Are you interested in Windows Vista SP1? Are you waiting to upgrade to Windows Vista based on the performance of Service Pack 1 and plan to base your decision on the comments that have been made since it came out? Do you already have Windows Vista but aren’t sure if you want to upgrade to SP1? Are you trying to upgrade to SP1 but can’t get it to work? Now that Windows Vista SP1 has been out for a month, I’d like to share my experience with you and hopefully help to answer some of your questions along the way.
Installation of Service Pack 1 for me on several machines thus far has not been a walk in the park. Microsoft is quick to comment that the install for SP1 is included in Windows Update. In many cases, however, I’ve found that SP1 not listed in Windows Update for Vista machines and following technet advice doesn’t solve the problem, either.
First things first. Check if your Windows Vista machine has already automatically applied the Service Pack 1 update. To do this, open the RUN box from the Vista start menu. In Run, type “WinVer” without the quotes and click OK. You will see a window that says “About Windows” and will contain information about your operating system. If you are running Service Pack 1, this window will say Microsoft Windows, and on the next line after “Version” it will say “Service Pack 1”. If you don’t see “Service Pack 1” in this window, you don’t have it installed and should continue with the following step.
The best way to install Service Pack 1, despite the best advice from Microsoft, is to manually download the installation files. You can get the installation files here. The file is 434MB so it will take a while to download. My advice is to download the file, burn it to a CD, and then delete the file from your computer (to save HD space and to have a copy for later). Once the file has been downloaded you can double click it to begin the upgrade. The process takes roughly 1 hour, even on a very fast computer, so be prepared. The update process will reboot your computer several times so make sure that all of your programs have been closed out before you begin.
Thus far I am very impressed with Service Pack 1. I’ve used it on Windows Vista computers with dozens of software programs installed and have encountered no problems. As an example, one machine has an installation of the entire Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium package. This includes Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, Fireworks, etc. All of these software programs have been tested and work flawlessly with Service Pack 1. As with any software package, if you want to be sure it will work with SP1, make sure you always have the latest and greatest versions of individual software programs installed. Here’s the link for Adobe Downloads.
Some other programs that have been successfully tested with Service Pack 1: Winamp, Microsoft Office 2003, AVG Free Edition, Spybot S&D, Mozilla Firefox, Comodo Firewall Pro, Paint Shop Pro, Truespace 6.6, Steam, Half-Life 2, Doom 3, Goldwave, iTunes and many more. In fact, I have yet to find a program that doesn’t work with Vista SP1. I’ve read about them, but have never experienced a conflict for myself. Chances are good that your programs will work with Vista Service Pack 1. If you’re concerned about a particular program, check out this list.
The performance of Windows Vista under Service Pack 1 compared to non-SP1 is amazing. It’s literally night and day! Most of the performance issues that I’d experienced before Service Pack 1 resulting in ‘slow operating system’ complaints that others have posted about are gone. Windows Vista under Service Pack 1 is fast. My conclusion: This upgrade is definitely worth it!
I spent an entire day tweaking an ultra-portable Sony Vaio TZ series notebook with Windows Vista. The user was ready to dump Vista entirely and go back to Windows XP, even if it meant several days of lost work in reconfiguring his applications. His computer was so slow, even though he had a $3,000 computer, that he could barely use it. By the time I was done with his computer, after installing Service Pack 1 for Vista and running some various system tweaks, he was a believer in Windows Vista! Now his computer is lightning fast, using Windows Vista, and he’s happy.
If you don’t yet have Windows Vista, it’s time to upgrade. Service Pack 1 has finally made Vista a usable operating system. If you already have Vista, but not yet Service Pack 1, do yourself a HUGE favor and upgrade immediately.
One of the common problems that I run into are computer that are trying to run all of the graphics and eye candy associated with Vista with a video card that is not fast enough to support it. After Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and graphic display tweaks, I’ve been able to get Windows Vista machines that are just as fast, if not faster, than they would have been running Windows XP. You have to know what to look for.
Let’s not try to beat around the bush. There are still some problems with Windows Vista, the biggest of which are people who are not technically minded expecting this to ‘just work’ out of the box. Windows Vista, even under Service Pack 1, isn’t there yet. Unlike XP, Vista requires that a professional who knows technology helps you to setup your operating system. There are many tweaks and fixes that can be applied to make Vista a very rewarding computing experience. If you’re thinking about Windows Vista, don’t be afraid of it any longer. Consult with a professional computer technician who will help to make Windows Vista work for you.