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Microsoft Releases Vista SP1 On Windows Update

After weeks of industry speculation over Vista service pack 1's public release, Microsoft made the long awaited update available to users through Windows Update.

For users who've chosen the automatic update option in Windows Update, SP1 will start downloading to PCs automatically beginning in mid-April, according to a Tuesday blog post by Windows Vista product manager Nick White. English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese are available now, with the additional 31 language versions due in mid-April.

White noted that users running previous test releases of Vista SP1 will need to uninstall them before being able to download the final code from Windows Update. Additionally, users whose machines have any of the problematic device drivers that caused Microsoft to delay Vista SP1's public release last month won't be able to download the service pack until an update has been installed, White said.

These include certain Intel display drivers and a Symantec software driver for Symantec Endpoint Protection and for Symantec Network Access Control clients, which Microsoft said Symantec is aware of and is in the process of updating.

Other problematic drivers include audio drivers from Realtek AC '97, SigmaTel, Creative Audigy, and Contexant HD Audio; biometric fingerprint sensors from AuthenTec and UPEK; and a Texas Instruments Smart Card Controller and Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 driver.

Although the news is a breath of fresh air for users who've been waiting diligently for Vista SP1, it wouldn't be a genuine Vista SP1 story without at least a little bit of Redmond-style subterfuge, and it's still unclear whether Vista SP1 will be available through the retail channel this week.

On Monday, Amazon.com listed all four versions of Vista with SP1 as being available Wednesday, March 19, and indicated customers could buy Vista and then upgrade to Vista SP1 when it was scheduled to be made available online today. However, as has been the case with just about every aspect of Vista SP1's slow march to public availability, Microsoft's official stance doesn't match the perceived reality of the situation.

A Microsoft spokesperson late Monday offered the following head-scratching explanation for the Amazon listing:

"The Windows Vista SP1 listing on Amazon.com is a pre-order listing for customers who want to purchase Windows Vista with SP1 to install on new PCs or to upgrade PCs running Windows XP," the spokesperson said in an email to Everything Channel.

"Some retailers are accepting pre-orders of Windows Vista with SP1 once it's available. As a result, when looking at Amazon's site, you will see separate listings -- one for pre-orders of Windows Vista with SP1 integrated, and the current version of Windows Vista, which does not include SP1, and can be purchased now and easily updated with SP1 online beginning March 18," the spokesperson said.

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