Vista speed, stability fixes to hit Win Update this week

Updates fix 1% to 2% of all reported crashes, claims Microsoft

Microsoft will push a trio of performance and reliability updates to Windows Vista users this week using Windows Update, the company said.

In a departure from the usual pre-Patch Tuesday secrecy, Microsoft disclosed the contents of the three nonsecurity, high-priority updates that it promised last week would accompany a pair of bug fixes on Tuesday.

"As we've mentioned in previous posts, we use Windows Update to periodically deliver updates for Windows Vista," said Nick White, a Microsoft program manager, on the company's Vista blog. "We do this so that customers need not wait for a service pack or another or larger release to benefit from the ongoing improvements we make to Windows."

The three nonsecurity updates that White described are not new. They have been available since early October, when Microsoft posted them on its Download site. Tomorrow, however, is the first time they will be offered to users via Windows Update, the operating system's automated update service.

Of the three fixes, the widest-ranging is a 5.3MB download that extends laptop battery life, improves the stability of wireless network connections, shortens recovery time after exiting hibernation or sleep, and deals with compatibility problems with some antivirus software. Since it was originally issued October 2, this update has been tweaked, Microsoft said in accompanying documentation. Some computers equipped with older USB chip sets and optical drives connected to the motherboard via a Serial ATA interface would not start after the initial update was applied.

The remaining fixes are a cumulative rollup of all known fixes for USB-based problems with Vista -- most of them bugs that caused Vista to crash when coming out of sleep or hibernation -- and an update to Windows Media Center. According to White, the USB rollup fixes problems that have caused 1% to 2% of all reported Vista crashes.

This is the second time since August that Microsoft has included Vista performance and reliability hot fixes in the monthly Windows Update offerings. Like the two updates issued then, these three have been added to Vista Service Pack 1, the major update that Microsoft has promised sometime early next year but which is currently stalled in the initial stages of beta testing.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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