It seems as if Microsoft is making progress with Service Pack 1 for Vista. Technet and MSDN subscribers can download it now. According to Computerworld, it will be available next week. But just like before with SP1 Beta, there is also a little hack that allows you do download it right from Windows Update. Since it is a release candidate it might make sense to check it out to see if the problems you had with Vista are solved now.
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I found this hack at Helmers Blog. He links to a rar file which is a bit cumbersome to download. So I converted it into a zip which you can download here.Vista SP1 RC1 I hope Microsoft won't sue me for this. Like before, you have to start a script which will create some Registry entries. Note that you have to uninstall SP1 Beta first. Check out the word file that comes with the script.
When I ran the script on a test machine, Windows Update offered me two other updates. After installing them and rebooting twice, the Service Pack was still not visible in Windows Update. I had to click several times on the "Check for updates" link until it finally showed up. The download was extremely slow. It seems the interest in this SP is huge.
From a system administrator's point of view, it is interesting to know that the schedule still stands, i.e. SP1 is slated in the first quarter of 2008. Microsoft will release Vista SP1 in two waves. In the first wave, SP1 will be available only in English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese. The second wave will launch 8-12 weeks later and will contain all other remaining languages. I find it a bit strange that there are still different language versions. Why not just one version with different language packs?
It is important to know that there is a service pack blocker tool that will prevent installation of SP1 via Windows Update. So if you have already deployed Vista and want to test this SP before it gets installed automatically, you should get this tool. It also works for Windows Server 2003 SP2 and Windows XP SP3.
The Vista team blog describes the changes in RC1 in detail. You might also be interested in this post at the Windows Team blog where the author shares some experiences he made when he deployed Vista SP1.