The first service pack for Windows Vista will be launched in early 2008, but test versions of the SP will already be available before the end of this year.
Performance, compatibility, and reliability have been among the biggest complaints of Windows Vista users. Many of the Windows Update fixes for Vista to date have addressed problems related to these three major trouble areas. Microsoft appears to have listened, focusing most of Vista SP1 on under-the-cover features. As is typical for Windows service packs, many of the patches, fixes, and updates thus far released through Windows Update will be included in SP1, as well as some other fixes and adds. However, Vista SP1 will not include new drivers, as they would weigh down the service pack because they are computer-specific. Those will continue being released by the driver vendor or via Windows Update.
One of the main goals of SP1 will be to improve performance. Among the performance enhancements will be a package released Tuesday via Windows Update that fixes problems related to poor memory management, long calculation times for estimating the time it will take to move or copy files, screen saver memory leaks, and delays returning from hibernation or stand-by mode. Vista SP1 will also include some tweaks to make Internet Explorer 7 speedier.
Other focuses for Vista SP1 will be reliability and administration. Several recent patches issued on Windows Update, including one Tuesday, have addressed reliability concerns. In the administrative arena, BitLocker Drive Encryption will now support encryption of any drive volume, rather than just the Vista drive. Vista SP1 also will make it easier to connect and print to a local printer within Terminal Server sessions, add network diagnostics for file sharing problems, provide more options for Windows' disk defragmenter, and include the a remote access VPN tunneling protocol called the Secure Sockets Tunnel Protocol.