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Word has it that the long awaited Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista, also known as what Vista would have been if it were released when actually fully tested and ready, could be with us sooner than expected. While most industry commentators have been sticking to the official ‘sometime in the first half of 2008’ line, one has broken ranks and suggested we could get the first glimpse by way of a Vista SP1 Beta within a week.

Mary Jo Foley claims that it is official, and unnamed sources have revealed that Microsoft is gearing up to “drop Vista SP1 some time during the week of July 16.” She goes on to suggest that the final release will be available during November, which kind of makes a lot of sense when you consider that the Release-to-Manufacturing date for Windows Server 2008 also happens to most likely be November although once again Microsoft are keeping quiet regarding this officially. Still, it would make a lot of sense for the two to arrive together, as The Inquirer remarks “SP1 will almost certainly include a client update to revise the client in line with Server 08.”

There is another reason why Vista SP1 looks set to be here sooner rather than later, and it will be a pretty quick release of a service pack as far as new Windows OS history is concerned, and that is Google. More specifically, the Google threat of yet another anti-trust lawsuit which Microsoft will want to avoid. If Google is to be calmed, then changes need to be made to the Vista desktop search functionality. Changes that, I suspect, will become evident in that SP1 Beta. Expect to see the Instant Search functionality altered to so that computer manufacturers and consumers alike will be able to choose the default desktop search application rather than take the obvious route of using the one integrated within the OS.

I also expect to see Vista SP1 supporting the ExFat file format format for flash memory storage, extending BitLocker to encrypt local data volumes and introduce better performance with regard to file copying and Advanced Direct Memory Access.

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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