Actual there is only one service pack however logically there are two, SP1 (A) is for all of us and is free whereas SP1 (C) is for the corporate IT departments who traditionally wait for the first service pack before deploying a new operating system. Service Pack 1C, where the letter “C” stands for cost, in that how much is it going to cost their company to move to a new operating system, will there exist applications play nicely or break.
My bet is that for the IT groups, Windows 7 Professional will be the version of choice as it supports Windows 7 XP mode and may just allow most of their vital applications to run without problems. That is if their aging fleet of XP computers can be upgraded to run Windows 7, otherwise the cost to move goes up even more as new computers and or upgrading existing hardware can easily exceed the cost of Windows 7.
Microsoft’s timing however is perfect as a large number of corporations start planning next year capital budget in the second quarter of the current year. So if the move to Windows 7 is to be made it must be budgeted for now, service pack 1 or not.
There is not a lot of information about what the service pack actual contains, but to date the best information to be had is that’s its just a rollup of bunch of updates you most likely already have installed, plus an updated Remote Desktop client designed to work with RemoteFX, this new remote access platform is set to make its debut in SP1 for Windows Server 2008 R2, which will also be a public beta about the same time as Windows 7 SP1 beta. More details on the Windows Team Blog: http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/business/archive/2010/06/07/virtualization-updates-at-teched.aspx
Just remember that SP1 is a Beta, and beta means bugs, and bugs mean trouble, and trouble could leave you with a non functional computer. So try the beta on a computer that you can do without should you need a can of Raid. If you really are all that curious about SP1, the start by creating an image backup of Windows 7 to an external USB drive before you install the beta.
What are my plans: I plan to review all the Windows 7 updates released to date, including the now infamous WAT update. Then I will compare how well the SP1 version functions when compared with a fully updated pre SP1 version of Windows installed on the exact same hardware by creating a Dual Boot computer. So look for my next article.
For now here are four changes Microsoft should have made:
1) Fix Disk Management:During a “Custom” or clean install you no longer have a choice of either a “Full” or “Quick”, it’s a quick format or nothing. Even Microsoft should know that even a brand new hard drive, fresh out of the box can have bad sectors. A quick format can not detect, map out these sectors and replace them with spare sectors that all drive manufactures include. The end result can be a failure to install, problem after the install, problems installing software or even a crash hours or weeks later.
Challenge: Put back to option to perform a “Full” format.
2) Discontinue the sale of OEM versions:Both PC manufactures and home built computers should only be sold with the retail product.This especially applies to the sale of computers by manufactures (big and small). The original concept was to reduce the cost of purchasing a new computer but what it really translates into is joining your Windows Operating System at the hip to the reliability of the manufactures hardware.Should the computer’s motherboard fail after the warrantee expired, then not only does the consumer have a major hardware repair bill but also must purchase Windows 7 again, because when your motherboard died so did you Windows 7 OEM product key. So how much did you really save
Challenge: Put everybody on the same footing, retail versions only.
3) Improve the packaging:Next time you are at a store take a good look at the box, especially the upgrade versions. In fine print where you’re not likely to notice (similar to page 15 of a credit card application) does it spell out what you can upgrade from? No mention that Windows XP or Vista must be pre-installed on your hard drive. Also no mention that the Windows 7 Professional upgrade only applies to Vista Business edition. The new packaging should clearly define what’s in the box and how you can or can’t use it.
Side Notes for XP users: Understanding Downgrade Rights “Note that Windows 7 end user downgrade rights will be available for approximately 18 months after the general availability of Windows 7 (April, 2011) or the release of a Windows 7 Service Pack, whichever is earlier."