Windows Vista SP1 RTMs, with a Catch

Issues still exist with a small set of drivers, which need to be reinstalled after SP1 is loaded onto a machine.

Microsoft released the final code for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 to manufacturing Feb. 4, and the final product will be made available to its volume licensing customers in March.

But if users want to install it, there is a catch: there are still issues with a small set of drivers, which need to be reinstalled once SP1 is loaded onto their machine.

So, while SP1 will be available via Windows Update from mid-March, if the update system determines that the machine has one of the drivers Microsoft knows to be problematic, then Windows Update will not offer SP1.

"But, as some customers may want to update to SP1 anyhow, the download center will allow anyone who wants to install SP1 to do so from mid-March," Mike Nash, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Windows product management, said in a post to the Vista team blog.

Those customers who have opted to have their updates delivered automatically will get SP1 that way starting in mid-April. But, again, any system that Windows Update determines has a driver known to not update successfully will not get SP1 automatically.

"As updates for these drivers become available, they will be installed automatically by Windows Update, which will then allow SP1 to be installed," Nash said.

The RTM of Vista comes on the same day as Microsoft released Windows Server 2008 to manufacturing, and volume licensing customers with Software Assurance coverage or an Enterprise Agreement will be able to download the server software toward the end of February as part of the joint Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 "Heroes Happen Here" launch event.

Vista SP1, which will initially be released in five languages-English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese-addresses many of the key issues that users have identified over the past year.