Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

What's The Deal With Vista SP1?

So today's big news is that Windows Vista SP1 is due out before the end of 2007. So why has Microsoft been trying to keep this quiet? Well, because they don't want SP1 to unnecessarily hinder the adoption of Windows Vista. I say unnecessarily because the mentality still exists that Microsoft products aren't worth upgrading until the Service Pack comes out. But with Vista, that's simply not the case. Vista is without question the most consumer-focused release Microsoft has ever done, mostly because more testers gave Microsoft feedback than in any previous release.

So why will they have SP1 ready this year? Because Windows Vista and Windows Server 2007 share the same codebase, which means both operating systems use many of the same binaries. While Windows Vista has gone through more reliability testing than any previous consumer OS, Windows Server 2007 will have an extra 6-10 months of testing. So Microsoft gets a two-fold benefit for the extra WS2007 testing this year.

The end result is that Windows Vista SP1 will have the same stability, security, and reliability as a server OS. This cannot be understated: Microsoft has never had server reliability on the desktop before. Windows Server 2003 has been a rock-solid OS from day one, and the number of vulnerabilities have been far fewer than previous releases. Since Windows Vista started from that codebase, you already have a really stable OS. But to have the same bits running on both desktops and servers can only mean good things for consumers moving forward.

So while it's the first time in Microsoft's history that the first Service Pack has come out the same calendar year as the first release, don't take it to mean that Vista is more buggy or less stable than it should be. It just means that the Vista will get to reap the benefits of the additional Server testing that is going on as we speak. Which is why I said earlier that if you want to still have an impact on Vista after RTM, get on the Longhorn Server beta.

PostTypeIcon
12,693 Views

Comments

  • DosFreak said:

    "I say unnecessarily because the mentality still exists that Microsoft products aren't worth upgrading until the Service Pack comes out."

    And I hope that anyone with at least half of a brain continues to keep that mentality for ANY product whether it's false or not. Sadly most people still use the ol' instinctual purdy/shiny method, disregarding other factors entirely. To those people I say. Good Job! I love it when people waste their own time beta testing products for free while I reap the benefits a couple of months to a year later.

    January 22, 2007 1:10 PM
  • January 22, 2007 3:16 PM
  • anonymous said:

    Hopefully, they'll add EFI support and P2P sync. I'm simply waiting for EFI support.

    January 22, 2007 3:31 PM
  • List244 said:

    Slightly off topic, but Robert, ZDNet?

    January 22, 2007 5:08 PM
  • I think DosFreak just called me stupid...

    January 22, 2007 5:12 PM
  • Microsoft's consumer launch of Windows Vista is still a week away and it is in the begining stages of

    January 22, 2007 6:24 PM
  • Wesley Shephard said:

    "I think DosFreak just called me stupid..."

    If you have completed your compatibility testing and found everything a green light, I say go for it. Sadly, I have found quite a few commercial packages fail in various ways, so it isn't so much waiting for *vista* as it is waiting for third parties to update.

    Having your MRP system go "boom" instead of running your business is a bad thing.

    January 22, 2007 10:09 PM
  • January 22, 2007 10:58 PM
  • List244: ZDnet is owned by CNET, not Ziff. It was bought from Ziff a while back.

    January 23, 2007 3:50 AM
  • January 23, 2007 4:33 AM
  • JW said:

    "This cannot be understated: Microsoft has never had server reliability on the desktop before."

    That's not unrelated to the fact that Microsoft had never had server reliability on the server before Win2K3!

    January 23, 2007 4:35 AM
  • DosFreak said:

    huh. Guess little OS's like NT4/2K have just been forgotten. Worked reliably as Desktop OS's too.....otherwise they never would have been deployed to thousands upon thousands of workstations worldwide.

    January 23, 2007 6:15 AM
  • Carl said:

    One of the big reasons that servers are more stable is that they typically have very static (and careful) configurations.  Servers usually have a limited set of applications installed, unlike desktop PCs, which can easily have 20-30 apps installed at the same time.  Servers aren't generally used to surf the web and don't have peripherals with drivers of questionable quality.

    If a desktop machine had a base of 3-4 applications, no peripherals and rare configuration changes, it might be as stable as a server.  That's not the way people use their PCs, so I think comparing Vista to a server OS is a bit of a stretch.

    January 23, 2007 12:09 PM
  • Wesley Shephard said:

    "huh. Guess little OS's like NT4/2K have just been forgotten. Worked reliably as Desktop OS's too.....otherwise they never would have been deployed to thousands upon thousands of workstations worldwide."

    Bull: I had to support NT4 workstation and server and to call the workstation version reliable is to fly in the fact of blue screens and hung desktops the world over. Was it more reliable than 95/98... well yes. Then again, a broke watch was more reliable than 95/98 in a networked environment.

    NT 4 was the OS where it was recommended you reboot *servers* monthly to avoid the timer overflow bug, if you will recall. Compared to the Novell environment I cut my teeth on (with up-times in hundreds of days and even a stretch of a full year once... only brought down for upgrades) that wasn't *stable*. The desktop was host to all kinds of horribly written apps that could take the entire machine with it, thanks to such great ideas as kernel mode video drivers.

    Bah and double bah. Windows 2000 was *far* better, XP retrograded uptimes thanks to folding in a bunch of consumer level garbage (although after a few service packs it works great).

    2003 server *is* nice though. The first *true* server operating system from Microsoft, at least in my battle scarred adminstrative eyes...

    January 23, 2007 2:33 PM
  • Bruce said:

    " Compared to the Novell environment I cut my teeth on (with up-times in hundreds of days and even a stretch of a full year once... only brought down for upgrades)"

    Our Novell server lost the console every week or two. Sure, the server would be up, but if you wanted to administer from the console you had to reboot.

    NT 4.0 was more stable. Thats why we retired the Novell box asap.

    January 23, 2007 4:22 PM
  • Clarification: You can install a Server OS on a desktop, but it's the first time a Microsoft desktop OS will have the same reliability/availability as it's server counterpart.

    January 23, 2007 4:26 PM
  • List244 said:

    Robert, that is interesting to know, thanks for that information (ZDNet)

    DosFreak: I disagree with you. I enjoy having new products, I used: win 3.1, OS 2, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT4, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and now Windows Vista, each of these very shortly after the release, except in the case of Vista which was quite a bit before release. While there are some problems, I have never been so disappointed as to put back the old OS. I think overall, it is always a nice upgrade.

    Vista will be even better, with the number of people who have already tested it, I am sure it will run just fine (And my RC2 has and does still). Anyway, I guess I have just one more thing to say to you: You're welcome, I hope you enjoy your DOS and appreciate the testing I have done for you. Just wait until you try Windows 3.1, man is that one great shell, and I have done testing, so you know it is good!

    January 23, 2007 5:00 PM
  • AsbjornM said:

    Ahem.. If you do to an server installation, what you do to an workstation installation.. I'll bet that you would get the same "stability" on the server as on the workstation...

    Of course server installation are stable, since you normally doesn't trash the installation with all kind of drivers, utilities, games, unnecessary downloads etc...

    But of course.. We still hope...

    January 23, 2007 5:39 PM
  • Peacho said:

    You say Windows Vista is the first OS to have the first service pack come out the same year as the OS itself. First, Windows 2000 was launched (read: not RTM'd but widely launched) on Feb. 17, 2000. SP1 came out July 27, 2000. Secondly, this has much to do with the launch date. After all, Windows XP was launched October 25, 2001 so it'd be quite hard to get a service pack out in 2 months. With Vista's launch at the end of January, there's still 11 months left for development.

    January 23, 2007 7:12 PM
  • Roflgoat said:

    But wouldn't one be able to just download the service pack? I could download SP2 for XP if I bought an old SP1 version...

    Sorry if I'm ignorant about this stuff, but I don't really remember the release of XP, but I'm excited for Vista. I even saved up money for the Ultimate version. Please respond soon.

    January 23, 2007 8:41 PM
  • K said:

    some of you people have too much time on your hands.

    January 24, 2007 9:12 AM
  • Michael said:

    Mentality or not, I've tried Vista and there are still some very annoying bugs and behavior in it. And like Wesley Shephard said: you'd better check whether all your hard- and software is Vista-ready. Vista has potential, but at the moment it lacks fit-and-finish.

    January 24, 2007 11:18 AM
  • anonymous said:

    Apart from drivers, tt's the registry at work which causes instabilities and strange errors and then if you look at it, a client OS's registry is DEFINITELY gets larger with installed software than a server OS. The registry model is enough for someone irritated about it to switch to a Mac.

    January 27, 2007 9:17 AM
  • anonymous said:

    Ok...sorry for the duplicate post...ignore/delete the first one.

    January 27, 2007 9:18 AM
  • January 31, 2007 3:20 PM
  • David Pritchard said:

    That "mentality" is common sense derived from experience. No NT-based Windows has been usable without a service pack, and Vista will be no exception. I've tried it briefly at work to see if any applications worked. Explorer crashed twice, a driver install caused a blue screen (the driver obviously doesn't work), the third-party licensing server for our applications failed, every single significant action provokes two or three annoying confirmation dialogs (the record was five, yes five, confirmations when deleting a folder). That was just for starters. SP1 is going to be an absolute minimum before I even consider letting it anywhere near any computer of mine.

    I completely agree with DosFreak. Let others with more time and enthusiasm for playing with broken toys eek all the bugs out. I'm in IT, but I've got better things to do than free beta testing.

    March 24, 2007 6:52 PM
  • March 26, 2007 6:59 AM
  • July 11, 2007 5:04 AM
  • March 23, 2008 12:27 AM