Vista SP1 – What are the Notable Changes

Hardware Ecosystem Support and Enhancements
· Adds support for new UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) industry standard PC firmware for 64-bit systems with functional parity with legacy BIOS firmware, which allows Windows Vista SP1 to install to GPT format disks, boot and resume from hibernate using UEFI firmware.
· Adds support for x64 EFI network boot.
· Adds support for the 64-bit version of MSDASQL, which acts as a “bridge” from OLEDB to a variety of ODBC drivers thus simplifying application migration from 32-bit platforms to 64-bit Windows Vista.
· Adds support for Direct3D® 10.1, an update to Direct3D 10 that extends the API to support new hardware features, enabling 3D application and game developers to make more complete and efficient use of the upcoming generations of graphics hardware.
· Adds support for exFAT, a new file system supporting larger overall capacity and larger files, which will be used in Flash memory storage and consumer devices.
· Adds support for SD Advanced DMA (ADMA) on compliant SD standard host controllers. This new transfer mechanism, which is expected to be supported in SD controllers soon, will improve transfer performance and decrease CPU utilization.
· Adds support for creating a single DVD media that boots on PCs with either BIOS or EFI.
· Enhances support for high density drives by adding new icons and labels that will identify HD-DVD and Blu-ray Drives as high density drives.
· Adds support to enable new types of Windows Media Center Extenders, such as digital televisions and networked DVD players, to connect to Windows Media Center PCs.
· Enhances the MPEG-2 decoder to support content protection across a user accessible bus on Media Center systems configured with Digital Cable Tuner hardware. This also effectively enables higher levels of hardware decoder acceleration for commercial DVD playback on some hardware.
· Enhances Netproj.exe to temporarily resize the desktop to accommodate custom projector resolutions when connecting to Windows Network Projectors.

Reliability Improvements
Reliability improvements vary from PC to PC based on hardware, environment, and usage. Customers will experience varying levels of benefit.
· SP1 addresses issues many of the most common causes of crashes and hangs in Windows Vista, as reported by Windows Error Reporting. These include issues relating to Windows Calendar, Windows Media Player, and a number of drivers included with Windows Vista.
· Improves reliability by preventing data-loss while ejecting NTFS-formatted removable-media.
· Improves reliability of IPSec connections over IPv6 by ensuring by ensuring that all Neighbor Discovery RFC traffic is IPsec exempted.
· Improves certain problem scenarios where a driver goes to sleep with incomplete packet transmissions by ensuring the driver is given enough time to transmit or discard any outstanding packets before going to sleep.
· Improves wireless ad-hoc connection (computer-to-computer wireless connections) success rate
· Improves the success of peer-to-peer connections, such as Windows Meeting Space or Remote Assistance applications, when both PCs are behind symmetric firewalls.
· Improves Windows Vista’s built-in file backup solution to include EFS encrypted files in the backup.
· An improved SRT (Startup Repair Tool), which is part of the Windows Recovery environment (WinRE), can now fix PCs unbootable due to certain missing OS files.
· Users who did not opt-in to the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) will be prompted again to join after installing SP1. The experience will remain the same and the default will continue to be opt-out.

Support for New Technologies and Standards
· Adds support for new strong cryptographic algorithms used in IPsec. SHA-256, AES-GCM, and AES-GMAC for ESP and AH, ECDSA, SHA-256, and SHA-384 for IKE and AuthIP.
· Adds the NIST SP 800-90 Elliptical Curve Cryptography (ECC) pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) to the list of available PRNG in Windows Vista.
· Adds support for SSTP (Secure Sockets Tunnel Protocol), a remote access VPN tunneling protocol that will be part of Microsoft’s RRAS (Routing and Remote Access Service) platform. SSTP helps provide full-network VPN remote access connections over SSL, removing some of the VPN connectivity challenges that other VPN tunnels face traversing NAT, web proxies, and firewalls.
· Adds full support for the latest IEEE draft of 802.11n wireless networking.
· Adds support for obtaining identity and invoke identity UI from an inner method via a new EAPHost runtime API as well as a configuration UI for tunnel methods. These APIs are useful for developers working on tunneling/multi-phased EAP authentication methods as well as those who implement networking supplicants which consume EAP authentications.
· Adds support for Windows Smartcard Framework to enable compliance with the EU Digital Signature Directive and National ID / eID.
· Adds support for the Parental Controls Games Restrictions for ratings from the Korean Game Rating Board (GRB).
· Enhances TCP Chimney network card support so that a TCP Chimney network card can also support Compound TCP.
· Adds support in the Wireless Client for a new FIPS (Federal Information Processing) compliant mode. This mode is FIPS 140-2 compliant because it moves the cryptographic processing from the wireless network card to an existing FIPS-approved cryptographic library.
· Enhances Windows Firewall and IPsec to use the new cryptographic algorithms that are Suite B compliant.
· Updated drivers are delivered primarily via Windows Update and directly from hardware vendors, not as part of a service pack. However, a small number of critical drivers are included as part of Windows Vista (e.g., display drivers, audio drivers) and some of these have been updated.

Misc
· Includes a new Offline Files interface that exports the dirty byte count for a file that is modified offline. This interface is exposed both through the COM APIs and WMI provider for Offline Files.
· GPMC (Group Policy Management Console) will be uninstalled with Service Pack 1 and GPEdit will default to Local Group Policy editing. Following these changes, SP1 users can download an updated version of GPMC which will include new Group Policy capabilities including adding comments to GPOs or individual settings and searching for specific Group Policy settings.
· With SP1, Windows Vista will report the amount of system memory installed rather than report the amount of system memory available to the OS. Therefore 32-bit systems equipped with 4GB of RAM will report all 4GB in many places throughout the OS, such as the System Control Panel. However, this behavior is dependent on having a compatible BIOS, so not all users may notice this change.
· Windows Vista is aligned with Windows Server 2008, meaning that many files are common to both products. A result of this design is that there are cases where a common binary is modified to enable a server scenario that has limited or no effect on Windows Vista SP1 capabilities.

For a more complete list see: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=E71F0083-1013-4F9C-A3F9-C56E7120A5E9&displaylang=en

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