Windows Vista SP1 lacks "wow." Missing are enticements such as a new version of Internet Explorer, which Microsoft provided in Windows XP SP1 back in 2004, or some other must-have feature. This time it's just a rollup of past security patches and enhancements to existing code. Yawn. That said, it's still worth having. At present only 12,000 beta testers have the code. General release is expected in the first quarter of 2008.
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Windows Vista users with automatic updates turned on will have a shorter installation process than those without the updates. For our test machine, we installed a new version of Windows Vista, then let the SP1 process do the updating for us. In total, the upgrade process took us about two hours, using a CD provided by Microsoft.
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Microsoft includes a wizard to help you though the upgrade process.
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Microsoft includes a EULA that's pretty standard. Even so, it's worth a quick read before accepting.
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Our test machine included previous installs of Windows Vista in the test partition. The upgrade wizard flagged the lack of disk space and required us to delete files to make the required 5 gigabytes of space necessary to continue with the upgrade.
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Microsoft says it may take up to 30 minutes, and on our test machine it took exactly that. During this time, patches and other updates already available were installed. Next up, the upgrade itself.
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Now that our machine is fully patched and ready, the upgrade wizard will begin the task of installing SP1. During the next 40 minutes or so, we count at least five automatic reboots.
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After the upgrade, the wizard will inform you whether the process was successful or not.
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After installing the upgrade, Microsoft includes two additional upgrades that are optional. On our Windows Vista Ultimate system, we needed to install Hold Em Poker game plus BitLocker and EFS enhancements. The download and install here took another five minutes.
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Finally, after two hours of downloading and installing files, our upgrade to Windows Vista SP1 is complete.
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