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December 5, 2007

Deployed: Windows Vista SP1 RC on ALL of my PC’s

Today Nick announced the availability of the release candidate for Windows Vista SP1. I had a chance to get the RC build of Windows Vista SP1 installed a few days ago. I decided to roll the RC out on all of my PCs which showcase a variety of device types and scenarios:

  • My Main Desktop PC running Windows Vista Ultimate x64 – check.
  • My Test/Work PC running Windows Vista Business – check.
  • My Dell Vostro 1500 Laptop running Windows Vista Ultimate – check.
  • My Samsung Q1 UMPC running Windows Vista Home Premium – check.
  • My Digital CableCard PC running Windows Vista Home Premium – check.

In installing the RC on my PCs, I did a combination of using the standalone installer and Windows Update. Before proceeding to install the SP1 RC bits, I first needed to uninstall the SP1 beta bits first. Users looking to install the Windows Vista SP1 RC will need to uninstall any previous version of SP1 prior to the installation of the RC from either Windows Update or the standalone installer. With Windows Update, once SP1 was downloaded, a new series of screens telling me about SP1 appeared. The same series of dialog screens seen in the standalone installer is now launched when installing Windows Vista SP1 via Windows Update. This will be really helpful to the user in installing Windows Vista SP1. Previously with the beta, there was no guidance from Windows Update in installing Windows Vista SP1 like there was with the standalone installer. The ability to catch issues like insufficient disk space or PC not on battery power has been implemented earlier in the installation process – with a simple more useful error message to the user. In installing Windows Vista SP1 over Windows Update, a series of pre-requisites must first be installed before SP1. For the RC, these pre-requisites presented themselves to me in proceeding to install SP1 from Windows Update. However, before the final version of Windows Vista SP1 is released, it is likely these pre-requisites will be installed prior to SP1’s release. If you have Windows Update configured for Automatic Update – it is likely these pre-requisites will be installed automatically at night.

When logging in to my PCs for the first time after installing the Windows Vista SP1 RC, the first thing I took notice of was that none of my PCs displayed a “find device driver” pop-up like I had experienced with the beta. Previously, I had a “find display driver” pop-up for my graphics driver for the PCs I had installed the SP1 beta on. In the RC – this seems to have been fixed. Many of the improvements I took note of back in September still held up, if not better, with the RC. All of my applications continue to work including:

  • Sony Vegas 7
  • New Zune software
  • Visual Basic 2008 Expression
  • Windows Live suite of applications
  • Windows Live OneCare
  • Smart FTP
  • ImgBurn
  • Yahoo! Messenger 9 Beta
  • Virtual PC 2007
  • Paint.NET

These are just a few of the applications I use and have tested with the Windows Vista SP1 RC. I’d also like to note that Games for Windows – LIVE games such as Shadowrun and Halo 2 for Windows Vista also continue to work as expected.

A few days ago I had blogged about my new HP MediaSmart Server and deploying Windows Home Server in my home. Those unfamiliar with Windows Home Server can learn about it here. Windows Home Server is essentially the server for the home based off Windows Server 2003 SP2 code. With my PCs running the Windows Vista SP1 RC, I’ve seen some noticeable changes in how fast it takes for PC backups to complete. Windows Home Server uses a connector to configure backups to the server which take place over the network. With the networking fixes in Windows Vista SP1, transferring files over my network has improved tremendously. Accessing file shares on my Windows Home Server is also much more responsive.  

Because of these experiences with improved network performance, I decided it was time to migrate my network to a gigabit LAN.  To do so, I picked up a D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit Router as well as D-Link DGS-2205 gigabit switch.

Transferring recorded TV shows to my Windows Home Server is a breeze! I continue to be impressed with my network speed and responsiveness running Windows Vista SP1.

I’d also like to call out experiences on my laptop and UMPC with some SP1 improvements. Most notably is the improvement seen with my laptop and UMPC in resuming from sleep mode. Resuming from sleep is much faster. In coming out of sleep, I can now immediately use my mobile PCs rather than having to wait through a lag until the system is usable.

I’ve spent a total of 3 days now running a complete Windows Vista SP1 environment and am very impressed with the improvements and fixes that the RC provides over the last beta.