I think every second Microsoft blog I've read today is broadcasting the news. Vista SP1 is now available on MSDN and Technet Plus. If you skim over these blogs you'll make out some deep breaths. Finally, Microsoft's high-ups understood that RTM nowadays means download availability. I'd like to add that it is also available for Volume License customers. Home users still have to wait though, but the more tech savvy ones will find their way to get this service pack, anyhow.
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What I found interesting is that Microsoft makes a difference between MSDN and Volume License customers. On MSDN I was able to get the 32-bit and the 64-bit version. The Volume License Center only offered me 32-bit. Instead of SP1 for Vista x64, Windows Vista Business N w/SP1 showed up. That is a special version for the European Union which likely will only be downloaded by some bureaucrats in Brussels who don't like the Media Player.
I found a few interesting articles about Vista SP1 today which I'd like to share:
ZDNet: A Vista SP1 FAQ
Ed Bott has a list of visible changes. I didn't know that the user interface of the RDP client was redesigned. I had a quick look at it, but didn't find any changes. Please, let me know, if you have more information about this. It is interesting to note that this list is quite short considering the many new features this SP has. There is a follow-up article discussing some more FAQs. As an admin you might be interested to hear that you can't slipstream this SP. He also explains how to uninstall SP1. It seems a lot of his readers wanted to know this. And before you ask, no - SP1 doesn't have a "downgrade to XP" feature. 😉
TechWorld: SP1 does nothing for Vista compatibility
I have been mentioning before that Vista SP1 won't improve compatibility to XP. There is further proof for this educated guess now. AppDNA tested 500 corporate applications and found that 18% failed to work without help. They got the same results for Vista RTM and Vista SP1.
Windows Networking: Deploying Vista: Understanding the Windows AIK
This article is the first in a series. The author, Mitch Tulloch, is known to write about complicated technical matters in an understandable way. I discussed his book about Windows Server 2008 some time ago. This series isn't specifically about SP1, but it already includes information about it. You might have noticed that WAIK 1.1 (Windows Automated Installation Kit) has been released some days ago. Its most important new feature is its support for Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008. Maybe you belong to those who have been waiting for this SP before even considering moving to Vista. Well, no more excuses. It's time to find out how Vista is deployed. After reading Mitch's first article you'll realize that there are many new things to learn.
Mark Russinovich: Inside Vista SP1 File Copy Improvements
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This is a rather technical article who might appeal more to developers than admins. Supposedly, you would like to hear how much faster file copy really is now. He wasn't really specific about this. However, he does say that in some cases SP1 even slows down file copying, for instance when you copy from Windows Server 2003 over slow network or when you copy large files on the same volume. Well, next time you have to wait for a file to be copied, you can read Mark's articles in the meantime. Then, you would know at least why you are actually waiting.