Does the imminence of Vista’s SP1 overhaul make it a better proposition for ordinary users and businesses? We now know that SP1 will be a 65MB Internet download, and it is claimed that it will improve Vista’s performance in ways that should not have been at issue in the first place.

Microsoft has detailed these improvements, so-called, in various Net postings, but specifically one recent document that is worth gunning up on if you’re in any way thinking of taking the jump from XP, or just like something nerdy to read on the train.

If you already have Vista, it will just make you feel a little better. The code cavalry is on its way.
One sentence that didn’t encourage me is buried some way down in the document:

“The Windows Vista SP1 install process clears the user-specific data that is used by Windows to optimize performance, which may make the system feel less responsive immediately after install. As the customer uses their SP1 PC, the system will be retrained over the course of a few hours or days and will return to the previous level of responsiveness.”

“Previous” levels of responsiveness? Anyone with less than 2GB of RAM will know this is not good news as the OS doesn’t actually respond at all below that memory threshold. In fact, this is not as bad as it first sounds – we assume it relates to Vista’s excellent search feature, one of the main reasons for upgrading, which will have to be refreshed.

Security:

A raft of fairly minor enhancements, but three of relevance to businesses using BitLocker encryption are support for volumes other than the one booted from, and multi-factor authentication where a TPM is used with a USB-stored Pin or key, and a widening of support for different types of encryption. In IPsec VPNs.

Performance enhancements include:

- Claimed improved network share browsing responsiveness.
- Fixes some battery consumption flaws.
- Twenty-five percent improvement in file copies within same machine. Even faster copies from remote machines.

Other things to be vaguely pleased about:

- Tweaks to improve ReadyBoost which help with returning from hibernate and resume modes.
- Support for exFAT, which makes it possible to support larger files and capacities with flash devices.
There is a lot of detail to plough through, but few promises of much improvement in performance. Indeed, some testers have even questioned whether there will be any improvement at all.

But the score for 2008 is to get used to Vista and stop moaning about it. That’s my first New Year resolution. It is not going to go away and it beats the pants off XP’s weakling security, at least until the crims get to grips with it.