Microsoft speeds up Vista SP1 release for technical users

With little fanfare, Microsoft Corp. has moved up the availability of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) for TechNet and Microsoft Developer Network subscribers, saying they will be able to download the update by Friday at the latest.

It was the second time in three days that Microsoft changed the release of the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) version of Vista SP1 for the IT professionals and developers who pay hundreds of dollars annually for the right to download and test software before it’s offered to the general public.

Saying “We heard you,” an unidentified Microsoft employee posting to the MSDN Subscriptions blog spelled out the new timetable: “Windows Vista SP1 anticipated to be available to MSDN Subscribers by end of week,” the blogger wrote.

On the TechNet Plus blog, where subscribers had denounced Microsoft’s decision to delay the final code until early next month – and then in a change announced Monday to a vague “later this month” – another Microsoft blogger confirmed that SP1 would also be available to TechNet subscribers on the same day. “It will become available for both programs at once,” said Kathy Dixon of Microsoft.

Dixon was responding to a user who noted the availability change for MSDN subscribers.

Although Microsoft did not specify the day, Friday is the most likely candidate; earlier this week, the company said it would let Volume Licensing customers download the bits on Friday.

On Feb. 4, when the company said it had wrapped up the long-anticipated service pack and shipped it to OEMs for use in new PCs and to duplicators to begin the process of assembling retail packages, it noted that the most current Vista users would not get it until mid-March. Mike Nash, vice president of Windows product management, explained then that the company needed time to identify hardware device drivers that might give some users trouble during an upgrade.

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