During the past few days there have been some mention about the release dates for Windows Vista SP1, including a specific date of March 15th, 2008. Yesterday I received a memo from the boys in Redmond I thought I would share with you that fully explains the when, where, why & how of the release of Service Pack #1 for Windows Vista.

 The RTM announcement today will start a number of processes to deliver Windows Vista SP1 to customers including:

 ·        OEM partners will begin producing PCs with SP1 pre-installed.  We expect these systems to be available to customers in March or April.

·        We will begin producing boxed product (FPP) of Windows Vista that integrates Service Pack 1.  These should start appearing in retail stores in March or April.

·        We will begin manufacturing disks with Windows Vista SP1 for our enterprise customers that get our software via Volume Licensing.  Enterprise customers should start receiving these in early March.

To help ensure that our customers who are already using Windows Vista have a great experience when they go to Service Pack 1, we are going to stage our rollout of SP1 for current Windows Vista users to be approximately concurrent with the availability of Windows Vista SP1 on new PCs and in full packaged product in retail stores. 

We are planning to make SP1 available for current Windows Vista users on the following schedule:

·        In mid-March, we will release Windows Vista SP1 to Windows Update and the download center on microsoft.com.  Customers who visit Windows Update can choose to install Service Pack 1. 

·        In mid-April, we will begin delivering Windows Vista SP1 to Windows Vista customers using Automatic Update.  This means that we will begin automatic downloads of SP1 for customers who have chosen to have updates downloaded automatically. 

 Ultimately, we want to make sure that anyone who can benefit from the Service Pack can get it as soon as possible, and we are working hard to make sure all of our current Windows Vista customers have a smooth upgrade path. 

As you communicate with customers, they should feel confident about buying Windows Vista today, knowing that when everything is ready, SP1 will be available to them via Windows Update.  As we have shared with you in other Windows communications, specific improvements in SP1 can be identified across six key areas including:

    • Device Coverage Continues To Expand
    • Steady Application Compatibility Progress
    • Improved Battery Life
    • Security Enhancements
    • Reliability Improvements
    • Performance Improvements

So there you have it. SP1 is on the way. Be patient.

Comments welcome.

[tags] microsoft, windows, vista, service pack 1, sp1, release, rtm, update, download, [/tags]