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Windows Vista Service Pack 1

Windows Vista is one of the fastest selling operating systems released by Microsoft, and has sold over 100 million licenses to date. It helps mid-sized businesses and enterprises in cost optimization and in improving their security, mobility and productivity. Windows Vista has made it possible for users to communicate, and share information on a more secure platform. Despite providing a user-friendly and secure interface, Windows Vista has also faced some challenges in its implementation, such as compatibility with applications and devices that are used by Windows XP.

Keeping all this in mind, Microsoft has released Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) in March 2008, which aims at improving the performance, security, and reliability of Windows Vista. SP1 was released to improve the Windows Vista experience. It allows users to take advantage of new developments made by Microsoft and its partners.

Application and Device Compatibility

Initially, when Windows Vista was launched it faced a major challenge with its compatibility with alot of application and device drivers that were used in the earlier versions of Windows. In the past year, developers of Windows Vista have made remarkable progress in understanding the compatibility issues and have come up with resolution plans and updates to make the Windows Vista experience more enjoyable for users. Updates for all these drivers and applications are included in Windows Vista SP1.

Reliability

SP1 has come up with improvements that address the most common reasons of an operating system failure, making it more reliable. To improve the user's Windows Vista experience and to make the operating system more stable, issues reported on opt-in services like Windows Error Reporting (WER) have been taken into account. Some of the improvements offered by Windows Vista SP1 are:

  • Improved reliability of networking in Windows Vista and Internet Protocol Security (IPSsec) connection on TCP/IP Version 6.
  • Enhanced reliability when working with external display on a laptop.
  • Additional support to Windows Vista built-in backup solution to include EFS.
  • Improved compatibility when used with newer graphics.
  • Increased reliability and performance while entering or resuming from sleep mode.

Performance

Windows Vista SP1 focuses on improving the performance of Windows Vista. These include:

  • Speeds up and reduces the bandwidth require to browse files on a network.
  • Speeds up the process of adding, copying, and extracting files from compressed files and archives.
  • Improves the battery life by reducing CPU usage and improving the performance of power transitions.
  • Improves overall media performance by reducing the number of malfunctions.

Security

Windows Vista SP1 is loaded with many security enhancements also, most prominent of those are:

  • Improved BitLocker Drive Encryption that combines a TPM with start-up key on a USB storage device and a PIN.
  • Additional APIs in which third-party security and anti-virus applications can work along with Kernel Patch Protection on 64-bit versions of Windows Vista.
  • Improved security while running remote applications, programs and desktops.
  • Included a security software that gives vendors a more secure platform to communicate with Windows Security Center.
  • Included an Elliptical Curve Cryptography (ECC) pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) to the list of available PRNGs in Windows Vista.

The changes in Windows Vista SP1 will help in improving the deployment, management, and support experience for Windows Vista customers. SP1 will allow flash memory storage and devices to use exFAT file system. It will also support secure Digital ADMA to increase the performance. Windows Vista SP1 gives additional support for network boot by using x64 EFI and will also support Direct3D 10.1 for better graphics.

While Windows Vista SP1 is still in beta, it will make limited changes to the user interface, have limited impact to application compatibility, and the Windows Update and WSUS download size will be small. The purpose of Windows Vista SP1 is to introduce new changes, such as User Account Control, that affect the compatibility.

In addition to installing Windows Vista SP1 to improve the security and reliability of your system, you must also use tools such as a registry cleaner, antivirus, and anti-spyware to maintain a healthy Windows registry and a high-performance computer.

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