Blogger posts Windows Vista SP1 fixes on Web site

Hotfix.net owner says he's got the inside line on 100+ patches

The owner of a blog dedicated to software patches has posted online more than 100 fixes he said are expected to be included in Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), Microsoft's first major update to its latest Windows client operating system.

Ethan Allen, owner of The Hotfix blog and Web site, has posted a preview and information center for SP1, a site that includes many of the software patches Microsoft will include in the package, he said.

Allen, a software quality assurance manager, said he received the fixes from someone close to Microsoft who has access to the technology.

Sources close to Microsoft confirmed Monday that it is currently testing SP1. However, the company itself officially has yet to announce a definite date for the software pack's release other than saying it will be out in the second half of 2007 close to the next release of Windows Server, code-named Longhorn. Microsoft also has been mum about specific details on what fixes will be included in the update.

According to Allen, SP1 will include device driver and software compatibility technology that many users had hoped would be available in the operating system from the start. Among them will be support for third-party USB and Firewire devices such as digital cameras, in particular products from Sony Corp. that have been having compatibility problems with Vista, Allen said.

Also, there will be patches to improve the TV playback and other media center capabilities in Vista, as well as to repair inconsistencies with the power management functions such as sleep and hibernation modes, he said.

What will be noticeably missing from the service pack, however, will be updates to Vista security, Allen said. "What's most surprising is there are hardly any security fixes at all," he said, adding that Vista is already more secure than any previous version of Windows.

A complete listing of patches that should be included in SP1 can be found on the Vista SP1 preview site, and Allen said he will be adding more as he gains access to them.

Microsoft typically releases service packs, or collections of software patches, for major software products within a year of a product's first full release to fix the software's initial glitches. Many products often have least two service packs, and Microsoft is expected to have a third service pack for Windows XP sometime this year.

Allen, a former Microsoft employee, has already posted on the Hotfix site patches that he expects will be a part of Windows XP SP3, although Microsoft has never confirmed that Allen's patches are valid.

Although the official word from Microsoft for Vista SP1's release date is the second half of 2007, Allen said he suspects the release will be timed closely with the busy holiday shopping season in November and December.

"I think what Microsoft is trying to do is patch this thing up so by Christmas time when everyone is starting to go out and buy their machines, Vista will be more compatible with applications and products out there," he said.

Vista originally was supposed to be available during the 2006 holiday buying season, but Microsoft had to push up the release until Jan. 30, 2007.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service

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