Important: DO NOT INSTALL VISTA SP1
http://www.computerworld.com/action/art ... Id=9060998
Analysis: Driver problems still haunting Vista
Why Service Pack 1 isn't in your hands yet
By Eric Lai
February 5, 2008 When Steve Sinchak's new Intel network card became "really slow" after upgrading his Windows Vista PC with a pre-release version of Service Pack 1, he tried uninstalling its software driver and replacing it with a new one.
But to his dismay, the Chicago-area technology author and blogger found himself "stuck in a loop" during the InstallShield-managed process -- unable to replace his sluggish older driver with a new, peppier one.
"It's messed up to the point where I may have to use brute force to uninstall the driver, or wipe my hard drive and reinstall Windows Vista completely," he said.
Sinchak's is an example, admittedly an extreme one, of the driver
problems that forced Microsoft to take the unusual step of holding SP1's availability to users until March even while announcing its release to manufacturing (RTM) on Monday.
Not even the hundreds of thousands of people who have already been testing Vista SP1, nor the many Windows developers accustomed to being able to download software on Microsoft's MSDN or TechNet Web sites immediately after RTM, will be able to get SP1 for another 6-8 weeks.
And if you are one of the unlucky Vista users using a driver known to break and need reinstallation after the upgrade to SP1, Windows Update will quarantine you from getting SP1 until the driver is fixed.
"We want all of our customers to have the same good experience," said Microsoft senior product manager, David Zipkin, in an interview Monday. "That's why we're erring on the side of caution."
Cancel or allow or shut up already?
Service Pack 1 remains the milestone by which many companies and consumers judge when a Microsoft product is truly bug-free and mature enough to deploy. Any delay in SP1 could have an adverse effect on Vista uptake, which has been generally strong -- more than 100 million copies shipped -- despite a lukewarm market response.
Zipkin points out that most drivers, once re-installed after the SP1 upgrade, should work properly.
That was the experience of several Computerworld readers.
Zipkin blames hardware vendors for failing to strictly follow Redmond's instructions on how drivers should be installed.
"The issue is that the drivers were not written per the spec we have on MSDN to ensure successful updates," he said, a spec that "has been around since the XP days."
Zipkin declined to elaborate or comment on Sinchak's case. And neither Intel nor Macrovision Inc., maker of the InstallShield software, immediately responded to requests for comment.
But some experts think that the problem must be related to under-the-hood changes in Vista SP1, especially those concerning security and user privileges, which can directly affect how applications and drivers are installed.
"Microsoft looks like they are monkeying around with a lot of lower-level stuff," said Paul Morris, a project manager at QualityLogic Inc., a Moorpark, Calif. software and driver testing firm. "In my mind, you've got to treat SP1 as an entirely new OS."
Vista's overhauled security model had two major changes. First, local users who were formerly granted administrator access by default are granted standard access in Vista. Second, a new feature called User Account Control, or UAC, prompts users to verify whenever a new application or driver is about to be installed.
Both moves help to prevent viruses and malware from taking hold. But UAC has been criticized by some users for its overzealousness, though UAC pop-ups decrease dramatically after the first month, according to Redmond.