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When Microsoft announced that Vista SP1 had gone RTM earlier this month but wouldn't be available to anybody until mid-March, there were no cheers in cyberspace. Well, Microsoft has relented (sort of). Who's lucky - and who has to wait?
Monday, Microsoft VP for Windows product management Mike Nash announced that Vista SP1 beta testers would be first in line for the final SP1 version, followed by volume-licensing customers and then MSDN and TechNet Plus subscribers. Here's an excerpt from his posting:
While most people think that it's smart that we are releasing SP1 in stages, some people asked why we haven't made SP1 available to technical customers sooner. We've heard the feedback and I want to update you on our plans and progress for making SP1 available to our beta participants, our Volume Licensing customers, and our MSDN/TechNet Plus subscribers:
- Late Friday [February 8] we made SP1 RTM available to individuals and companies who participated in the SP1 beta program
- At the end of this week we will be making the English version of Windows Vista SP1 available to Volume Licensing customers.
- Other languages will follow soon after
Later this month, SP1 will be available to MSDN and TechNet Plus subscribers For broad availability, we are still planning to release in mid-March, since we want to be sure that everyone has the smoothest experience possible.
If you're not among that number, you'll be waiting until mid-March to download it from Microsoft's Download Center, or until mid-April to get it via Windows Update.
When Vista users receive notification of Microsoft's latest Patch Tuesday security downloads, PC World reports they'll see a couple of additional updates that must be installed before Vista SP1 can be delivered via Windows Update.
KB937287 and KB938371 discuss two separate updates to the Vista installation software to prepare it for installing SP1 (a third prerequisite for Vista Ultimate and Business, KB935509, was released in January). Vista Home Basic and Home Premium users need to install KB938371 and KB937287 only, while Vista Ultimate and Business need to install those updates plus KB935509 as well to make their systems ready for Vista SP1. If you manage Windows Update manually, as I recommend, make sure you install these updates as well as the security-related updates for your system as they are delivered.
I'm glad that Microsoft is not waiting until mid-March to make Vista SP1 available to some users, but there are plenty of technically-adept Windows Vista users who aren't beta testers, MSDN, or TechNet Plus subscribers who still must wait a month to get (legal) copies of SP1. Ironically, this continued delay gives a lot of these users yet another reason to look at other alternatives. How about it, Redmond? Why not make Vista SP1 available by download only for the rest of us - now?