While Service Pack 1 for Windows is right on track for delivery by the end of March 2011, Microsoft is continuously kicking the operating system up a notch.

An illustrative example in this regard is KB 2454826, an update designed to boost the performance of Windows 7’s underlying graphics platform.

According to the Redmond company, in addition to speeding up the UX, the refresh is also designed to touch up the functionality associated with the graphics platform.

The software giant also revealed that enhancements have also been delivered in relation to XPS printing and the Media Foundation.

“This update contains the following new functionality, performance improvements, and solutions to issues: More »

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is quite close to being released to manufacturing, reportedly. This piece of information comes from a third-party source, and was not confirmed by Microsoft in any way.

In fact, while it’s not 100% certain, it appears that Windows 7 SP1 could have already hit the RTM development milestone.

The Redmond company has been extremely quiet on the progress of the Windows 7 SP1 development process, and the evolution from Release Candidate to RTM makes no exception to this rule.

And while there were voices claiming that Windows 7 SP1 would RTM ahead of the end of 2010, the software giant was immovable when it came to refusing to share a timetable with the public. More »

This is why the operating system received an update set up to ensure that there are no issues in Windows 7 RTM that could prevent the integration of SP1 or additional updates from the Redmond company.

A new release of the System Update Readiness Tool went live this week, and is currently available to customers either through Windows Update or as a standalone download via the Microsoft Download Center.

“This tool is being offered because an inconsistency was found in the Windows servicing store which may prevent the successful installation of future updates, service packs, and software. This tool checks your computer for such inconsistencies and tries to resolve issues if found,” Microsoft stated. More »

Both the 32-bit and the 64-bit flavors of a post-Beta Build of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) have now been leaked in the wild.

It all started at the beginning of October 2010 when the first report of Windows 7 SP1 Build 7601.17104 was published.

At that time, a third-party source was claiming that Microsoft was very close to wrapping up the first Release Candidate development milestone of Windows 7 SP1.

In this regard, Build 7601.17104 is reportedly the RC-Escrow which means that the software giant is indeed close to moving beyond the Beta, and that it is simply making sure that the Build which will be offered as RC meets quality standards and does not include regression issues.

Last week, the 32-bit version of Windows 7 SP1 pre-RC Build 7601.17104 was leaked and made available for download in the wild through torrent trackers. More »

Microsoft is helping Windows 7 customers deal with poor startup performance in the context in which they have at least one external SATA port that is not used.

The Redmond company has confirmed an issue related to the latest iteration of the Windows client, in which customers can experience sluggish boot times on computers that have an unused external SATA port.

And while the software giant is not offering affected users an update to resolve the issue, it is providing them with a hotfix which can be downloaded from Microsoft Support.

“You experience a long startup time on a Windows 7-based computer that has an unused external SATA port,” reads Microsoft’s description of the problem.

For those not familiar with SATA, the acronym stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, and is essentially a consumer mass storage interconnect designed for the ATA command protocol. More »