Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) is now freely available after Microsoft made the download available on its website.
Vista SP1's release means Microsoft has kept to its January promise to launch the first service pack for its latest desktop OS in mid-March.
However, Vista users will have to actively download SP1; it won't appear automatically on Vista PCs until mid-April, and then only to those with Windows Update configured to automatically download updates.
As we report in our Vista SP1 review, the set of updates focuses on under-the-hood improvements to reliability, security and performance, with very few changes made to the interface or Vista's features.
The release of the first service pack for a Microsoft OS often encourages business customers to upgrade from the previous version of the OS, although analysts are less certain Vista SP1 will have that affect. The Windows Vista backlash may encourage many companies to stick with Windows XP until Vista's successor – Windows 7 – becomes available in 2010.
For consumers, however, Vista SP1 is considered a sensible upgrade that includes a series of bug fixes and tweaks.
SP1 has been released in five languages: English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese. Those with any other language installed, will not immediately have access to Vista SP1.