Site menu:

Windows Vista

What's New in Windows Vista Service Pack 1

Windows Vista

Now that Microsoft has released Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), you may wonder what (if anything) has been changed. If you have installed SP1, you'd be hard pressed to find changes; this is a service pack after all. No new features were added, although some support for new hardware was included.

In SP1 for Vista Microsoft has focused on addressing reliability and performance issues, as well as adding support for new types of hardware.

Microsoft lists the following additions/improvements:

Reliability Improvements

  • Improved reliability and compatibility of Windows Vista when used with newer graphics cards in several specific scenarios and configurations
  • Improved reliability when working with external displays on a laptop
  • Improved Windows Vista reliability in networking configuration scenarios
  • Improved reliability of systems that were upgraded from Windows XP to Windows Vista
  • Increased compatibility with many printer drivers
  • Increased reliability and performance of Windows Vista when entering sleep and resuming from sleep
  • Improved reliability by preventing data-loss while ejecting NTFS-formatted removable-media

Performance Improvements

  • Improves the speed of copying and extracting files
    • 25% faster when copying files locally on the same disk on the same machine
    • 45% faster when copying files from a remote non-Windows Vista system to a SP1 system
    • 50% faster when copying files from a remote SP1 system to a local SP1 system
  • Improves the speed of adding and extracting files to and from a compressed (zipped) folder
  • Improves the time to become active from Hibernate and Resume modes
  • Improves the performance of domain-joined PCs when operating off the domain; in the current release version of Windows Vista, users would experience long delays when opening the File dialg box
  • Improved performance of Windows Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Vista, reducing CPU utilization and speeding JavaScript parsing
  • Improves battery life by reducing CPU utilization by not redrawing the screen as frequently, on certain computers
  • Improves the logon experience by removing the occasional 10-second delay between pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL and the password prompt displaying
  • Addresses an issue in the current version of Windows Vista that makes browsing network file shares consume significant bandwidth and not perform as fast as expected

Security Improvements

  • Windows Vista SP1 includes all previously released Security Bulletin fixes which affect Windows Vista
  • Provides security software vendors a more secure way to communicate with Windows Security Center
  • Includes application programming interfaces (APIs) by which third-party security and malicious software detection applications can work with kernel patch protection on x64 versions of Windows Vista. These APIs help ISVs develop software that extends the functionality of the Windows kernel on x64 computers without disabling or weakening the protection offered by kernel patch protection
  • Improves the security of running RemoteApp programs and desktops by allowing Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) files to be signed. Customers can differentiate user experiences based on publisher identity
  • Adds an Elliptical Curve Cryptography (ECC) pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) to the list of available PRNGs in Windows Vista
  • Enhances BitLocker Drive Encryption (BDE) to offer an additional multifactor authentication method that combines a key protected by the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) with a Startup key stored on a USB storage device and a user-generated personal identification number (PIN)
  • Enhanced the BitLocker encryption support to volumes other than bootable volumes in Windows Vista (for Enterprise and Ultimate SKUs)

Support for Emerging Hardware and Standards

  • Adds support for new strong cryptographic algorithms used in IPsec. SHA-256, AES-GCM, and AES-GMAC for ESP and AH, ECDSA, SHA-256, and SHA-384 for IKE and AuthIP
  • In the future, flash memory storage and consumer devices will use the exFAT file system. Windows Vista SP1 adds support for this file system to Windows Vista
  • Adds full support for the latest IEEE draft of 802.11n wireless networking
  • The service pack will include support for Secure Digital (SD) Advanced Direct Memory Access (DMA), which will be on compliant SD host controllers soon, to improve transfer performance and decrease CPU utilization
  • x64 PCs can boot using the EFI. Windows Vista currently supports network boot by using Windows Deployment Services for x86, a PC's basic input/output system (BIOS) for x64 PCs, and EFI for IA-64 PCs. Windows Vista SP1 will add support for network boot by using x64 EFI
  • The service pack will add support for Direct3D 10.1, adding application programming interfaces (APIs) and features that enable 3-D applications, so game developers can better take advantage of a new generation of Direct3D graphics hardware
  • Adds support for SSTP (Secure Sockets Tunnel Protocol), a remote access VPN tunneling protocol that will be part of Microsoft's RRAS (Routing and Remote Access Service) platform. SSTP helps provide full-network VPN remote access connections over SSL, removing some of the VPN connectivity challenges that other VPN tunnels face traversing NAT, web proxies, and firewalls

Please note that the Windows Vista SP1 install process clears the user-specific data that is used by Windows to optimize performance, which may make the system feel less responsive immediately after install. As the customer uses their SP1 PC, the system will be retrained over the course of a few hours or days and will return to the previous level of responsiveness.

I have Vista SP1 installed on 3 computers without any problems, and do notice a performance increase while copying files over my network. I've also seen a reduction of the number of User Account Control (UAC) prompts in specific circumstances (creating/deleting a folder at a protected location).

For a complete overview of Hotfixes and Security Updates included in Windows Vista Service Pack 1, see this Microsoft TechNet Article.

Give your comments on this article.