Windows Vista Service Pack 1 installed, tested, works better

You might have heard that Microsoft rolled out the first service pack for Windows Vista yesterday, claiming to fix lots of bugs, make the operating system more secure and, well, we hoped maybe it could even cure all known diseases. Maybe we were too optimistic. We took Service Pack 1 (SP1) for a spin, and didn’t notice a whole lot of difference. It’s a 434.5MB download for the entire stand-alone installation, or you can wait for it to automatically update your current Vista operating system by simply doing nothing but having auto updates enabled.

The install went flawlessly, taking about 30 minutes from start to finish with a couple of reboots. It was even kind enough to leave our dual-boot installation of Ubuntu 7.10 untouched. From the long list of bug fixes, we were most interested in the biggest flaw we saw in Vista compared with Windows XP: dog-slow file transfer speeds over a network. Microsoft says this new version of Vista can do those transfers 45% faster. Our test group of 57 files, totaling 847MB, took 1:36 to transfer with SP1, compared with 1:45 using the original Vista. That’s not a 40% speedup, but it is 9.4% faster. No diseases were cured, either — but any extra speed on our Vista PC is certainly welcome.

Our conclusion: Vista isn’t so bad as the Microsoft bashers say it is, especially if you disable all its nag screens. Now, with this service pack, it’s even more tolerable.

Windows Vista SP1 Update: Get it here