I’ve had Vista SP1 installed on my machine for a week or so, and I’m pleased (surprised as well) to see that Microsoft addressed some of the issues that have frustrated me in the past. I guess when your expectations are low, any step toward something better is noticeable.
If I sound somewhat bitter, it’s because the SP1 install was problematic. I detailed that ordeal previously (you’re welcome to read it if you’d like). Basically, it had to do with language pack installs, which caused the prep time for the SP1 install to take several days instead of 15-30 minutes.
Once the extra language packs were out of the way, the actual SP1 install itself posed no issues for me. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories, but for me, the experience was normal, if somewhat protracted. Once the computer finished the three install steps (2 pre-reboot, 1 post-reboot), my machine was up and running with SP1.
As I began to use it, the first thing I noticed was the correct calculation of the RAM present in my machine (see screenshot above). That was a nice little surprise. I found it frustrating (pre-SP1) when the BIOS said I had 4 GB of RAM, yet Windows could only see 3,069 MB of RAM. It didn’t make sense. Now that’s fixed, although, as Ben Watt points out in this comment, Vista will still not use all of it due to 32-bit limitations.
Boot-up times also seem to have improved. I haven’t done any stopwatch testing, but I don’t find myself sitting around twiddling my thumbs as much when I need to reboot. That’s nice.
More importantly, I am now able to do something which I couldn’t do pre-SP1, even though it was an advertised feature of Vista: back up my machine (see screenshots above). That’s right, before SP1, a full PC backup was impossible. There was a bug that didn’t allow you to go through with that operation in Vista Ultimate. Now that’s no longer the case, and I’m happy to say I completed my first full PC backup this afternoon.
I also understand that Microsoft is now making Vista SP1 available in more languages, which will help reduce the language uninstall times for those people who were unfortunate enough to install the optional (or in my case, required) language packs.
Furthermore, they’re offering free, unlimited SP1 install and compatibility support, which is laudable — but given the fact that one has to jump through hoops to install SP1 — also needed. In my case, I doubt they could have helped. After all, what I needed to do was to uninstall the language packs, and Microsoft made the uninstall process so freakishly long that all I could do was to either stare at the screen, fuming, or take a walk, then come back to find it still going on…
What I do not approve though, is the way they’re trying to get the word out about Vista and SP1. They’re doing it through an internal (leaked?) video that makes me want to pull my eyes out. It’s as if they’ve learned nothing from the Bank of America video debacle. Worse, it’s as if they took that video and did their best to outdo it. They succeeded all right, in a very sad way.