I got your back – Windows Vista SP1 coming sooner than you think

It goes without saying that there has been a considerable amount of feedback around our release schedule for Windows Vista SP1.  Don't think for a second that because I'm silent about such issues on my blog, that I am not working our internal communication channels to be your advocate.

Being an advocate means I get an opportunity to assess the situation with my "customer base", which is now world wide, and offer my opinion on what we should or should not do.  I've done that in the past and will do it in the future.  It doesn't mean I'll get what I want, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

vista_wallpaper However, I support our product groups and senior leadership decisions.  If Microsoft chooses not to release some software when you think it should be released, we usually have a darn good reason for the decision.  I am not privy to all of the details of those decisions so when I offer an opinion back to our senior leadership, I can't get away with the type of comments I've seen posted on a variety of blogs and websites this week.  I have to be a lot more diplomatic.  Diplomatic doesn't mean I can't be direct, and I'm known for being direct. 

The good news is that there are some changes coming to the release schedule I think you will like.  Keep an eye on the Windows Vista Product Group Blog @ http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2008/02/11/windows-vista-sp1-availability-for-technical-customers.aspx for the update.

You should know that I, and members of my team take IT Pro satisfaction and dissatisfaction seriously.  My team no longer just includes the US IT Pro Evangelists.  I consider the IT Pro Evangelists world wide to be part of my team and I assure you, there is plenty of discussion around what happened this week.  The release schedule was only part of the discussion.

Suffice it to say I listen.  So do my peers.  You may not always know we have your back, but we do.  We try really hard to keep you informed, educated, entertained and happy.  It doesn't always work out that way, but we try.  So if you're so inclined, give us an F on our report card for the week or month.  We'll try hard to get an A+ next time.

With that in mind, come see us at the launch events.  We'll have some fun.

[UPDATE for 2/9]  I thought Mike and the Windows team were going to provide an update yesterday.  Obviously they didn't.  Maybe we'll get one Sunday or Monday.  Got a crystal ball?

[UPDATE for 2/11]  Mike's update is now at the link above. 

Comments (39)

  1. boe says:


    I’ve tried every patch, and SP for Vista and believe it cannot be fixed.   It is like a house infested from basement to attic with mold – it would be far better to burn it to the ground and start again – frankly I have no idea how it went through 5 years of testing without anyone noticing how incredibly slow file transfers, copies, moves, network throughput, network access, and gaming performance is.   The benchmarks already posted about the final SP show some mild improvement in a couple of areas but no real FIX.  

    With all the new hardware that has been released since XP came out – I would think MS would be thinking – how can we make Vista perform even faster than XP with 64 bit, core 2 processors, 2 GIGs, gigabit nics, etc.   Instead they said if you have a Core2 processor, 2 GIgs of memory etc you can make Vista run as fast as XP on a P4, with 1 GIG of memory and a 10 Mbit nic.   I think if the developers were actually skilled they’d make Vista outperform XP on a P4, and blow the doors off XP on a Core 2 processor.

    I’d like MS to do what most IT professionals have done and give up on Vista and concentrate on Windows 7.   Sure MS had the opportunity to realize how important performance is to businesses and make that the focus of Windows 7.  

    On the plus side MS did stimulate the economy for IT consultants as many are making a pretty penny upgrading PCs from Vista to XP.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Keith Combs' Blahg : I got your back – Windows Vista SP1 coming sooner than you think: http://blogs

  3. Thank you, but... says:

    It’s too late. People are already upset and anyone can download it from the torrents. Might as well save you effort as the damage is done. It’s been a week. The process is just too slow at Microsoft.

    Thank you for helping, but the people above you are apparently jsut too incompetent to understand what developers really are.

  4. DarrenD says:


    Thank you for posting this. Did you realize that the press received copies of SP1? In fact, George Ou from Ziff Davis actually posted pictures of the DVD’s sent by Microsoft for their testing. I’m not sure I understand why it’s good enough for the press to report on it using their hardware knowing that their will be bad driver experiences (and there are already a number of articles describing SP1 as benckmarking slower in a number of areas than the original Vista). That’s what is really irking me at the moment. It also seems like this is the last people you would want to send the code to at this point wince they are reviewing the code with the known problems with Microsfot’s blessing to do so and tell this to the world.

    Well, I do have another question. Does this mean there will be two versions of the same service pack after the driver issues have been worked out? If so, I’m not understanding what "Release to Manufacturing" means. Will we have .1 releases for service packs now? Not trying to be funny. Seriously trying to sort this out and understand what is going on.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Keith Combs' Blahg : I got your back – Windows Vista SP1 coming sooner than you think: http://blogs

  6. z3r010 says:

    The sooner this is released the better, my members seem to be downloading builds from anyware in the hope of finding the RTM build.

  7. sam says:

    great news, thank god MS finally listened to us, cant believe you guys only just revealed the final build number in your blogs 1-2days ago, you should give the build number and md5 hash once you rtm a product as we all know releases will be leaked to torrents, no point having mass confusion and people possibly installing old builds or even viruses. Even though you dont support torrents you should still try to protect users.

    Please give us build numbers and strings and md5 hashes in the future for other software releases.


  8. Keith Combs says:

    When you download from a torrent, how do you know what you are getting?  That seems scary to me.

    When a product is posted to the technet.microsoft.com subscriber download center, a SHA-1 hash is provided for the .ISO image.

    Personally I would prefer to see the .ISO chopped up into 100meg chunks using something like WINRAR.  Then it makes a download much easier with a multi threaded copy or file transfer program.

    Boe, in my case, I’ve seen more than just mild improvements.  Back on 1/27/2008 I posted that I was seeing more than a 50% improvement in copy performance.  I guess I need to get out my stopwatch and do some big honking copies.  I still have some machines on the RTM bits and won’t be upgrading them until the WU client offers it.

    I wish I still had my old Compaq Evo n620c so I could gage the performance improvements on a clunker like it.  It’s harder now because all of the machines I have (except my duaghters) are pretty new.

  9. sam says:

    btw, will ms be updating the AIK so that we can slipstream sp1 as currently you cant and only people with technet/msdn etc can download the sp1 integrated iso, its inefficient have to format, put vista on then put sp1 on, especially with several computers every 3 months or so.

    as for torrent sites you can download from private torrent sites which dont host fakes or viruses, just torrents from the scene, but yeah obv not advised. But i really want to have a sp1 integrated iso to burn, will prob have to download 1 from a torrent site that a tester leaked as MS seems to have dropped this to meet their arbitrary deadlines:((

    People would rather wait than to have a non-complete release, just look at Vista RTM! most ppl wont touch it until sp1 is out.

    hope you can reply about the integration.

    thanks for your time!

  10. Can't roll out Vista says:

    There are a number of scenarios especially around the Health Care and Government spaces. The bugs with Vista will eventually be fixed, but the ROI just isn’t there either. That is what is killing Vista right now for at least my sales.

    The problem is, XP is working great for the majority of them. Telling customer Vista fixes all sorts of security issues usually gets a response such as the following, "We  have tools such as Norton that already works." We tell them about better policies and such and their response generally is, "Yes, but our policies are already good enough for what we do. Besides, we’d have to turn off UAC anyway due to complaints. People don’t like it at home, they aren’t going to like it here either. That’s the reality."

    So, the real question is what exactly do at this point? $2-400 per machine for Vista to gain what? It’s like Vista is a great technology in search of a solution. The whole Vista sales team (and not to knock Mr. Nash, but he’s doing a terrible job at the moment) process is not delivering that ROI.

    Now with all that mess going on, we find ourselves in the midst of another bruhaha regarding yet another Vista debacle (Vista is now the Brittany Spears of the computer world).

    We find out that the beta testers all have it, the media has it, the pirate bay has it, uTorrent has it. It’s available in every language in both 32 and 64-bit flavors. You want it fully integrated or a separate install? Yep, Google has 3000+ hits for that too. Everyone but us.

    I’m sorry, exactly what is Mr. Nash’s explanation at this point when faced with this evidence? Sorry as well, but I disagree with your point wholeheartedly. Simply, there is not a darn good reason for this.

  11. MSDN Premium Subscriber says:


    I understand the position you are in, having to answer to management decisions and not being privy to upper-management’s reasoning for such decisions.  Its unfortunate for front line guys like you who work with your Partners that you have to bear the brunt of this debacle.  

    Upper management is broken.  Decisions like this are one of many broken decisions that upper management has made over the years.  Decisions that defy common sense, logic, and reasoning.

    I know that you need to be diplomatic when dealing with your boss and boss’s boss.  However this inbreeding of stuffed-shirt management at Microsoft is poisoning the company and devalues the hard work that guys like you do in order to deliver a good product to your paying customers.  

    This is hardly the forum for a referendum on boneheaded decisions Microsoft has made in the past 10 years, but it makes me wonder what Bill Gates would say to his senior management in light of the uproar that has come about with this debacle.   How many would still have jobs today?    

    Believe me, I understand your position.  This failure to comprehend the real world implications of arbitrary "Senior Management" decisions is exactly the point of the uproar.  Gates had vision of things, but he also knew that his paying customers were what turned him into one of the richest men in the world.  Does Ballmer get that?   I don’t think so.  I don’t have confidence that he even comprehends what he says.  "Developers, I love those guys!"  … Really?  If Ballmer really feels that way he should put his boot right in the rear-end of all the "Senior Management" behind this.  If he doesn’t, perhaps its time for a regime change at the top of Microsoft.

    Good luck fighting the system, you’re going to need it.

  12. tinman says:


    Hey, that’s a great idea! Let’s all make a better OS! It should be faster and have more features! How come I never thought of that?

  13. mike says:

    Keith, I hope that Microsoft will also be providing assistance and/or utilities to help beta testers uninstall the release candidate versions of SP1 they have been testing. The one on my laptop refuses to go !

  14. boe says:

    Thanks for the response – however as you said – you saw a 50% increase in performance in some cases – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – in elementary school you learn 2 x 0 = 0   You can make Vista 4 times as fast in certain functions and it still won’t compete with XP.

    If you are serious about benchmarks, I’d suggest you do what I did –

    Using identical machines try the following with any version of Vista with any patches – even with any items you want on or off.  Now with XP – don’t even bother to patch it if you don’t want to but make sure it doesn’t have any additional overhead you don’t have on the Vista machine – e.g. if you don’t have AV or firewall on Vista – turn them off on XP just to be somewhat fair.   Don’t turn on indexing – if you do – just to be fair don’t use WINS3 – use google or a better indexing program.

    File copies and moves to the same hard drive

    – a folder with hundreds of files

    – a large file 2GIG or more

    File copies and moves to another drive on the same system

    – a folder with hundreds of files

    – a large file 2GIG or more

    File copies and moves to the file server (windows 2003) – try in both directions

    – a folder with hundreds of files

    – a large file 2GIG or more

    Gaming performance – use 3 of the most common and check FPS

    Quake 4

    FEAR – any version

    World of Warcraft

    I encourage you to run these tests both on an old system (P4) and a new system (core 2)

    Perhaps you’ll become our voice at MS and encourage them to throw in the towel on Vista and hopefully learn from their mistakes when building Windows 7

  15. Boe says:

    I want to state while I’m seriously unimpressed with Vista, I haven’t given up on MS yet.  I think that they’ll have little choice but to realize that Vista was not accepted by the IT community because of the horrible performance both on new and old equipment.   I believe if there are any bright people at MS, they will focus on performance in Windows 7 above all other things.

  16. Keith Combs says:

    Boe, as much as I’d like to run a set of benchmarks, I really don’t have time right now.  We have an approaching launch of Windows Server 2008 and that’s really where I’m focused right now.  I do however look forward to the benchmarks from the websites and orgs you folks trust.  Let the chips fall where they may.

    Mike, testing betas from any company is a crap shoot.  Whenever any OS I am testing goes gold, I always install the released bits from scratch.  I have been doing that for decades.

    Regarding the performance of Windows Vista versus Windows XP, I think it really depends on the point of reference.  For instance, I was never really happy with the performance of Vista on my Dell Latitude D820.  The one I have is an early version of that model so it doesn’t have a Core 2 Duo, it has a NVIDIA NVS 120m video card, etc.  In short, it is designed for Windows XP and runs that well.  

    However, my Dell XPS 420 runs Windows Vista like an utter dream.  It records high definition video and does everything I want without blinking an eye.  It’s still on the RTM x64 bits so I look forward to an incremental improvement from SP1.  

    My ThinkPad T61p also runs Vista x64 extremely well.  I actually have two.  Both have identical configurations hardware wise. The personal machine is Vista Ult x64 RTM.  The work machine is Vista Ult x64 SP1.  Can I tell a huge difference in performance?  Not all of the time, but frankly there doesn’t need to be a huge difference.  They both smoke.

    Eventually I put the stopwatch on some copies to do some benchmarks for myself, but frankly the best benchmarks will come from compares of Server 2003 and 2008 backends with Vista RTM and SP1 clients.  For those benchmarks to be good, they are going to need to pay attention to congestion control and other conditions to see if what has been engineered into SP1 is really worked as advertised, by us.

    If it isn’t I’m sure we’ll hear about it.

    By the way, look for Matt Hester and me at the Windows Server 2008 launch events.  I will be filming comments so plan on signing a waiver.  I am looking for clear insight on what you want from an OS (client or server) that you aren’t getting from Microsoft, Apple, Novell, Sun, and other suppliers.  I’d also like to hear success stories on what you are doing with our products.  I am very interesting in heterogeneous environments of Windows Server and Mac or Linux clients.  

    I’ll let you know soon what cities I plan to go to.  

  17. Mike Sims says:

    Keith, I’m with you on this one. Vista 64 on the right hardware flat out screams. I don’t think people realize that software progress in terms of commercial value requires a financial commitment on the hardware. Vista has so many nice new features coupled with rock solid security and amazing application stability – i’ve not seen anything like it before. I have to give Microsoft credit for releasing an operating system that is apparently too advanced for the average I.T. user. Maybe they’re all getting to old … 😉

    If I were to ask for anything in a Microsoft OS, it would be easier navigation. Apple has it down and there would be no shame in designing similar navigation features into Windows.


  18. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft Releases Windows Vista Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2008 to Manufacturing – Client and server

  19. Concerned says:

    "For those benchmarks to be good, they are going to need to pay attention to congestion control and other conditions to see if what has been engineered into SP1 is really worked as advertised, by us…If it isn’t I’m sure we’ll hear about it."


    Two comments. First, Vista may scream on your new hardware, but just for kicks you should try to load XP on another partition. I, for one, thought Vista performed phenomenally on my Centrino Duo laptop with 2GB. That is, until I loaded XP on to perform some Exchange 2007 testing (Vista 64 won’t work with some of the Exchange toolsets). Oh my. The laptop just went into overdrive. Windows open with mere blinks. It’s at least a 50-100% improvement in speed running XP versus Vista, even on higher-end hardware. It’s really just a perception that Vista is faster because the hardware is faster. I’m convinced that XP running on identical hardware is much faster than Vista is and this is coming from someone who, over the past year, thought everyone else was nuts.

    Second, we’re already hearing about performance problems. Just scan computerworld, pcworld, and zdnn if you want. About half the reviews are positive, but about half the reviews are also mixed or negative.

    I look forward to meeting you at future events, but really, you shouldn’t try to defend the actions of upper management. I’ve tried for the past year and loading XP on my machine really opened my eyes to what is going on. The negative comments really do have some legitimacy.


  20. oh, please... says:

    The title should be "Windows Vista SP1 coming sooner than you think", not "sooner than you think".

    No, i don’t have a crystal ball, only a couple of hundred dollars that may well be spent elsewhere. Get it?

  21. Keith Combs says:

    Man, why all the hate?  

  22. Waiting For Vista SP1 (Still) says:

    MSDN Subscriber Downloads Update …

    These new things were posted yesterday:

    Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems (ia64) – DVD (English) English 2/10/2008 1:16:58 AM

    Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems (ia64) – DVD (German) German 2/10/2008 1:16:58 AM

    Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems (ia64) – DVD (French) French 2/10/2008 1:16:58 AM

    Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems (ia64) – DVD (Japanese)

    Still no Vista SP1.  I’m sure all 6 people that use Itanium processors are happy to see the Windows Server 2008 Itanium version posted!

  23. Keith Combs says:

    Well, you’ll have to wait a little longer.

  24. shollomon says:

    I’m not believing there are darn good reasons for holding back the release, if there were darn good reasons your senior management would share them with you and you’d be free to share them with us.  That’s how darn good reasons work, they’re transparent to just about everyone and once they know them just about everyone says."Hey, that’s a darn good reason."

    Secret darn good reasons are usually bad reasons or no reasons at all and are kept secret because they will not stand the light of day.

    I believe there may be reasons why some big OEM’s with which you wish to maintain good relations want the release delayed.  I do not believe there are any reasons the majority of your customers would believe is a good reason to withhold the release.

    So it comes down to this, you guys are screwing the installed base so some of your OEM partners can look better.  If it ain’t so, then come clean about the real reasons.

  25. Keith Combs says:


    This is not for me to decide.  Please provide your feedback to the Windows team on the post at http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2008/02/11/windows-vista-sp1-availability-for-technical-customers.aspx.

    I have no more knowledge about the situation than you do at this point so anything I say would be pure speculation.  

    But you bring up a good point so the best place for the feedback in on the product group blog.

    Best regards,


  26. boe says:


    I sent feedback with 3 or four benchmarks for Vista vs. XP – are links not allowed on this blog?

  27. Censored... says:

    Interesting. It appears the official Vista blog is being censored and a number of comments have disappeared.

    For example, I remember one stating that Mike Nash was doing a bad job. That comment has now disappeared altogether. In fact, searching for "Nash" on the entire page reveals that all trace of anyone mentioning his name in the comments has been removed. I distinctly remember many comments with his name mentioned.

    If you search the google cache you will see, indeed, that they are now gone from a few days ago. Thanks to Google we can see the deception that is already starting to occur. Wonder how long it will take for the press to pick up on this.

  28. shollomon says:

    Thanks for your kind response.  I have posted to the product group blog as well.  I know you’re just the messenger in this case.

  29. AndyS. says:

    I was going to post something, but after reading sholloman’s post, I think that kind of summarizes it.

    What are these darn good reasons and why can nobody explain them to anyone? Why have these rogue developers not been outed? Why should all the other developers suffer due to a few bad apples? Why is Microosft protecting them?



    Well, Keith, thank you for addressing this. I understand it’s not quite in your arena, but we’re all feeling abandoned to strange and arbitrary decisions and we’d love to understand exactly what the situation is with Vista if anyone could explain this in a way that isn’t as vague and as obtuse as possible. RTM is just that. RTM. Apparently Mike Nash doesn’t understand what RTM really means or something, because stepping back and looking at this, um, Vista SP1 isn’t RTM. If it is, then what exactly is the new RTM acronym for Vista? Will it be the same for all Microsoft applications now? They’ll all declare themselves RTM and then wait another 6 weeks to put out the RTM.01 versions?


  30. Keith Combs says:

    Regarding links on my blog, I don’t believe the Community Server blog software is stripping any links from comments.  I do not edit comments.  I either publish them or delete them.  I delete obvious spam.  I also delete troll comments.  Since I moderate all comments, I may decide to delete comments that are just so terse I find them offensive.  That’s exceedingly rare but it happens.  It’s my blog so I get to decide what I want to publish.  

    As you can see from the comments here, I let pretty much everything flow on through although I would appreciate it if everyone could keep things civil.  Flaming me does absolutely no good.  I understand you aren’t happy.  Me either.


  31. Anonymous says:

    I won’t get into this whole SP1 mine field as I think there has been enough back and forth on the blogs. 

  32. Anonymous says:

    It’s no use trying to pretend otherwise, we didn’t do a great job on making Vista SP1 available. Some

  33. boe says:

    In case anyone would like to see some updated bencharks with the final release of SP1 –


  34. Ignored. says:

    Here we sit. Ignored still by Microsoft. Not a single explanation from anyone as to why this happened, nor a solution to the endless rebooting problem we’re all dealing with now.

    We MSDN users are treated like complete idiots. Who exactly has our back here? Nobody on the Vista team, that’s for sure.

    FIX THE PROBLEMS and COMMUNICATE. Microsoft is doing neither quite spectacularly at the moment. Frankly, I’ll NEVER trust Microsoft again. Ever. And that’s coming from a person who’s bought their bread and butter from MS consulting for over 10 years.

  35. Chirp says:

    Chirp Chirp Chirp.

    Keith, you are all talk and no action. Next time don’t embarass yourself and post something that say "I’ve got your back" if you refuse to answer any meaningful question or do anything to help. This Service Pack 1 mess is so staggeringly incompetent and then on top of it all to have practically ZERO communication on your part back to us that I can’t trust ANYTHING you say anymore. That’s NOT having our back. That’s STABBING us in the back.

    Keith Comb’s Blahg: Nobody has your back at Microsoft.

  36. Keith Combs says:


    I haven’t responded because I have been busy and there have been no updates for me to give you.  I’m not really sure why you are responding to me in this manner.

    I have no control over what the Windows product group does.  Isn’t that obvious?  The Windows product group has a game plan they are executing.  When their plan upsets me or you, I let them know about it.  That’s what I meant by "I have your back".  I can be a conduit for your concerns and hopefully drive change.

    Sorry you didn’t get what you want but it isn’t clear to me what that is.  Feel free to send me email and articulate your concerns.  I’m not really interested in terse anonymous comments.  

    Email me via http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/contact.aspx and I’ll be happy to open a more constructive dialog directly with you.

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