Microsoft updates Vista speed, stability again

Posts more fixes for latest OS even as SP1 enters beta testing

For the second time in two months, Microsoft has rolled out fixes to improve Windows Vista's speed and reliability.

Four separate updates, available from the vendor's website, address several operating system performance and stability problems, deal with a dozen Universal Serial Bus (USB) issues, improve Windows Media Player and patch Media Center.

Although Microsoft has put Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) in the hands of some testers, it has said it will continue to update the original Vista -- dubbed "RTM" for "release to manufacturing" -- even as it puts SP1 through its paces. Seven weeks ago, it issued a pair of updates that tackled numerous problems, offering them as optional items through Windows Update in September.

"Tuesday's updates are a collection of fixes that we have made to address a small set of reliability, compatibility, stability, security and performance issues," a Microsoft spokeswoman said. "They will provide incremental improvements to the most common issues -- but in general, these improvements or fixes are going to be very narrow in scope."

The widest ranging of the quartet was a 5.4MB update for multiple hardware and operating system issues that Microsoft said extends laptop battery life, improves the stability of wireless network connections and deals with compatibility problems with some antivirus software.

The update also promised to shorten Vista start-up and resume-from-sleep times, problems that Microsoft had supposedly fixed with the August patches. Vista users have complained about Vista's slow start-up, shutdown and return from power-saving modes since at least April.

A second update, detailed in the KB941600 support document, is a cumulative roll-up of 12 fixes to Vista's USB components. In Microsoft's terminology, a "roll-up" is a collection of patches, similar to a service pack, but not tested as extensively.

A similar cumulative update for Media Center is also available from the Microsoft download site; it deals with several specific problems, including some involving how Vista interacts with Microsoft Xbox 360 video game consoles.

The fourth update patches Windows Media Player 11, the default audio- and video-playing software included with the operating system. Microsoft offered few details -- a support document has not been added to the database -- but the company's spokeswoman said the 8.8MB download for the 32-bit version of Vista eliminates corruption of Media Player database in certain scenarios and of media stream in certain scenarios.

The updates will be distributed via Windows Update in the near future, the spokeswoman added. Microsoft's next scheduled Windows Update releases are due out in the second week of October.

Microsoft has aggressively promoted its ability to update Vista through Windows Update, even going so far as denying after Vista's launch that it needed to produce a comprehensive service pack, or SP1. It has continued to claim that most issues can be addressed by Windows Update.

Mike Nash, the Microsoft executive who leads Windows product management, was the latest to brag about Windows Update's prowess in keeping Vista running smoothly. "The really important updates we can release with Windows Update, and the need for a service pack is actually reduced," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?