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Operating systems software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Windows Vista SP1 review


Manufacturer: Microsoft

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5 User Rating: Our users rate this 1 out of 10

The final version of Vista SP1 focuses on under-the-hood improvements to reliability, security, and performance, with very few changes made to the interface or Vista's features.

The final version of Vista SP1 focuses on under-the-hood improvements to reliability, security, and performance, with very few changes made to the interface or Vista's features.

Think of Vista SP1 as a giant, glorified set of patches and fixes rather than a clear and visible change to the operating system.

Although Vista Service Pack 1 won't be available to the general public until some time in March, we received a copy of the final code and put it through its paces. Our verdict? Don't expect many surprises from SP1.

As we've written about in our review of a beta version of Windows Vista SP1, the service pack leaves just about all of the operating system's features intact, and targets performance, reliability, and security.

One fix - the death of the so-called Kill Switch - will be welcomed by many, as we'll explain later.

One of the biggest benefits Microsoft touts for Vista SP1 is faster performance, notably the speed with which it copies files to local disks and across networks.

But on our test machine, copying to local disks and across networks with Vista SP1 is generally slightly slower than pre-SP1 Vista, and lags far behind Windows XP.

It's not clear whether our results will bear out when compared to many machines. Microsoft says, in fact, that its internal testing shows speed improvements of up to 50 percent when copying files. So be aware that what you get on your machine may be dramatically different than what we found on ours, or what Microsoft found on theirs.

NEXT PAGE: installation of Windows Vista SP1 > >

See also:

Windows Vista: the definitive review

Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate review

NEW: Latest Windows Vista news

NEW: Latest Microsoft news

Windows Vista SP1 Expert Verdict »

800MHz processor
512MB system memory
DirectX 9.0-compatible graphics processor
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Should you upgrade to Vista SP1? We'd say yes. The elimination of the Kill Switch alone is reason, by itself, to upgrade. If it's true that Vista will be more reliable and more secure under SP1, that's another good reason as well. If Microsoft is to be believed, most people will get performance benefits as well, although on my system, we found copying to be slower, rather than faster. Still, we're keeping SP1 on my PC. The slowdown in file copying is a minor annoyance, and it's a small price to pay for ensuring that the Kill Switch will never go into effect.

  • Windows XP SP3 review

    Windows XP SP3

    Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), just out from Microsoft as Release Candidate 2 (RC2), may not necessarily be worth the download now, but when it's finally released, it'll be worth the effort.

  • Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate

    Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate

    The just-released Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate (RC), like the previous beta, does more to improve the internal plumbing of Windows Vista than it does to make any major changes to the interface.

  • Windows Vista SP2 beta review

    Windows Vista SP2 beta

    In the initial beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2), the changes made aren't immediately obvious. And even the under-the-hood changes are incremental rather than earth shattering.

  • Windows Vista Business Edition

    With the Business Edition of Windows Vista, you lose the natty multimedia tools of Home Premium but gain solid business-oriented capabilities such as some better backup tools and Remote Desktop.

  • Windows Search 4.0 review

    Windows Search 4.0

    Windows Search 4.0 is finally here, and it's ready to enter the workplace as a well-mannered IT citizen.

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