After the release of SP1, Vista should be faster at copying and extracting files, according to Microsoft, and should wake more quickly from Hibernate and Resume modes. Company engineers should have corrected a bug involving slow network file-share browsing, too, as well as the occasional 10-second delay before a password prompt pops up when you press <Ctrl>-<Alt>-<Delete> to log in after resuming your PC.
Also, we may see further Vista-focused game development after SP1 adds support for Direct3D 10.1, which expands the API to allow game developers to "better take advantage of a new generation of Direct3D graphics hardware," according to Microsoft's SP1 overview.
So what does all of this mean for Microsoft? Though the company might not have liked adjusting its 2008 forecast to account for more people buying XP, CFO Liddell says that the expected income from OS sales "is still exactly the same," and Redmond's bottom line should be fine. "We tend to get paid either way," Liddell says.
These fixes, along with the many others promised for SP1, may suffice to lure current consumer and business holdouts to the new operating system. But come January, you may not have much of a choice for new computers, even if you're still on the fence. Pearcy says that for Dell customers, "XP as a readily available OS will come to an end" next January for consumer PCs, in keeping with Microsoft's current plans. Businesses will have a wider window: The new SP2c build of Windows XP will be available through January 2009.
Key Dates in the XP/Vista Transition
- January 2008: XP no longer sold to consumers
- First Quarter 2008: Vista SP1 release
- January 2009: XP no longer sold to businesses
- April 2014: XP extended support cutoff
Vista vs. XP After 8 Months
How is Windows Vista doing in comparison with XP? Visitors to PCWorld.com are adopting the new OS far more slowly than they adopted XP, as numbers from our Web site tracking data indicate. Click on the icon below to see our bar graph of the percentages.