If You Think SP1 Fixed Windows Vista, Think Again

If you think that the first service pack for Windows Vista has managed to fix what was broken with the latest Windows client, think again. The same problems that were initially associated with the gold version of Vista have survived and moved on as the legacy of SP1. At the end of its first year of availability on the market, Vista had passed the 100 million sold license milestone, and according to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer, present at MIX08, the platform is the second most popular Windows operating system in the world, despite its long line of problems.

“I’m not saying that there aren’t things that customers choose to comment on. Come on, the number one issue we’ve had customers have issues on were application compatibility and driver compatibility. We made a very concrete set of choices in order to enhance the security, Vista is a very secure system. We’ve had very little issue of that kind. It’s the most secure client operating system out there. But we did have it we did make the choice to kind of hurt compatibility and our customers have let us know that that has been very painful,” Ballmer stated.

Still, the promise was that with Windows Vista SP1, Microsoft would soften all the rough edges of the operating system. But just like the gold version of Vista, the RTM build of Vista SP1 experienced integration issues with existent hardware drivers, a detail that led to the postponing of SP1’s general availability until mid-March.

“A couple of things have happened, a lot of the apps have now been upgraded to be compatible, and the drivers have been upgraded. We’ve shipped our first service pack, Service Pack 1, which allows us to factor in a lot of the quality and other suggestions that people have made, and I think we’re starting to see more uptake now in the business market, and Vista continues to sell quite strongly in the consumer market,” Ballmer added.

But not only is Vista SP1 not resolving the driver incompatibility issues of Vista, but it is introducing new ones. Microsoft warned on March 12, that in certain scenarios, following the deployment of Vista SP1, end users might experience sound problems.

The company enumerated the issues starting with the fact that: “no sound is produced when you play audio files or run programs that have an audio component. The speaker symbol next to the clock in the notification area may display the following message: ‘No Audio Output Device is installed.’ The Sound Controller in Device Manager displays a yellow exclamation point.”

The glitch is entirely the fault of Vista SP1. What the service pack does is to update system files upon installation and inbox device drivers are refreshed in an effort to evolve device reliability. This is done via the redeployment of device drivers at the very end of Vista SP1’s installation. But this specific step could fail and result in no new drivers being installed.

Microsoft advices end users to first restart the Windows Vista SP1 machine, then unplug and plug back in the speakers, as well as verifying the default output device. If these steps fail, then users should check to see if the audio device driver exists, and either perform an installation or an update.

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