Were You Waiting for Vista SP1, Should You Be?

Rob Enderle

This week Microsoft announced its rollout plan for Windows Vista SP1, the Service Pack that was never expected to exist in the first place. Enterprise deployments of Vista have been light (excuse the understatement), and conventional wisdom would have us conclude that this is because there has been no SP1 release. But I wonder if that is the case this time, and I wonder if you are, in fact, waiting for Windows Vista SP1.


Vista SP1: Why You Should Test Anyway


Before we start chatting about whether or not you are waiting for SP1 (and my goal is to actually hear from you in that regard), let's start with discussing why you should test during the beta process anyway. Whether you like it or not, Vista represents the next generation of Microsoft operating systems, and you will eventually have to deal with it. In fact, most of you are likely dealing with it now.


This is because you'll have outward facing web sites, partners who will need access to some of your resources, employees who want to use home machines for work, customers who need access to your resources, and executives who you can't say no to (well, you can say it, but they'll just laugh at you).


In short, whether you deploy Vista or not, it does represent the future path for Microsoft, at least near term, and you'll be expected to do more than complain about it -- you'll likely be expected to make sure it works where you need it to.


That means you need both knowledge and influence, and the time to get those is during a beta cycle. Vendors actually want you to provide feedback, and if you want a chance for getting things fixed which otherwise will make your life difficult, this is the time to provide that feedback and get it done.


Is It Time to Consider Alternatives?


As it turns out, Apple is coming out with its new OS, Leopard, during this cycle, and with the partnership deal between Novell and Microsoft (coupled with support by Dell), SuSe is looking vastly more attractive than it has.


If you are like most shops, there is likely some pressure to at least consider alternatives, and now would be a good time to do that. Your choices might be different than mine, but at the very least this will give you additional ideas for what Microsoft might be able to do with SP1, more likely a future maintenance release, or next full release, of the product. Of course there is already a wish list of things folks want badly for the next version of Windows.


Having to jump vendors can be very painful and, if you don't have to do it, I think most of us would prefer not having the aggravation, so it has always been my belief that the easiest initial path it to get the platform fixed and to only use the threat of replacement to get the vendor, any vendor, to listen.


Testing alternative platforms could help you do that, and getting the attention of Microsoft is typically a very difficult process. During a beta cycle, however, it should be vastly easier.


SP1: Why It Almost Didn't Exist


Windows Vista was designed with the idea of constant updates. Originally we needed service packs because people didn't apply patches as they came out for a lot of reasons and, when they had to catch up, applying patches out of sequence could lead to all kinds of interesting (read: really nasty) problems. So a service pack was a quick way to get a system up to the current code level without (hopefully) creating colorful black or blue screens.


But, post 2000, a changing wave of viruses and attacks forced the industry to step up and more aggressively patch. It was believed that, given this, service packs were obsolete (people simply couldn't wait for them) and that they were no longer needed. Unfortunately no one really thought about the re-education process such a move would require, or that there needs to be some kind of event that indicates the product is not longer a .0 offering and that most of the initial pain is over. This last obstacle is going to be hard to get around because whether you have a platform like Windows, or a device like the iPhone, most of us will likely avoid a .0 offering; if there is nothing to signal the .0 pain is done we probably will avoid the product indefinitely.


So, if we are able to get rid of Service Packs in the future we'll likely have to replace them with point releases that happen in the same time frame so those that don't like to be on the bleeding edge (read 98 percent of the folks out there) know when to buy the offering.


Are you Waiting for SP1


If you are currently running a Windows XP shop and will take a moment, I'd like to hear from you whether you are waiting for SP1. In addition, and these are really two questions, whether you plan to test with SP1 and, for both, the primary reason why or why not.


This will help me understand your thinking and I'll factor that into my own.


Regardless, my initial experience with SP1 has been good, but I'm an individual and this needs to go through a full enterprise test. Would love to also hear back, from those that are testing this, what your experiences are and what you think of the product.


Good Luck!

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Aug 30, 2007 5:09 PM Peetz Peetz  says:
I have a small business, and at the time of the Vista launch, we switched to Apple OSX. Best decision. The smooth reliability of OSX is awesome, compared to jittery ride of Windows. Just when I think my Windows system is working fine, something happens. Reply
Aug 30, 2007 5:51 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
The initial SP1 drop seems to be a lot better but I hear you. Funny thing is my Vista laptops have generally been very solid it is my desktop systems that have been a bit flakey. Tiger has proven to be very solid, but then it is a point release while Vista is a major release so you'd expect it to be more reliable. One of the reasons behind waiting until SP1 which is effectively a point release as well. Thanks for your feedback, good luck with the Apples, the company does nice work. Reply
Sep 1, 2007 8:17 AM aman aman  says:
please give me windows vista Reply
Sep 1, 2007 8:19 AM aman aman  says:
yoyo Reply
Sep 2, 2007 9:46 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
Can't disagree, the NVIDIA stuff has been particularly painful. Have you tried the SP1 beta yet (and if so what do you think?). Reply
Sep 2, 2007 5:08 PM T. Stanley T. Stanley  says:
Seriously waiting on SP1!! I am an I.T. professional working in data recovery and have been running Vista on and off ever since the first Beta's. I do this out of necessity not choice. In my job we have to be in the know, on the cutting edge for our clients. THE CUTTING EDGE is the BLEEDING EDGE. Although much improved since the BETA's, VISTA is definetly ruff around the edges. It takes over two minutes to boot and sometimes even longer to shut down. I have to boot my machine as much as 3 or 4 times for the network drivers to give me LAN. My video drivers from NVIDIA (8800 series) just plain suck!And Vista pounds on my O.S. hard drive constantly. I am an I.T. Data Recovery Engineer, I know software and hardware, and in my opinion, VISTA NEEDS a MAJOR IMPROVENMENT, Give us SP1 NOW! Reply
Sep 4, 2007 2:08 PM manjit manjit  says:
what is the difference between window vista and window xp s2? pls advice.TQ! Reply
Sep 4, 2007 2:12 PM manjit manjit  says:
Sep 4, 2007 3:22 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
I listed several in the piece. But generally it is more secure, it represents the future code base (XP is no longer in development) and so support going forward should be better. It doesn't have the hardware limitations that XP has (mostly memory). It is better tuned for hardware coming into the market (XP is better for hardware 2006 and earlier). And you can generally live in and out of suspend never actually shutting it off. I'd wait for SP 1 at this point though if you are looking at deploying and test with SP1 to ensure your needs are heard. Reply
Sep 4, 2007 6:34 PM stirist stirist  says:
linux is better Reply
Sep 5, 2007 9:17 AM Bernie Bernie  says:
Other than the occasional RAM energy drop, I have no real problems with Vista Ultimate.My drivers are all Intels, no NVidia, several friends have said they had too many problems with Vista and NVidia.It's still early days of course, but I think in the end, Vista will come out on top.I too thought about changing to a Mac, but I'm going to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt, at least until around summer next year. If there's no improvements by then, or if Microsoft tries to charge for updates, I'll be making the switch to a Mac and never look back. I still use XP for gaming, but I guess it's just a matter of time until even XP becomes a distant memory like Win95, Win98, etc... Reply
Sep 5, 2007 7:28 PM J Shipps J Shipps  says:
Waiting for SP1. There are still lots of driver and support issues. Be careful of the version you get. All of the versions of Vista will let me make backups, but only Enterprise and Professional will let you restore those backups. I hope SP1 fixes this.Yes, I intend to test everything before recommending to customers/users. Especially since backups/restores are already flaky. Reply
Sep 7, 2007 9:10 AM mido mido  says:
plzi want wnidows vista freeeeeeeeeeeeee Reply
Sep 7, 2007 9:11 AM mido mido  says:
i want to download windows vista free please Reply
Sep 23, 2007 7:10 PM ljun ljun  says:
Would you give me vista.iso,please? and make sure to free. thank you. Reply
Oct 16, 2007 5:58 PM Mike Kinney Mike Kinney  says:
I don't usually leave comments but in this case I will share my feelings on the matter. It is all about the money. I am sure that Microsoft is concerned about the lack of adoption by corporations. I'm sure it is to Microsofts advantage to issue a Service Pack (SP) to comply with some corporations wait till SP1 policy. This thought process is partially due to new OS's history of being delivered more as a public beta than an OS that is stable enough for a corporate environment.Previous Windows operating systems proved to be unstable and lacked proper support until SP1. Corporations usually create their own "Build images" to deploy from. These images are built from the OS and have the corporations approved applications, security policies, etc built in. Normally there are separate builds for servers, desktops and laptops. These corporate builds are used to image new systems. There is a cost associated with providing these builds and a time lag between updating builds due to cost and distribution issues. When an install takes as much time to apply the patches as it takes to perform the initial install, it is time to create a new build to incorporate the updates. Usually a corporation does not want to incur these costs prior to a stable OS; hence waiting for the first SP. Vista comes with another barrier to adoption, in that it can not run adequately on the same platform as an old XP version. This means upgrading to new hardware which can be a bitter pill for corporations. Some corporations will move to an alternative OS to extend their hardware life rather than absorb the cost of the new OS and new hardware. Reply

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