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Vista Fixes: Sealing Off the Leaks

Almost as soon as the first entry in yesterday's RCPU about mysteriously disappearing Vista fixes went out, we had an e-mail from Stuart (although not the Stuart whose e-mail appeared yesterday):

"Get your facts straight, Lee. The fixes you describe are certainly NOT the bulk of what will be available in SP1 and as of today, 8/1, they're still available to Connect subscribers."

First off, fair cop on the "bulk of SP1" statement. You've got us bang-to-rights there, guv'nah. Whoa...sorry, we've been watching too much British comedy lately. Let's try that again: Fair enough with the "bulk" statement. You've caught us a bit red-faced there. We don't know exactly what will be in SP1 -- whether these fixes will be a part of it or whether they might constitute the "bulk" or just a little part (if any at all) of the service pack. We suspect, as many others do, that the fixes were an SP1 preview -- or maybe just most of SP1 -- but we don't know for sure. (Another rumor is that these fixes will come out on Aug. 14, Patch Tuesday, which would presumably mean that they're not part of SP1 at all.) So, we were wrong -- or at least possibly wrong -- to say that "Microsoft at some point posted the bulk of SP1 online." We will be more careful next time.

Beyond that, Stuart, our e-mailer, who is a member of the Vista/Windows Server 2008 Technology Adoption Program (TAP) and who was invited by Microsoft to test the fixes, tells us that he downloaded them again on Aug. 1 (yesterday, by the time you read this), after they supposedly disappeared. Well, apparently, they didn't disappear, exactly -- they just left the public domain. Evidently, Microsoft has simply repaired the leaks of these fixes that appeared on several message boards and once again made them accessible only to the invited members of the TAP who were supposed to have them in the first place. That's why, for instance, we -- and by "we," we actually mean more than one person -- can't get to them when we log into Connect. The rest of us will just have to wait or see if we can ferret them out on some rogue message board -- if we're so inclined, which we here at RCPU are not.

All of this is probably much ado about nothing, then, as old Bill (Shakespeare, not Gates) might have said. That's especially true since these fixes are for Vista, the OS that hasn't exactly set the world on fire in terms of adoption, anyway. Still, we maintain that Microsoft, rather than spending its time chasing down leaks and trying to hush Vista SP1 rumors, could be a little more forthcoming about its release schedules and maybe even a little better organized.

For their part, Microsoft officials responded to us by saying that there's no fire to accompany the smoke in the press: "There were two Windows Vista updates released last week, and Microsoft has confirmed that they are on the site, so I'm not sure why folks thought they were removed," a spokesperson e-mailed us.

Well, then! Apparently they weren't removed from the Connect site, just from some message boards -- as we figured. On top of that, we got a further, if a bit canned, statement about SP1:

"There will be a Windows Vista service pack and our current expectation is that a beta will be made available some time this year. Service packs are part of the traditional software lifecycle -- they're something we do for all Microsoft products as part of our commitment to continuous improvement, and providing early test builds is a standard practice that helps us incorporate customer feedback and improve the overall quality of the product.

"Service packs are just one example of the work we do to constantly improve the Windows experience. We also deliver improvements to Windows via Windows Update, which is an excellent channel for providing our customers with the most significant updates as they happen. And, since Windows Vista launched, we have continued working with partners to improve overall device coverage and application compatibility. There are now more than 2.1 million supported devices and more than 2,000 logoed applications for Windows Vista. We think customers will have a great experience using Windows Vista today."

Folks in Redmond might not want to be so confident about that last line. As promised, let's have some more complaints about Vista:

Von is regretting his migration:

"I was in the market for a new computer right about the time Vista was coming out. I decided to wait and get a Vista system instead of buying one with XP. You know -- new technology vs. old technology; go with the latest instead of being 'behind the times.'

"I'm regretting that decision now. Vista is just too quirky, and I don't see any huge benefit to it over XP to warrant overlooking the 'quirkiness.' I wish now I had gone with XP and waited for Windows 7 or at least until I 'had' to give up XP and go with a Vista OS that was several years old (several years tested and patched)."

Christine is also suffering:

"As a software developer, I was forced to get a machine with Vista on it. I keep it turned off as much as possible. Invariably, Windows Sidebar crashes. Windows Firewall is constantly changing my settings because of some unknown infraction. All sorts of other annoying messages keep popping up, telling me to enable this or disable that. This operating system is intent on badgering me! I can't get anything done because of all of these pop-ups.

"In its ever-eager attempt to out-think me, Microsoft has at last successfully stopped me from working the way I want. I now understand how all the non-computer geeks feel. This Windows stuff IS a nightmare. Microsoft tries to do too much in too many odd ways at too many odd times. I still despise Apple more, but I'm sticking with XP until MS slams that door, too."

And Paul says that Vista has led to some conflict at his firm (and others):

"Let me just say that Vista and Outlook 2007 have both been a very, very large disappointments for our company and our clients. Very bad blood has been spilled over both. We went (b)leading-edge and implemented Exchange 2007 at one of our clients' locations, and to say it was a nightmare would be putting it lightly! This latest set of releases from Microsoft in general has been lacking."

Apparently so. We have lots of other (negative) Vista e-mails that we haven't had room to run. They're very good, and we'll try to get to them in time. Thanks to Stuart for keeping us honest and to everybody who has taken the time to write. Keep the e-mails coming to [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on August 02, 2007