Saturday, January 12, 2008

Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Vista is coming

Release Candidate 1 (SP1 RC1) has been available for a few weeks now. People have started kicking its tires in hopes that it will fix a lot of what's broken in Vista.

I know in my case SP1 RC1 has amalgamated a lot of past hotfixes but many of the fundamental architecture and feature problems remain. Can you believe that SP1 RC1 contains almost 500 hotfixes!?! That's roughly two hotfixes a day since Vista was first released.

For a complete list of the hotfixes included in SP1 RC1, check out the documentation Microsoft just released:

I'm also here to tell you that SP1 RC1 has exhibited some unexpected behavior that has broken some functionality I rely on:

1) I happen to use the registry setting described in KB937624 to make my drive mappings visible between a user's filtered and elevated UAC tokens. It had been working beautifully for me until I installed SP1. SP1 continues to allow the registry setting to do its job for administrative users but has stopped functioning for Power Users. I am working with Microsoft to find out why.

2) Remember my clever registry hack that fixes Folder Redirection data moves and improves application compatibility and the user experience? (If you don't, take a look at the articles: Folder Redirection: Misbehaves after target move , Folder Redirection: A case study) Well, SP1 makes that hack fail in a spectacular way! When Folder Redirection encounters a mapped drive letter in the registry at boot-up time, it decides the best course of action is to completely delete the corresponding redirected folder on the network! It completely kills the folders! Not only that, but the Users Files Folders appear as blank icons with no labels or properties. The Folder Redirection Functionality is permanently broken. I haven't found a smooth way to recover - other than to delete the user's profile and start fresh. This is just nasty. I am working with Microsoft to find out why this is happening and hopefully find a solution (this didn't happen in the SP1 Beta version by the way).

The hack does still work if a UNC path is used instead of a drive letter. I will modify my two articles (linked to above) to reflect the new reality and remove all mention of drive letters. Sadly, although the move data problems will continue to be avoided with the hack, the application compatibility and better user experience features have been lost.

Here's hoping that the final version of SP1 will make all of our problems go away.

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