Microsoft posts free service pack for Windows Vista online, reviews mixed

Microsoft Corp. posted a major package of updates and security fixes for Windows Vista. The world's largest software maker said Tuesday that "Service Pack 1" will improve Vista's reliability, security and performance, though many components already have been released during monthly updates since the operating system went on sale just over a year ago. Industry analysts offered mixed reports on whether the updates make their Vista experience better. Michael Cherry, of the research group Directions on Microsoft, said the time it took to copy files over a network "returned to normal" with SP1 - meaning the operation felt as speedy as it did using Windows XP, Vista's predecessor. But he said one thing SP1 did not fix was his ability to wake his PC from sleep mode, which he described as "a hit or miss affair." Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group, said it took an hour or so to install the service pack on each of two of his computers, but once the machines were upgraded they both seemed "snappier" and less prone to crashing. Is Vista "as fast as XP or not - now it's close enough where you can have the argument, where before, (Vista) was clearly slower," Enderle said.