Microsoft Partners: We Want Vista SP1 Now

During beta testing, Microsoft says it discovered device driver glitches in systems with Vista SP1 installed, which reportedly have to do with audio drivers, graphics drivers, and network drivers being disabled after installing Vista SP1. Although the issues can be fixed by uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers -- a relatively simple task for most IT professionals -- Microsoft decided not to release Vista SP1 while it spends the next six weeks ironing out the problems in conjunction with its hardware partners.

Several posters on the Windows Vista Team blog have been voicing their frustrations and demanding to know why Microsoft chose not to allow them to download Vista SP1 from its Download center, TechNet, or MSDN Websites.

"I can understand and even support not releasing it immediately to Windows Update to give IT folks and developers a head start, but [don't understand] not releasing it to the download center, MSDN, and TechNet," wrote a poster who goes by the name 'daedalus.'

"As an IT professional, I am disappointed that Microsoft does not see the benefit in releasing [Vista SP1] as a download for IT professionals. Although six weeks is not long, it could be [a] very valuable time to test SP1 in one's business environment," wrote poster 'rmwestbrook'.

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Andy Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder, told ChannelWeb his firm would also have appreciated the opportunity to use this time to test the SP1 RTM.

"While Vista sales have been extremely slow for us, the last thing we would want is to have a much anticipated service pack in the hands of our customers prior to being tested and evaluated by our engineers on our systems," said Kretzer.

Susan Bradley, a Microsoft Small Business Specialist partner in Fresno, Calif., believes Microsoft is making an error in judgment by not allowing testers to download Vista SP1. "What will end up happening is that SP1 will end up on BitTorrent somewhere, thus reinforcing that piracy appears to the the way to go," Bradley said.

In a Wednesday comment on the Windows Vista team blog, Nick White, a product manager with the Vista team, told disgruntled posters he plans to relay their concerns to the Vista SP1 Release team.

"I for one understand where you're coming from and am making that case accordingly; if anything changes, we'll announce it here on the blog," White wrote.

However, a Microsoft spokesperson wouldn't comment on whether Microsoft may be reviewing its plans for releasing Vista SP1.

Vista SP1 remains on track for a mid-March release through Windows Update and Microsoft's Download Center, and systems containing drivers that are known to interfere with installations of Vista SP1 won't be able to download the update, according to the spokesperson.