Vista Service Pack 1: Things Microsoft forgot to fix

Vista Service Pack 1: The meh starts now

Commentary: Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is now available and some are saying SP1 improves Vista's general meh-diocrity, while others are saying it's not all that.

We're inclined to agree with the later group. Microsoft's done a decent job with Vista SP1, but it could have done so much more. Don't give us that rubbish about it only being an incremental improvement -- Microsoft threw so much into XP SP2 that it was virtually a whole new operating system.

With that in mind, we've come up with a bunch of things we think should have been included with Vista SP1, and things that could help improve the Windows Vista user experience on the whole.

Multiple Desktops
You get it in Ubuntu, you get it in OS X Leopard, so why can't you get it out of the box with Windows Vista? The ability to have multiple desktops or spaces, each themed with a specific set of application types that can help improve productivity and reduce the amount of clutter. Nobody likes to have a desktop full of icons, and nobody likes trawling their mental Rolodex to remember where they left something. You wouldn't eat, sleep and wash in the same room, so why treat your PC's desktop in the same way?

Better Flip 3D
Flip 3D provided the 'wow' factor Microsoft needed to make Vista interesting. But now all the hype has died down, it's clear that nobody uses the thing. Why bother, when Alt-Tab works better anyway? The problem with Flip 3D is that it can only show a limited number of windows at any one time. Plus the windows at the rear of the flip stack are virtually useless, since you can only see 20-25 percent of the window. We think we've probably used Flip 3D twice. Once was to take a screen shot of it in action, and the other was to impress a girl.

Better file previews
Microsoft got it half right with its file-preview system. Vista lets you preview some of the contents of a sub-directory by placing thumbnails on the directory icon. Different file types have different icons. But is that the best they could do? If there was some way of previewing documents before you open them, a la Leopard's QuickLook feature, we'd be less likely to open the wrong document by mistake and we wouldn't clog up our 'recent items' list with things we never meant to open.

Visual backup/restore
Why Microsoft gave us such a half-baked solution for such an important area is beyond us. Yes, Vista lets us create backups of our entire PC, or even just files we specify, but that's really not enough in this day and age. Anyone who's spent 3 hours on the phone to their grandmother trying to explain how to recover a lost file will tell you how inadequate the current solution is. How about a visual representation of the state of your computer on any given day? How about the ability to recover lost files just by typing in a search term? How about accessing lost files directly from the application you last viewed them in? How about ripping off the Time Machine feature in Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard? There's no shame in it.

Some speed, already!
We've always been concerned about some aspects of Vista's performance. We've learned that file copying and networking can be painfully slow, so we were rather hoping Vista SP1 would speed things up a bit. And it does -- sorta, kinda, ish. But not really. CNET.com's lab monkeys have learned that moving files around on the same hard drive is a teeny bit quicker, but writing files to an external hard drive is notably slower with SP1. Boot up and shut down times were about the same and battery life in laptops was virtually identical, too. Call us greedy, but we were expecting more. Vista was supposed to have started the 'wow' not the 'meh', remember?

For those of you out there who have upgraded, do you agree or disagree? Did Vista SP1 deliver more or less than you expected? Please share your experiences with us below!



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Fawa posted a comment   

SP 1 is horrible! It deformed my computer, made it irritatingly slower, and messed up my resolution, I believe it removed all my graphics cards, because I couldn't view them in my advanced settings...so I restored it before the installation, good grief! I'm going to avoid that terrible crap next time.

 

marsbar posted a comment   

Microsoft's worst thing that they have done is to discontinue XP, current pc's run beautifully on XP, due to money and the oh so generous Bill Gates, they have discontinued XP therefore making it unavailable on new pc's. They have released an operating system that is far far incomplete and they have forced XP out the door making it compulsury to upgrade if your a loyal Microsoft customer. I say GO LINUX, GO MAC, FREE SOFTWARE. SOFTWARE SHOULD BE FREE.

 

xpace posted a comment   

I must say that Vista stayed on my PC for whole 1 month. that's end of story. just using linux everywhere I can - and it actually got an advantage - IT WORKS :)

 

JED1990 posted a comment   
Australia

I installed W Vista SP1, and both my boot up and shut down times a re soooo much longer. Realy annoying Microsoft.
Also, after booting up, my desktop picture does not show first of all, it then comes on the screen and then disappears again and about 20 seconds later it comes on again.
An absolute piece of rubbish Microsoft.
Very disappointed. Make sure you get it right next time!
Once again absoute rubbish.

 

Kral posted a comment   

Regarding the 'Flip-3D' thing, I find it very useful. Much better than Alt-Tab if you are looking for similar looking pages/documents. It took me a whole of 2 seconds to figure out that the mousewheel scrolls through the pages as well as Win+Tab also brings it up and flips through.

 

JLV - Seattle posted a comment   

Installed SP1 on a new Dell XPS 1330 Laptop. Bootup time doubled and Sleep mode would disable BlueTooth. After 3 weeks of fixes that did not work, I recovered my system with a disk image. What a relief.

 

DaGMan posted a comment   

Gave me the "blue screen of death" and i had to TOTALLY REFORMAT, my computer would not even boot up in safe mode,tried every command option there was, blue screen flashed on & off again so quick could'nt even see what it said, no sp1 for me, forget it!!!

 

Mataeus posted a comment   

I must draw the conclusion that the people having the problems are running cracked copies of Vista? I pay for everything out of my own pocket, I never pirate anything - I paid over £600 For Cubase! I bought Windows Vista Home Premium, it has been almost flawless which is amazing for a new OS, everything works on it, drivers respond as they should, powerful games and apps run fine, and service pack 1 has caused me no problems whatsoever. Everything worked before, and everything worked after. Vista isn't going to run well on a **** PC also - and SP1 won't 'magically' make it so.

 

Paul posted a comment   

Horrible. SP1 crashed my computer. Coruppted files so that the backups would not install. Keyboard does not work. One Care is frozen. New updates are failing to install. Office suite is corupt and and will not load from the disc. Nightmare....

 

bellanr posted a comment   

We have one PC and 2 laptops running Vista. On reading an article in a PC magazine we were advised not to install service pack 1 until it was offered by MS Update. This is to avoid any driver issues and other items that could render the PC useless. We waited, got the offered update on all 3 computers and no problems whatsoever. They restart and shutdown faster also.


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