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Vista SP1 coming sooner for some

Bowing to demand from customers, Microsoft will release first major Vista update to businesses Friday and developers later this month. General public will have to wait.

Often, when Microsoft finishes the code for a new product, it is available almost immediately. That's why it was a bit of a surprise when Microsoft said last week that it had finished Windows Vista Service Pack 1, but that customers would have to wait until March to get it.

On Monday, Microsoft reversed course and said it would make the code available to volume license customers on Friday, with Technet and MSDN developer program members having access to the software later this month. The masses will still have to wait until next month, Microsoft said.

"For general availability, we are still planning to release in mid-March time frame, as we want to ensure the general public has the smoothest experience possible," Microsoft said in a statement.

The key reason for the hold-up is that Microsoft is still working out a significant issue where the drivers for certain hardware devices don't work after installing the service pack.

"This is an issue with the way the device drivers were re-installed during the SP1 update process, not with the drivers themselves--these drivers worked on Windows Vista RTM and they work on Windows Vista SP1," Microsoft VP Mike Nash said in a blog posting. "For new PCs with Windows Vista SP1 pre-installed, this is not an issue. We are working with the manufacturers of these devices to get the drivers and their install programs updated, and also working on other solutions we can use to ensure a smooth customer experience when updating to SP1 over Windows Update."