Microsoft Vista users could have a Beta 1 service pack for the operating system by as early as next week, with a final version of Vista SP1 penned in for November.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley says that if Vista SP1 is released in November, the Windows client team will be sticking to the original schedule for Microsoft's new flagship OS outlined by the company almost a year ago. November, she says, is also the release-to-manufacture (RTM) target for Windows Server 2008 (Longhorn Server) and Microsoft's official plan of record has always been to launch the two simultaneously.
Foley says the emphasis of SP1 will be more on fixes than new features, including:
* Performance tweaks lessening the amount of time it takes to copy files and shut down Vista machines.
* Improved transfer performance and decreased CPU utilisation via support for SD Advanced Direct Memory Access (DMA).
* Support for ExFat, the Windows file format for flash memory storage and other consumer devices.
* Improvements to BitLocker Drive Encryption to allow not just encryption of the whole Vista volume, but also locally created data volumes.
* The ability to boot Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) on an x64 machine.
* Improved success rate for firewalled MeetingSpace and Remote Assistance connections.
Vista SP1 is touted to boost sales of the operating system which haven't so far met Microsoft's expectations. Many corporates, including Intel, have stated that they would only consider implementing Vista once the service pack became available.
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