Guy’s Ezine 135 – Vista SP1

Guy’s Ezine 135 – Vista SP1

My top prediction for 2008 is that Vista will be accepted.  SP1 will be seen as the turning point for establishing Vista; the alternative of staying with XP will be seen as stick-in-the-mud.  Nevertheless, I predict that all will not be plain sailing for Vista in general and SP1 in particular.

Safety has never been one of my virtues, therefore it will come as no surprise that I had a narrow escape testing a beta version of SP1 on Vista.  As a result of my experience, I caution you to wait a few months for the final version of SP1, rather than test the release candidate version.

I want to send out a clear message, Vista SP1 will iron many of the niggles experienced with Vista RTM (Release To Manufacturer), especially if you have Vista on a laptop.  Because of the problems with some features of the original Vista, people become nervous, and think negatively, thus my advice is don’t make matters worse by installing a moody SP1 release candidate, wait until March for Microsoft’s announcement for the final release of SP1.

I say again, my prediction is that if we fast-forward to May 2008, when SP1 will be available, the tide of sentiment will turn in favour of Vista.  People who continue to nit-pick will be seen as moaners.  From the summer of 2008 onwards Vista will be seen as ‘cool’, whereas XP will be considered yesterday’s technology.

Vista SP1 – Beware Uninstall

What I had forgotten was that beta service pack are designed for testing, consequently, teething problems are only to be expected.   What caught me by surprise was the difficulty in upgrading from SP1 Beta to SP RC, specifically that to uninstall this SP required new techniques.  While I ‘dodged a bullet’, a number of irate readers have written to say that they had the situation where they installed Vista Beta, but then they could neither uninstall Beta nor ‘over install’ RC 0 (release candidate). 

Microsoft say that in these circumstances you uninstall Service Pack for Windows (KB936330).  Launch the Vista Control Panel and select Programs and Features.  The trick, is to click on ‘View installed updates’ and select KB936330 or KB937954.  Once selected, click on Uninstall, high up on the top menu.

Other troubleshooting techniques include visiting the Windows Update Center and clicking ‘Check for updates’, the benefit of this technique is that the Update service controls the SP1 download and uses its internal validation check to prevent a corrupted download. 

I have heard rumours that if you don’t activate Vista then you cannot uninstall SP1.  As I hinted earlier, for once I had no problem of replacing SP1 Beta, with SP1 RC.  If I did have a problem I would post in the Microsoft.Public.Windows.Vista.General forum.  See more on ‘How to Uninstall strategies‘.

Help From Forums

Probably the biggest change in troubleshooting over the last ten years is use of internet forums.  I now believe that for any problem, someone, somewhere has not only experienced the same symptoms, but also posted the solution in a forum.  Thus I recommend forums to my readers, not to get them off my back, but because I genuinely believe that a good answer to their problem is out there in a forum.  If you cannot find the answer then there is simple, but magic Plan B.

To digress, one common reply that I get back from readers: ‘But Guy there was nothing in that forum about my problem’.  This reminded me of the old miser joke. 

Miser:  ‘God please let me win the lottery’. 
God:  ‘Give me some help – buy a ticket’.

My point if you want the forum ‘God’ to help you, at least register and post your question.  For me there is nothing quite like thrill of going to bed with a problem, and waking up to find that someone in the forum has answered my question and come up with a wonderful solution.  So. now you know my Plan B, register in the forum and post a detailed account of you symptoms.

A reminder of Plan A: Type this in your favourite search engine: Microsoft.Public.Windows.Vista.General

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What Was the Vista Beta Program Like?

Pause for a moment, and imagine what it would be like working with Vista beta, or now SP1 beta.  What I found was that reality matches the classic vision of beta testing.  To begin with I get the joy of exploring the features.  Somewhere along the line I experience frustration because old things don’t work as I anticipate, also irritation when new features don’t deliver the advertised improvements.  The biggest annoyance is when Microsoft drop features that I learned about in the beta, but did not appear in the final version.  Nevertheless, overall the most lingering feeling is that of pleasure from being a pioneer learning a new system.

Then at the end of the beta period comes my honest internal review to myself.  I found the Vista beta program interesting, and I have learned a great deal.  However, I could have achieved this knowledge easier and quicker by waiting for the final version.  In summary, it’s true what managers say, Beta programs are for enthusiasts only.  ‘Mr Efficient’ just waits for the final version and piggy-backs a ride on those beta testers!

See more details of Vista SP1 features.

See more information about Microsoft Windows service packs

Windows 8 Tips  •E 189 Windows 7 SP1  • E 157 Vista SP2  • Windows 8 Task Manager

E 135 Vista SP1  • E 129 Vista SP1  • E 130 Vista SP1  •E 50 W2K3 SP1  • E 34 XP SP3

E 23 SUS  •Free Network Device Manager  •Real-time Network Traffic Monitor  • Ezines