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Reader Feedback: Vista SP1 Sad Tales of Woe

Given this week's news that Symantec drivers and Vista Service Pack 1 are getting along about as well as Microsoft and the European Union, we thought we'd bring you readers' yarns of frustration and anger about SP1. (Yes, somebody out there is running Vista and trying to install this service pack. Hey, it came as a surprise to us, too.)

To the e-mails. Richard starts us off:

"The release candidate caused an entire system rebuild because the damage was so extensive and because it inactivated Vista and, without the physical media from Dell (except for the 'restore' disk), nothing could be done to reactivate it.

"While the released SP1 hasn't done that kind of damage, it also won't install. I've run it seven times now, with varying numbers of CHKDSK, SFC and memory validation (as prescribed in the 'failed' dialogs), all to no avail. I'm chalking it up to my system being a Vista Ultimate x64 unit (Dell Precision M90 laptop) and Microsoft STILL not getting it right for the x64 variant, but, I've got to tell you, this is getting very, very old..."

We hear you, Richard. At least you're not alone. Eric dropped an old-fashioned (and highly entertaining) rant on us:

"My wife recently got her laptop, and it came with 'only' Vista. We were getting BSD all the time, so I called Dell to enquire. They mentioned that SP1 for Vista should fix the problems.will have to see if it does.

"Here are my personal observations:

  1. Why is the service pack 430MB in size? That is not a service pack; that is a complete OS!
  2. Why does the file name of the service pack not even mention the word 'Vista'? If Vista was supposed to be called Windows 6, then why was it not called Windows 6?
  3. Upon my first attempt to install the SP, I got a message telling me that the software I am trying to install has not been digitally signed and might be unsafe. Cute one, Microsoft! Does that bullet in your foot hurt?
  4. My first attempt at the install failed, giving a Web site to access for more information. Of course, the URL was provided in the error message but was not a hyperlink. Why should it be? The URL, once typed in, provided six scenarios to apply the SP properly. Luckily, the first option actually worked.

"My wife is now the proud owner of a slow computer running Vista SP1. No BSD as of yet. Knock on wood..."

Knock on wood, indeed. High marks to you, Eric, for braving the SP install. Marsorry writes from Africa to say that he couldn't be more sorry (ahem) about installing Vista in the first place. SP1 isn't even part of the equation yet:

"We are running 10 percent of our desktops in production to see its effects. It hasn't been pretty, to say the least. We've been waiting for reviews to see whether the service pack was any good, and time will tell, I guess. We've worked hard at workarounds to get all our production apps working properly and toyed around with security for these few, but quite frankly, we're nervous whether this SP will 'stuff' up all that work again. Regardless, it's a step that has to be taken which should help us understand whether to go mainstream with it or downgrade the 10 percent and wait for the next one."

Microsoft might have a suggestion for you on that front, Marsorry, but you're not alone in contemplating whether "upgrading" to Vista is a good idea. Not by a long shot.

We're just starting to get e-mails about the great XP SP3 conspiracy so we'll run them next week. Add to the pile at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on March 27, 2008 at 11:54 AM