications ultimately will not run on the final version of Windows Vista SP1, even though they run on Windows Vista today. Microsoft will publish a list of these known applications with the release of SP1.

I wonder if this has been written by one and the same author. If you take this one seriously, then you have to believe that it can only get worse with this SP. So my personal recommendation is to just wait until SP1 is out, and then test Vista again, to see if it is an option for your network or not.

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Deployment Guide for the RC1 Version of Windows Vista SP1 ^

This white paper probably won't contain much new information for you if you deployed service packs before. It is too early anyway to think about deploying SP1 now. You might want to come back to this document in March or April next year.

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