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Vista SP1 'Update' Released for OS Reliability

Three months after the release of Windows Vista Service Pack 1, Microsoft has issued what it calls a "reliability update" to sweep out any glitches.

Three months after the initial release of Windows Vista Service Pack 1, Microsoft has issued what it calls a "reliability update" to sweep out any glitches that may pop up in a complex stack of applications on the new OS version.

Per a Knowledgebase article, posted late Tuesday night, the update is ready now on the software giant's download servers and it will roll out automatically in July's patch cycle through Windows Update. Microsoft published the update because "issues have been reported by customers who use the Error Reporting service or Microsoft Customer Support Services," according to Redmond.

Microsoft routinely releases such updates but this one is significant because it's the first involving Vista SP1.

Among the applications that this update will help run more efficiently is Windows Media Player and the Excel spreadsheet program. The Windows Media Player fix will help prevent the "stuttering" of audio and video files when streaming content. In Excel's case, the update corrects an error message that some users have complained about, Redmond said. After workstations have been in operation for a while or even idle, some users who tried to resume working in Excel 2007 received an error message saying, "EXCEL.EXE is not a valid Win32 application."

The update is supposed to fix interoperability issues with Apple's Quicktime media player. A support forum note said that the update is designed to reduce the "number of crashes that may be caused by the Apple QuickTime thumbnail preview in Windows Live Photo Gallery."

This update would also, among other things, resolve crash issues by addressing interruptions on e-mail programs, especially when using a POP3 e-mail client app such as Windows Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird.

Meanwhile, what remains to be seen is how the update will mesh with third-party applications. For instance, Microsoft intentionally blocked certain applications -- such as security products from Trend Micro, Zone Labs, BitDefender and Novell -- from running after SP1 was installed. SP1, however, gives security software vendors a more secure way to communicate with Windows Security Center. Malicious software detection applications can work with kernel patch protection on 64-bit versions of Vista.

Microsoft did mention that the update would improve stability for crashes related to Checkpoint Software Technology's ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite and SpySweeper, a product from Webroot Software Inc.

The update will require a restart once it is applied. Updates for 32-bit or 64-bit versions of the OS can be downloaded, Redmond said.

About the Author

Jabulani Leffall is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times of London, Investor's Business Daily, The Economist and CFO Magazine, among others.

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