Waiting for Vista SP1?
In a previous article, I wrote about how to sound stupid by saying "let's wait for Service Pack 1 before we deploy Windows Vista".
Now here are a few ways to sound clever, by pointing to specific issues that will be fixed by Windows Vista SP1.
- GPMC.MSC (the Group Policy Management Console) gets removed, and the Group Policy Editor will default to editing the local group policy only. Okay, that's not really an advantage - but you will be able to download a newer group policy editor later.
- Allows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) files to be signed. Complains when they aren't (though this does cause a problem for Remote Web Workplace users in SBS land, because there's no way to actually sign the RDP files!)
- Improved cryptographic random number generator, leveraging the TPM if you have one on your computer. (Not sure there was that much wrong with the old one... but this one's better, and more ... cryptographicky)
- BDE + TPM + USB + PIN - need I say more? Oh, okay then - for the truly security paranoid, you can use Bitlocker Drive Encryption with the Trusted Platform Module, and have it require a USB key and a PIN before the system will start.
- Also with BitLocker, there is support for encryption of drives other than the main boot volume (which is the volume that has the system software on it, not the system drive, which is the one you boot from). Still can't encrypt the system drive - because that would be just plain stupid.
- Performance improvements - really, what's not to like with an update that makes your computer go faster?
- exFAT file system for flash memory storage - you probably haven't exactly been drooling about this.
- SSTP - allows VPN over HTTPS to Windows Server 2008 systems. Yeah, because if you're holding off installing Vista until SP1 ships, you've got loads of those ready to use, right?
I don't know - were any of those features worth waiting for? I know there's performance and reliability improvements, but those are somewhat nebulous and indistinct.
My advice is still to test Vista as it shipped, test Vista with the Service Pack 1 Release Candidate - report bugs to Microsoft quickly, before they lock it down - and then when SP1 releases, and then test with Vista SP1 RTM when it comes out... and stop letting vendors get away with saying that "all you need to do to run our software on Vista is to disable UAC, or make all users administrator" - that's just plain bad.
What do I wish was in SP1?
- Some provision for solving the EFS incompatibility between XP and Vista (maybe XP SP3 will help, I don't know)
- The ability for a standard user to back up his own files, including EFS encrypted files, so that a user can export encrypted data to removable physical media (like a CD-R). Too much data still travels unencrypted, and it might help to have the ability to put encrypted files on CD-Rs using only what comes with the OS.
- A server administration toolkit that allows me to administer Windows versions 2000, 2003 and 2008 from Vista.
- An ability to switch sound output devices on already-running applications. When my wife comes into the office, I want to stop using the built-in speakers and start using the Bluetooth headset, so that she can't hear me playing Halo.
So, tell me, what are you waiting for?