Vista SP1: Is it Time?

With SP1 due out early in 2008, should you now re-evaluate the product and consider deployment?
Posted August 29, 2007
By

Rob Enderle

Rob Enderle


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OK, Vista hasn’t exactly been the Windows 95 of operating systems, but this may be both a good and a bad thing. It certainly didn’t have the waves of people lining up to get it when it launched (the iPhone got that wave), but then it also didn’t have the large number of employees trying to slip it into production. Given that I was one of the employees that did that with Windows 95 and black screened my CEO’s laptop (that wasn’t a good day) I’m kind of glad of that.

But with SP1 due out early in 2008, should you now re-evaluate the product and consider deployment? Many of you have effectively paid for the thing anyway and while the labor cost could be daunting, it may not be, and you could have the ideal environment for it.

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I’ve been using Vista nearly exclusively on a variety of desktops (up to 8 Intel cores) and laptops (both old and new) since before launch. I just loaded the beta of SP1, and the one 4 core AMD desktop I was having problems with came up like a charm and is running better than it did with the initial Vista drop (read: it now works with my games). This is to say, while I’ve generally been happy with Vista it has had some annoying problems, and SP1 appears to have addressed most of them in this early beta. In short, I think it is now time to suggest you consider bringing it in for test.

Under the Hood

We’ve been so focused on the problems, mostly compatibility and drivers, for so long that it is likely time to refresh on the benefits. Windows Vista is built on a new, much more UNIX-like kernel. That doesn’t mean you can suddenly port your UNIX code to it, it means the kernel is better protected, which means there are entire classes of viruses that don’t seem to know how to run on it.

The offering, particularly on a laptop, moves between suspend and full operation much more easily. You get more of an instant on/instant off experience than you did with Windows XP, though the initial drop did continue to drain the battery in suspend, suggesting you need to set for timed hibernation if you want to leave the laptop for a couple of days off power (or you’ll come back to a dead battery). I haven’t tested the SP1 drop on a laptop yet, but my hope is they will have fixed this before SPI goes RTM.

A lot has been said about the new UI called Windows Aero. Now that third parties are beginning to put out Widgets (EMC has several coming) the advantages other than the pretty face are more apparent. Particularly in a multi-monitor set up (I use twin 24” monitors now). It’s not just pretty, it actually is functional and I’m constantly losing things because I have so much open. The 3D Windows view is a life saver if you have a lot of real estate open.


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