As I enter the ninth month of my Windows Vista experience, I agree with those who say that the long-anticipated Windows upgrade hasn’t been the bang for which Microsoft was hoping. Instead, it’s been more like a popgun.
I am not much of an aesthetics guy, so the new Aero Glass graphics display isn’t very exciting to me. I must admit, however, that running software on Vista has not been the nightmare for me that many predicted. I have not had any problems installing and running any software on my Vista system.
However, I may be in the minority. Many individuals and businesses alike may have been scared off by reports of the “ticks” Vista had when it finally made its debut. Microsoft, through various patches, has corrected several of the problems initially plaguing Vista.
There was always a great deal of industry speculation as to when Microsoft would release the first Vista service pack (a service pack is a software program that corrects known bugs and problems or adds new features to an existing program). Microsoft put that speculation to rest at the end of August when it announced plans to roll out Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) in early 2008.
With limited beta-testing still weeks away, leaked information regarding Vista SP1 gives the impression that the programmers at Microsoft have been quite busy since they finished Vista. Among the fixes SP1 offers are better printer driver support, improved compatibility with more graphics cards, reduced drag on system resources by Internet Explorer, and increased file copying speeds.
From reading various computing blogs (the title for this Editor’s Outlook comes from the “Between the Lines” blog at ZDNet), some believe that Vista SP1 is a mulligan for Microsoft, especially given the sheer number of fixes packed into SP1. It’s a not a stretch to feel this way, given the less-than-enthusiastic reception Vista first received, and the problems it faced almost from day one.
No matter if Vista SP1 is a do-over or merely a smoothing of the edges, the stakes are pretty high for Microsoft. If the company can convince the computing public that most of Vista’s bugs have been ironed out, it is reasonable to expect the number of people switching to Vista to increase.
Furthermore, Microsoft needs to convince corporate clients that Vista is stable enough for them to start migrating to the new OS. Historically, businesses have waited to adopt the latest version of Windows until after the first service pack release.
Don’t Forget About XP!
After Microsoft last year dropped all support for the Windows 98 operating system, many users accused the company of forcing Windows users to adopt Vista. Microsoft has already set a drop-dead date of January 30, 2008, for manufacturers to stop preinstalling XP on new PCs, although some industry insiders expect this date to be extended. However, Microsoft also announced that the third and final service pack for the Windows XP operating system (XP SP3) would be available during the first half of 2008. XP SP3 will be an accumulation of previously released XP updates as well a small number of new updates. While there is nothing earth-shattering in XP SP3, Windows XP users can rest easy knowing that this system will definitely be around a little longer.