Microsoft’s Vista update – SP1 by another name?

I’ve installed Microsoft’s two new Vista patches – one for reliability, and the other for performance. No ill-effects so far and in fact the OS does feel a bit snappier. The updates claim to fix some long-standing gripes, including this one:

  • When you copy or move a large file, the “estimated time remaining” takes a long time to be calculated and displayed.

It also fixes some nasty-sounding bugs that I haven’t encountered, like this one:

  • When you synchronize an offline file to a server, the offline file is corrupted.

and includes some vague but important-sounding issues like this:

  • Poor memory management performance occurs.

Another key fix is related to one that has received a lot of attention on this blog (over 160 comments):

  • The computer stops responding, and you receive a “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” error message. You can restart the computer only by pressing the computer’s power button.

I fixed this with a driver update, but possibly the driver update was a workaround for a bug in Vista. That seems plausible since it occurs with drivers from different vendors – though note that I did not usually experience a complete hang when I encountered this problem. Here’s another goodie:

  • The computer stops responding or restarts unexpectedly when you play video games or perform desktop operations.

There are many more fixes listed, and overall, this looks like a must-have update; and indeed, it will be rolled out automatically through Windows update in due course, according to Mary Jo Foley.

Clearly this is not SP1, though it is larger than other Vista updates I’ve seen. Why the delay before the real SP1? The rumour is that this is because of changes being made in response to Google’s complaints about search integration. No doubt making these changes requires considerable work, but I can’t help thinking that it does no harm to Microsoft to delay the Google-friendly SP1, while wasting no time in rolling out the other updates that would have been in SP1. 

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