Having backported a number of key Windows 7 technologies, including DirectX 11 from Windows 7 to its predecessor, Microsoft is now offering users of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP2) a platform update supplement. The recently released Platform Update Supplement Beta for Windows Vista is obviously designed to catalyze the evolution of the Platform Update for Windows Vista. According to the Redmond company, the supplement is in Beta stage at this point in time, so end users should not install it yet, and leave the testing to early adopters familiar with running pre-release software.

“A beta release of the Platform Update Supplement for Windows Vista is available. This update provides fixes and improvements to graphics, media foundation and print functionality in Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2),” Microsoft stated.

Microsoft also enumerated the changes delivered by the Platform Update Supplement, including More »

Microsoft has made available for download a reliability refresh designed to resolve issues affecting Windows Vista, including platforms upgraded to Service Pack 2, in Bluetooth pairing scenarios. According to the Redmond company, Bluetooth pairing issues affect only Windows Vista, and not customers running Windows XP or the latest version of the Windows client, Windows 7. Customers can now grab an update from the Microsoft Download Center, set up to resolve reliability issues associated with Windows Portable Devices (WPD).

“You try to pair a Bluetooth device with a computer that is running Windows Vista. When you initiate Bluetooth pairing from the Bluetooth device, the Bluetooth services on the Bluetooth device are not enabled automatically. You have to manually enable the services,” the software giant explained. “This issue does not occur when you initiate Bluetooth pairing from the computer. In this situation, the Bluetooth device’s services are turned on automatically.”

Microsoft is offering the Vista SP2 Bluetooth pairing reliability update for both the 32-bit (x86) and the 64-bit (x64) versions of the operating system. “To apply this update, you must have hotfix 971514 installed on a computer that is running Windows Vista Service Pack 2,” the company informed. More »

Customers that have upgraded their Windows Vista Service Pack 1 computers to Service Pack 2 only to subsequently be plagued by frequent crashes can access a solution from Microsoft. The Redmond company notes that it is well aware of the issue. According to the software giant, some customers that made the jump from Vista SP1 to Vista SP2 have experienced repetitive crashes and have also come across the following stop error message “Stop 0x000000FE BUGCODE_USB_DRIVER”. Microsoft also mentions that the same problems affect customers that upgraded from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 SP2.

“After you upgrade from Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) to Windows Vista SP2 or from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 SP2, your computer crashes frequently and you receive the following stop error message: Stop 0x000000FE (parameter1, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4) BUGCODE_USB_DRIVER,” the company stated.

While an update is not available from Microsoft, nor likely, except with the release of Vista SP3, a hotfix can be grabbed from Microsoft Support. The software giant notes that the hotfix is the same as a resolve designed to take care of another problem impacting Vista and Windows Server 2008. However, in the specific case of Vista SP1 to SP2 upgrades, the issue “usually occurs on computers that have NVIDIA chipsets. More »

The July 2009 Security Release ISO Image is now available for download from Microsoft, having been offered concomitantly with the company’s monthly patch cycle releases. In addition to serving each month’s security bulletins through Windows Update, the software giant is also packaging the patches aimed for the supported Windows client and server operating system as an ISO image. In this context, customers can now access Windows-related security updates, including for Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and Windows XP SP3 that went live on July 14, 2009, through the DVD5 ISO image package.

“This month we are releasing six bulletins. Three of those affect Windows and are rated Critical. All three of those also have an Exploitability Index rating of ‘1’ which means that we believe that consistent exploit code in the wild is highly likely within the first 30 days,” revealed Jerry Bryant, Microsoft security program manager. “The remaining three bulletins are all rated Important and affect Microsoft Office Publisher, Microsoft ISA Server, and both Virtual PC and Virtual Server. The first two also have Exploitability Index ratings of ‘1’ so please consider this while doing your risk assessment. In total, we are addressing nine vulnerabilities this month.” More »

Microsoft is making it easy for users running Windows Vista Service Pack 2, but also SP1, to resolve sound problems affecting the operating system after the deployment of a service pack. In this manner, the Redmond company is acknowledging that Vista users can run into issues related to sound once they upgrade their platform either to SP1 or to SP2. Fortunately enough, the software giant provides users with an automated solution for eventual sound problems via KB948481. Microsoft is essentially providing a Fix It button and associated solution that will help users troubleshoot any sound issues introduced with the installation of a new service pack.

“After you install a Windows Vista service pack, you may experience one or more of the following problems with sound: 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 sound quality changes. For example, if you previously had surround sound, you may now have stereo sound,” Microsoft explained. More »