Vista SP1: Threat or Menace?

Neil McAllister
PC World
Friday, March 21, 2008; 4:06 PM

Apologies toJ. Jonah Jameson-- I doubt the esteemed publisher of the Daily Bugle ever even used a PC -- but I couldn't resist cribbing one of his more famous headlines. Ol' Jonah always had a bad habit of selling short your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, no matter how much good the webslinger did. Similarly, the long-awaited release of Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista seems to have done little to quiet the grumbling about Microsoft's latest OS.

Popular wisdom says you should wait for SP1 before switching to any new version of Windows. Ironically, the question on the minds of current Vista customers iswhether it's the right time to switch to SP1.

Vista SP1 reportedly wraps some 551 bug fixes along with performance, reliability, and compatibility enhancements. But given how customers who have upgraded from XP have struggled with driver and application incompatibilities, it's no surprise that many are gun-shy of the latest update.

According to PC World's test lab gurus,the Service Pack is safeand it does improve performance, albeit not enough to crow about. My own, totally anecdotal survey reveals that some customers have upgraded with no problems (myself, for example), while others claim unexpected crashes and instability -- almost assuredly the result of driver issues -- but that any system speedup could just as easily be attributable to the placebo effect.

The multimillion-dollar question is whether SP1 will be the hoped-for catalyst that triggers a widespread migration from XP to Vista. The Service Pack may help to allay concerns about code quality, but the perception that Vista's benefits simply don't outweigh the risk of the upgrade remains a challenge for Microsoft, particularly among business users.

What about you? Does the arrival of Vista SP1 alter your business's Windows upgrade timetable, or are you planning tostick with XPfor as long as possible? And does this massive wrap-up of patches prove that Microsoft is doing right by its Vista customers, or does J. Jonah Jameson have the right idea? Sound off in the comments.

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