Not yet available to the general public and already getting updated for security and reliability, some might think that this is shows a lack of polish on the Windows 7 product. This release is the first one available through the Windows Update mechanism.

In a change from normal policy, it does seem as though Microsoft is getting in front of any troubles with this product, which I see as a really good thing. If the company had been this on the ball with Vista, it might not have been a huge flop, and most of the world would be using Vista and saying that Microsoft could hold off on releasing Windows 7. It will be a very good thing if the next series of fixes are released with full documentation, and acknowledgement of what their purpose is. It would bring a new acceptance to Microsoft, as everyone likes to operate from the position of a surfeit of information.

A story on Ars Technica  that broke Friday tells about this first official fix for both releases of Windows 7 –

Microsoft this week released the first stability and reliability update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 on Windows Update. The patch resolves issues that affect some computers, reported by customers who use the Error Reporting service or Microsoft Customer Support Services. If you didn’t see this update on Windows Update, the update is also available for download from the Microsoft Download Center for: Windows 7 32-bit (15.9MB), Windows 7 64-bit (20.8MB), and Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit (20.8MB).

Microsoft has released stability and reliability updates for Windows 7 before, but those were for testers running builds 7000 (beta) and 7100 (RC). Microsoft plans to regularly release Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 stability and reliability updates, so this is the first of many to come. This update builds on those that preceded it, adding the following fixes:

  • When you view a PDF file that was created by using an Office 2007 document, the PDF file is displayed on the screen correctly. However, when the document is printed, some characters are missing. This problem occurs in fonts such as Calibri, Cambria, Courier New, or Gabriola, in which characters such as “fi”, “ti”, “fl”, and other combinations are frequently presented as ligatures.
  • In certain scenarios, an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message does not automatically tune to the appropriate channel in Windows Media Center.
  • You connect a secondary monitor to a computer that is running Windows 7. When the computer resumes from hibernation, a black screen is displayed.
  • In certain scenarios, the Windows 7 Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) diagnostic information settings are configured incorrectly for Windows Explorer. Only those users who are enrolled in the Windows 7 CEIP will be affected by this part of the update. This update limits the diagnostic information that can be collected by the CEIP.
  • You put an x86-based computer that does not have Physical Address Extension (PAE) enabled into hibernation. However, it does not enter hibernation correctly. When you try to resume the computer from hibernation, a black screen is displayed. This issue does not affect x64-based or Itanium-based computers, or computers that have the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) feature enabled.
  • A problem in Windows 7 affects the playback of certain media files in Windows Media Player, when Windows Media Player is started from Internet Explorer. Only those users whose media associations were changed incorrectly will be affected by this part of the update.
  • On a computer that is running Windows 7, you use Internet Explorer to open the certificate enrollment webpage and to install an end entity certificate. However, the installation fails. This issue occurs if the certificate chain for the new certificate cannot be built, or if the root certification authority (CA) has not first been installed in the Trusted Roots on the computer.

The fix for the Black Screen of Death after hibernation is an important one, as it would sour many on the Windows experience immediately – not something good for the Microsoft bottom line, so no wonder it is being dealt with so quickly.

The Ars story also speaks about the release that was made for the older style help files, still found with some programs. The program is released for Windows 7 proper, and is not simply a re-release of another product, and will allow the viewing of any file using the HLP extension.

Though Ars makes note of the fact that people who get Windows 7 on October 22 will have some files that show up almost immediately when the computer is connected to the internet, I don’t think that this will be as much a problem as the problems caused by the lack of the updates might have been. As Microsoft continues to be careful of the way in which Windows 7 is regarded, it will also continue to release updates on a frenzied schedule – good for their reputation, and great for the customers, who will gain a much better Windows 7 experience.

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