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Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Expected Tomorrow 149

Posted by timothy
from the tomorrow's-tomorrow's-yesterday dept.
arcticstoat writes "After dishing out a few copies of the beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 to select customers in October, Microsoft has now decided to let the general public get their hands on the beta of the service pack, starting from tomorrow. The beta of the service pack will be made available via Microsoft's Customer Preview Program on 4 December, and it includes all the updates since Service Pack 1, as well as a few other bits and pieces. Most notably, Microsoft says that Service Pack 2 'improves performance for Wi-Fi connection after resuming from sleep mode,' and adds the Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack, ID strings for VIA's Nano CPU and support for the exFAT file system for large flash devices."
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Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Expected Tomorrow

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  • Stigma (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @03:30PM (#25978743) Homepage Journal
    Trying to cash in on XP sp2's stigma, they're pushing vista as an aged operating system, that's been through the ropes. Now we've got a mature system, unlike that horrible old Vista RTM, that didn't do well.

    Have no fear! SP2 is here! Really, though. It's safe now! It's the standard!

    Guys? Guys? Is anybody listening?
    • Re:Stigma (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @03:34PM (#25978791)

      vista has been stable (relative to XP) for a few months now, where have u been?

      • Re:Stigma (Score:4, Funny)

        by conares (1045290) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @03:37PM (#25978869)
        Why dont you just tell the rest of us where you are?
        • I'm not that guy, but I live in Wisconsin, and Vista has been stable for going on 2 years now. I've been using it since release, and it was rock-solid the entire time.
        • Re:Stigma (Score:4, Insightful)

          by kannibal_klown (531544) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @04:27PM (#25979615)

          Why dont you just tell the rest of us where you are?

          NOTE: the following is purely anecdotal.

          I made the leap 1-2 months ago. I have Vista 32-bit as a secondary OS on my MacBook Pro for some Windows coding I have to do on occasion, and I lost my old XP CDs some time ago.

          The first day I installed it I had a blue screen when my laptop tried going to sleep, so I disabled the auto-sleep feature. Then a few days/weeks later RedAlert 3 crashed on me shortly after I installed it, and before I patched it.

          Save for those 2 incidents Vista has been running stable on my machine. Granted I'm not on it 24/7 but it's been OK.

          Whether I'm getting a performance hit, I cannot say. But stability is OK.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by squallbsr (826163)

          Apparently there isn't enough Cheese In Colorado because my Vista machine does nothing BUT crash (Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10 run for months on end).

          The longest uptime I got with Vista (Home Premium X64) was 8.5 days. Then an update installed, rebooted and I needed to do a DVD recovery to get it to boot again. It has managed to stay running for 4 hours before bedtime, I guess I'll see if it is still running when I get home...

      • by atamido (1020905)

        vista has been stable (relative to XP) for a few months now, where have u been?

        The show stopping bugs I mentioned a year ago [slashdot.org] are still in Vista, even after SP1. I never experienced similar issues with 2000 or XP.

        • Not being able to find the network panel is a "show stopping bug"? I agree its in a weird place, but come on...

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by atamido (1020905)

            Did I mention not being able to find the network panel? I'm pretty sure I didn't.

            I mentioned that I've encountered many issues, and then offer details to two major usability issues (users being unable to deal with wireless networks, and some settings being literally impossible to find in the user interface without third party direction).

            I then offer details to a show stopping bug. There are others, but I didn't feel the need to detail every bug I've come across, just to state that there are several seriou

    • Re:Stigma (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Endo13 (1000782) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @03:36PM (#25978831)

      I have to disagree. SP1 really did make some big improvements, at least as many as SP1 did for WinXP. Yes, Vista has its problems. But show me one version of Windows that didn't have any at release. Obviously it's not as mature and smooth-running as XP yet, but it's getting there, and a lot faster than XP did.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I dunno. I run vista. I have yet to see even close to the same performance that I did with xp. Oh hang on a second, I have to restart 3 programs that mysteriously went "white," and then reset the video subsystem timeout so it doesn't crash next time I load a game.

        I don't think sp2 will fix these issues. A 3 mb file copy is still as long as a 300mb file copy in xp for me.
        • Re:Stigma (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Endo13 (1000782) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @04:58PM (#25980181)

          I dunno. I run vista. I have yet to see even close to the same performance that I did with xp.

          And that's exactly the same thing people said about winXP when they compared it to Win98. Win98 needed a whopping 128MB of ram to run well, 256MB was the most you needed for, well pretty much anything. Then WinXP came out with a minimum requirement of 128MB, and everyone complained about it. Understandably so, because as any relatively savvy person now knows, 128MB as a "minimum requirement" for XP means all the eye candy and special features turned off running exactly one program at a time with no strictly essential background processes running. Antivirus is not an exception. In fact, 1GB is generally the minimum you want for XP to work well for normal use. That's eight times the original minimum requirements. I'd wager if you put 8x the minimum required memory in your Vista box, you'll get all the performance you could wish for.

          That said, don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge Vista fan. I use it at work, but my home computers still run XP. I'll be the first to admit Vista is still going through some growing pains. But it's not as bad as the sensationalists want you to think, and it's come a lot farther in the same time span than WinXP did after it was released.

          • by gbjbaanb (229885)

            I'd wager if you put 8x the minimum required memory in your Vista box, you'll get all the performance you could wish for.

            Unfortunately I don't have that many RAM slots in my motherboard, so its kind of a rhetorical solution :(

            • Your mobo cant handle 2 2 GB sticks?
              Can it handle 1 4 GB stick?

              Vista's minimum requirement is 512 MB.

          • by Reziac (43301) *

            Dunno what you're running, but I maintain a whole bunch of older machines (PII's and PIII's), and XP Pro runs fine for ordinary use with as little as 128mb (and can scrape by on 96mb if all you need is basic internet and office work); tho XP Home really needs 256mb to do the same work at the same speed. Also, XP Home needs about 3x the CPU speed to achieve the same performance as XP Pro, all other factors being equal.

            I've never seen my XP Pro box use over 450mb even with a bunch of office-type and image edi

          • by pugugly (152978)

            Ummm - who said this?

            Really - I've been working with Windows for years, and the reaction to XP from both NT users and 98 users was overwhelmingly positive.

            Of course, yeah, XP used more memory, but people could see what they were getting in exchange. Vista sucks up memory for very little return that I've noticed.

            Pug

          • Of course you could just put 8GB of RAM in your Linux box and enjoy phenomenal performance instead, with 7.5GB of disk cache to boot.

          • WindowsXp was at least stable and was not based on DOS anymore. XP offered NT based apis such as encryption, windows update, USB support,flash drive support, dvd-rw, user logons, far supperior stability, Active directory, and many more improvements.

            XP was faster than Windows in i/o intensive apps and could use 2 cpus. XP was faster in such systems.

            Also Windows XP worked fine with 256 megs when it first came out. The apps were smaller then and did not statically linked bloated dll files and autostart upon bo

            • by Yunzil (181064)

              Vista just slows everything down and is irrating.

              Maybe for you. I find Vista significantly less irritating than XP for what I use my computer for, plus I think it looks nicer. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

        • by plague3106 (71849)

          I don't think sp2 will fix these issues. A 3 mb file copy is still as long as a 300mb file copy in xp for me.

          So you'd rather a lie that the file copy is fast over the truth that the file has actually copied?

          • No, he'd rather it get fixed.

            • by Raynor (925006)
              You misunderstand parent.

              The reason Vista APPEARS to copy slower is because it actually tells you when the copy is finished.

              XP would tell you it was done before it had finished... it would "lie about it."

              http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=1338 [zdnet.com]

              Perhaps the biggest drawback of the algorithm, and the one that has caused many Vista users to complain, is that for copies involving a large group of files between 256KB and tens of MB in size, the perceived performance of the copy can be significantly worse than on Windows XP. That's because the previous algorithm's use of cached file I/O lets Explorer finish writing destination files to memory and dismiss the copy dialog long before the Cache Manager's write-behind thread has actually committed the data to disk; with Vista's non-cached implementation, Explorer is forced to wait for each write operation to complete before issuing more, and ultimately for all copied data to be on disk before indicating a copy's completion. In Vista, Explorer also waits 12 seconds before making an estimate of the copy's duration and the estimation algorithm is sensitive to fluctuations in the copy speed, both of which exacerbate user frustration with slower copies.

        • by Khyber (864651)

          "A 3 mb file copy is still as long as a 300mb file copy in xp for me."

          Sounds like you've got bad hardware, which tends to be the cause of most Vista issues. I just slammed Left 4 Dead from the steam folder on my XP desktop to the steam folder on my Vista laptop in less than 15 minutes. That's a few gigs of information.

        • by Fross (83754)

          Having upgraded my system from a year-old XPSP2 (32bit) to Vista SP1 (64 bit), I have to say Vista runs a LOT faster. With everything on, even Aero. It's a lot snappier, programs open faster.

          Sure my system is hardly entry level (Q6600, 4GB PC6400, P45, 4870, 2TB SATA drives) but it seems Vista is making better use of the resources than XP was.

          On the other hand, my motherboard went a week ago, and in the course of diagnosing it I tried running Vista on just 2G of memory, and that was pretty painful when ru

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TClevenger (252206)
        This isn't "at release." It went to RTM a bit over 2 years ago (11/2006), and went to worldwide release two months later. There has already been a service pack. I recently installed the MS-recommended version of MSN for somebody on a brand new Alienware machine running Home Premium, and the included version of Windows Messenger, a userland app, send the machine into a bluescreen-equivalent reboot cycle, something that userland apps shouldn't be able to do. Recently, it has come to light that there's a v
        • Re:Stigma (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Endo13 (1000782) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @05:04PM (#25980269)

          And they're still fixing those kinds of bugs in WinXP, which has been out 7 years now. It's quite fair to say that Vista with SP1 is in better shape than XP was with its SP1.

          This is the safer, more reliable Windows?

          Come on. Don't embarrass yourself. Everyone on /. knows you don't run Windows for safety and reliability.

          • by HTH NE1 (675604)

            Everyone on /. knows you don't run Windows for safety and reliability.

            Isn't that prohibited in the EULA?

            Hmm, after checking, no, it isn't. Nothing about not using it for mission-critical purposes, monitoring nuclear power stations, or medical equipment. I thought those would be standard across all operating systems.

            I still wouldn't though.

        • The problem with the original Vista release is that it wasn't release-ready code. There is a reason why they didn't ship Win2008 back then, and only shipped Win2008 final together with Vista SP1. That's because the codebase for Win2008 is the same as Vista SP1 (if you go to System Information, it will in fact claim that it's "Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 1"!). In other words, the people who were in charge of releasing the server knew that Vista codebase wasn't sufficiently stable pre-SP1, and it was pro

    • If they were trying to do that, they'd have left it at SP1, because XP SP1 was rock-solid. Hell, the first few months of SP2 were worse than SP1.
    • by sumdumass (711423)

      Oh common now. It's Mohave -not Vista.. haven't you heard.

      On a side note, I wonder what people would say if a couple of modern Linux distro's adopted the default XP desktop back ground and asked people what they thought of the new windows or which version they thought was better. They could say it's code name is Sahara.

    • Re:Stigma (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @08:39PM (#25983139)

      Trying to cash in on XP sp2's stigma, they're pushing vista as an aged operating system, that's been through the ropes. Now we've got a mature system, unlike that horrible old Vista RTM, that didn't do well.

      Ya, no...

      1) SP1 and SP2 are yearly updates. Microsoft is back on track to what people remember from the NT4 and Win2K days. (Possible troll view: And they aren't charging $99 a copy for these updates like Apple does, and they have more feature changes than each 10.x update from OS X.)

      2) Vista RTM is not bad, the drivers from ATI, Intel, and NVidia were bad, and if you use RTM drivers out of the box for Video, it sucks. However, both Windows Update shoves new drivers to your system or you can grab the latest versions from ATI or NVidia yourself.
      (Yes we do internal testing with and without updates, and can say for certain that Vista RTM is faster than XP even for gaming with new video drivers.)

      Vista SP1 is bascially a kernel and code update so that it matches Windows 2008, and of course there are going to be some performance and feature improvements.

      Vista SP2 is a lighter update focusing on secondary systems that didn't get updates in SP1, like the Bluetooth stack, and features discovered to better handle flaky hardware for things like hibernate/resume(ACPI issues with MBs), and updates to WiFi priorities so that when you open the lid from standby WiFi is already there and going.

      So Microsoft giving a SP once a year is normal and it is a good thing for once that MS is actually back on track for consistent updates instead of screwing around.

      I think the new Windows Management shows with both the SP1/SP2 timeframes and the work and focus Windows 7 is getting. Tight, reliable and on time are trademarks of the Managers now on Windows and after the Vista series of mis-management structure, MS needed to clean house.

      Additional backstory:
      There always was a class war inside MS between the NT OS developers and the Win9x developers. And this hit the roof when NT with a bit of RAM was outperforming the assembly optimized Win9x OSes, especially when you consider NT is using a portable C and has several security and structure layers that require more processing than the Win9x OSes did.

      This made MS management go WTF x86 people, and it also created a bigger rip when the teams were merged for XP. Vista problems were a bit of a backlash from this merge that occurred in the XP timeframe, from clashing management styles to types and quality of code with regard to features. (Remember Vista V1 of development was started back in 2002, right during the flip over)

      • I agree with a lot of what you said, but are you serious with point one and OS X?

        http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/300.html [apple.com]

        Please show me which service pack made that many changes. Microsoft does the same thing with service packs as Apple does with the 10.x.x releases. They just don't do them as often. If you're going to give Apple crap, why not point out some real flaws rather than making stuff up. For instance, 10.5 is slow to log on and launch apps and needs too many damned restarts for updates to ins

        • Re:Stigma (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:47AM (#25986303)

          I agree with a lot of what you said, but are you serious with point one and OS X?

          http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/300.html [apple.com]

          Please show me which service pack made that many changes.

          Ok, let's be serious for a second, have you actually read the 300 features list?

          In perspective, if MS detailed changes as 'tiny' as Apple does and try to tout them as features, the list for Vista alone would have been over '5000' new features. (We could argue that Apple is smarter about marketing, but they are also conning people by doing this as well.)

          Here I will open the link and scroll randomly to the middle and pick some of the 'features' to list and talk about.

          (Networking)
          - New AirPort Menu
          - Self-Tuning TCP

          (Parental Controls)
          - Simple Account Setup
          - Time Limits and Bedtimes
          - Activity Logging
          - Remote Control & Monitoring
          - Dynamic Web Filter
          - Web Filter Overrides

          Now look at these seriously... They are laughable.

          A New AirPort menu is worthy of mentioning as a new feature?
          Self tuning TCP is actually one of the few halfway reputable.

          Parental Controls, uh? How can they even make this list being serious. These are not 'features' but new 'options' in a dialog box for the Parental Controls.

          Now in contrast just to these items ONLY, MS released Vista with features list like this:
          Improved Networking
          Improved Parental Controls

          See how this works? If you are a Fanboi or not paying attention it looks like: MS Vista two Features compared to OS X eight features. It is this level of awareness and poor journalism and poor MS marketing that leaves people thinking this.

          For Vista, 'Improved Networking' there are over 200 'detailed' changes in the OS from the self-tuning to the network stack itself being new. 'Parental Controls', there are over 300 features that range from Game Rating restrictions to a new UI for parental controls as well as about 100 policies that can be used.

          Ok, so you get an idea of this?

          Now you were talking about Service Packs so lets take a look at a couple from the past years. And I will even let you use the 300 features as a goal for OS X here...

          XP SP2 was the addition of recompiled and more managed code from the Windows 2003 project. This is why XP SP2 is faster than XP RTM or XP SP1. In this alone there are close to 100 items changes from the core changes applied in SP2.

          If we were going to look at XP SP2 and list changes using the 'Apple Method' it would start to look like this really fast:

          Networking
          - New Taskbar WiFi Menu
          - New WiFi Connection Manager
          - New Integrated WiFi Authenication systems (WPAv2, etc)
          - New WiFi network notification system
          - New Firewall with inbound and outbound policies
          - Updated TCP connection limitations to fight Spyware
          - IPv6 support
          - New VPN/IPSEC policies
          - New Security Center

          On and on and on, and these are just off the top of my head, if I pulled out the item by item changes provided to IT professionals, we could fill pages of 'features', and it would be far more than 300.

          Now on to Vista SP1. The entire OS was replaced with the Windows 2008 server build of the binaries. That is a lot of changes, in fact a year's newer OS replaced at the core level.

          Here is a link to the 'Overview' of changes, which is a 'light' list as MS 'defines' features/changes. On this page alone there are about 100.
          http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc749132.aspx [microsoft.com]

          Now move on to a broader list for IT professions:
          http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc709618.aspx [microsoft.com]

          You will find about another 300-400 features/changes, and this is more detailed to the level of the crap Apple would list, as they demonstrate from their famous '300 list' you referenced.

          A

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Most notably, Microsoft says that Service Pack 2 'improves performance for Wi-Fi connection after resuming from sleep mode,

    Thank God, that really annoys the shit out of me.

    Wow, MS actually fixed something! Who would've thunk it?

  • Beta SP? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @03:30PM (#25978753)

    Who is crazy enough to install a beta Microsoft service pack?

    • by psyque (1234612)
      The desperate and insane.
    • Re:Beta SP? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @03:37PM (#25978867) Journal

      Umm... Beta Testers?

      And admins that want to find out how strongly they want to discourage installation by the users on release day.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Exactly, the desperate beta testers who always need the newest updates and admins who are inherently all insane to begin with.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gEvil (beta) (945888)
        And admins that want to find out how strongly they want to discourage installation by the users on release day.

        What kind of admin lets their users install Service Packs on their own?
        • I am a mere Intern at my workplace, so I don't get to decide policy (everybody is a local admin)
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Hafnia (590482)
          I do .... and i bet i'm not alone. My primary function as an engineer is keeping MRI and CT scanners running , i work for a private company with 40 employees. So our total IT staf is 1 full time Administrator and me. I do support and administration in an office of 15 people besides my real job. A lot of firms have this size and don't have the resources to micromanage PC's. Anyway ... we are still on XP and not even beginning to consider Vista , but we might consider Redmonds next offer - by that time i gues
        • I do. I'm in charge of IT for my employer, but I only work ~15 hours per week. Granted, I'm generally the one to install OSes, but when SP2 comes out I'm not going to opine one way or the other about whether they should install it.

          Of course, these are development computers, and the programmers will want to know that their software actually works on Vista SP2.

      • by Sentry21 (8183)

        Admins shouldn't be 'discouraging' Vista SP2. They should be installing it or prohibiting it. None of my users have permissions to install Vista, and if any of them did and it broke something, then their wasted time would be their fault, not mine.

        • Umm... unless you've passworded the BIOS & locked boot-up devices to local hard drives only, your users don't NEED your permission to install Vista. they only need physical access to the machine, an install disc, and a willingness to format the primary partition.

          i think you mean "none of my users have permissions to install STUFF WITHIN Vista", which is slightly different.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gmuslera (3436)
      Installing Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (Beta) ...
      Processing...
      Oops, an error was found, there is no C: drive anymore.

      See? You install a beta, they remove for you Windows, you install Linux, problems ended. It worked!
    • by pwolf (1016201)
      It might work better then the final RC because not all the "Features" have been implemented.
    • The one beta service pack I looked at recently was VS 2008. The big thing I really need out of beta software is the ability to back out fast, and the uninstall instructions for VS 2008 SP1 Beta were positively frightful. The only simple way to back out was apparently a disk wipe and clean reinstall of Windows and then VS 2008, so Microsoft rather limited the supply of clueful beta testers.

      • by lwsimon (724555)

        Or.. they used virtualization, snapshotted the install, then installed the service pack?

    • by Vapon (740778)
      if your company partners with Microsoft you get pricing etc benefits if you beta test for them.

      quite a few companies have test environments where they can test things such as beta service packs and any actual service packs before it goes live as well.
    • All the idiots who install Vista SP1, apparently.

  • New Filesystem? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) *
    OK, so they have added a new filesystem for external flash drives...
    What about filesystems for the C: drive? It's not like using other filesystems will allow so much interoperability that it encourages switching away from Windows.
    So what's wrong? The NIH-syndrome?
    • by 77Punker (673758)

      It's not a full-blown new filesystem; it's still just a new flavor of FAT.

      • Can XP/2K read it? If not, it would be kinda useless for most people.
        • by 77Punker (673758)

          This may be one more facet of their plan to make XP and 2k irrelevant. If their old OS won't support the new hardware, it's time to upgrade!

          • External flash disks? Like SD cards and compactflash? Yeah, using the new filesystem will most likely work with Cameras/Phones/... I don't think it's going to roll...
            • I believe it's tied to a new version of WinCE, so as long as you're just transferring between a WinCE device and Vista, you should be okay.

              Otherwise, normal fat as usual.

            • by afidel (530433)
              Now that DSLR's are getting video support there is a real need for a 64bit filesystem because the 4GB filesize limit for FAT32 is limiting as it means you can only record around 15 minutes at a go. I would guess that if MS doesn't charge too much for licensing that the next gen of DSLR's will support exfat at least as an optional feature.
        • Re:New Filesystem? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Foobar_ (120869) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @04:16PM (#25979445)

          You can copy the two driver files (%systemroot\system32\uexfat.dll and %systemroot%\system32\drivers\exfat.sys) from a Vista installation into the same place in Windows XP or 2003, and by adding a few registry entries (search the web for "exFAT File System Driver", I will not link to random blogs here) you enable full support for it.

          This trick works right now with Vista SP1. <tinfoilhat>MS could still disable the drivers from executing on anything lower than Vista in a future update</tinfoilhat> but you should still be able to use the present driver revision to access exFAT on XP/2003.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Curate (783077)
      Actually TFA is incorrect. Vista SP2 does NOT add exFAT, as exFAT was already added in Vista SP1.
  • by vivek7006 (585218) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @03:35PM (#25978815) Homepage

    It was rumored earlier that they would add tvpack-2008 with SP2, but that's not happening. So no support for un-encrypted QAM, no support for mixing and matching ATSC and QAM channels. Sucks..

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BobMcD (601576)

      As a user of both, the best new thing for Media Center was probably MythTV. I shudder to imagine going back, and am sorry I resisted the temptation for so long...

    • by dargaud (518470)
      tvpack... QAM... ATSC... QAM... ?!? I must be drowning in either acronym or duck soup as I have no clue what you are talking about.
      • by Detritus (11846) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @05:16PM (#25980507) Homepage
        ATSC is the standard for digital television broadcasting in the USA. It replaces the old analog system, NTSC. QAM is the standard used by the cable television industry in the USA for digital television and other data transport over coaxial cable.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by NJRoadfan (1254248)
          Too bad the local cable company has started to encrypt all their QAM streams (outside the legally required OTA channels). No more watching your neighbor's on demand programming either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by digitalchinky (650880)

      I think your words don't really match whatever it is you are intending to say good sir.

      QAM is a modulation method. Quadrature amplitude modulation. It comes in many shapes and patterns, routinely prefixed with a number 8QAM, 16QAM, 256QAM. The higher the number, the higher your information rate. (And usually a higher data rate, depending on FEC and other things) On your bog standard oscilloscope they form what are usually very obvious and sometimes fascinating patterns. It is probably safe to make the assum

  • beta (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The beta is expected tomorrow. The story title forgot that word.

  • Please? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Fix the misleading title.

    • Yes. Misleading summaries are bad enough but now we've got ridiculous titles too? Is slashdot turning into a tabloid? I might as well go read the national enquirer or something. I can learn about how Elvis invented the computer as we know it after being dropped off by space aliens in the middle of what is now silicon valley.
  • Seriously... Can't they fix Vista's performance problems already? I/O is a huge step backwards compared to XP. Many people have complained. Why don't they profile and fix the damn thing already?!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Seriously... Can't they fix Vista's performance problems already?

      What performance problems are you experiencing in your SP1 Vista?

    • Agreed, especially when it comes to games (and supporting older games). I spent a whole day tracking down drivers for each part in my new laptop so that I could install XP and ditch Vista due to Vista's crap performance with games. Other than that it was alright, nothing HORRIBLE, but nothing stellar either. The last straw for me though was when I installed Diablo 2 and once you log onto battle.net with it the game drops to about 2 frames per second. That was when Vista went bye-bye.
    • by Cowmonaut (989226) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @04:51PM (#25980043)

      You sir do not seem to know what you are talking about. I've played around with Vista quite a bit. I still prefer XP on my laptop but that's because I'd rather have my Vista license for my desktop PC. (I don't pirate. If I don't want something I don't buy it.) On my desktop I have 0.2% of my CPU in use with 1.2GB of memory in use when my system is in what *I* consider "idle".

      System Specs: Intel Q6600 Quad Core, 8GB DDR2 RAM (Crucial), x2 8800GT w/ 1GB RAM each, XONAR D2X Sound Card, 780i-SLI motherboard. I have currently two 500GB WD hard drives running as a JBOD RAID using SATA.

      For applications I have Pidgin (with several chat accounts running) and Steam with full Aero eye candy turned on. A simple static background with the world at night and the Windows Gadgets on the right hand side monitoring my CPU and Memory usage. Typically I have 2-3 browsers open with 5-12 tabs open in each (different reasons). I'm seeding several torrents for various files (all legal) pretty much at all times via uTorrent and I only reboot my PC once a month when I update Vista.

      Oh and I have AVAST! running, which I'm about to replace with AVG free again. I keep hearing how they no longer update the definitions in the free version, but I keep getting them on my XP so what the heck, I'll use it until I can't. I really don't like AVAST! as I have to turn it off when playing FarCry2 (causes lag from open file checks that affects my look speeds) but I don't have to turn of AVG.

      My CPU usage at idle is at 0.2% and my memory usage is at about 1.2GB. This is according to Process Explorer and Task manager, not the stupid widgits on my desktop (though they say about the same). The usage only goes up when I'm playing a video game.

      Before you cry out that there is a lot of memory in use, most of that is being held "ready" for other programs as they require more memory. Vista does that. It is actually a good thing. Just means faster access times for the program.

      So yea. I'm positive 98% of all the Vista hate is irrelevant now unless you have 1GB of RAM or less. If you have 2GB and can run DirectX 9 you have no issues with Vista, or shouldn't be. There might be an exception to it:

      My laptop came with Vista Home Basic (32-bit). Vista ran like a dog. The laptop specs were not bad (2GB RAM, AMD64 dual core turion, and an ATI video card sharing the system memory) but it was noticeably just bad. I have an OEM of Vista Ultimate x64. I was deciding between throwing XP x64 or Ultimate x64 on the laptop so i tried the Vista Ultimate for 30 days.

      I am now certain that whatever Microsoft did to remove "features" such as Remote Desktop and Aero from Vista did more than just remove those features. The performance difference was INCREDIBLE. Vista Ultimate absolutely flew.

      To be sure I tried installing Home Basic again. DELL includes OEM install discs now and puts the bloatware and drivers on separate discs. No more image CD/DVDs thankfully. Performance was still noticebly worse when compared to Vista Ultimate x64.

      Personally I think they screwed up the registry a bit. Anyone who has made a mistake there knows only a full install ever gets the PC right again afterwords and all sorts of unexpected things happen when stuff goes wrong there. I just don't have any hard proof, but then neither do most people who seem to complain about Vista beyond their PCs only having 1GB or less of RAM.

      For the curious I settled on XP x64 on my laptop. Partly because I had the license already and partly because I fell in love with it after using it on my old tower. That's a solid 64-bit OS, and has been since 6 months after its release when the drivers came out for everything.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by cowwoc2001 (976892)

        CPU? Who cares about the CPU?!

        I was complaining about I/O performance. It's so bad in Vista is drags *everything* down. Windows uses preemptive multitasking so different tasks gets fair access to the CPU. The same can't be said for the hard-drive. All it takes is one rogue process to take down the entire machine by loading like crazy from the HD.

        Unfortunately for us, some of the built-in Vista services are exactly such rogue processes.

        Take a look at Superfetch and the indexing service. Both are *way* too ag

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Anon as I've given out mod points in this story..

          If you load the Resource Monitor after you've booted and expand the Disk category, you'll see that the superfetch stuff being loaded is set as "Background" priority. If you load something yourself and order by reads or response time, you should find whatever you just loaded jumps to the top, as it has "Normal" priority.

          Works fine for me - while the disk may be going crazy after Vista has booted, it's still responsive.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by adolf (21054)

            While I've generally been a big fan of Superfetch and Readyboost, in concept, I can't stand them in practice.

            It seems to me, during the 4 times that I've experienced a new Vista install (on three different PCs), that Superfetch really does help for the first few days: Common programs tend to start nearly instantaneously, and the OS seems to mediate disk access much like you suggest. After that, it gets slower and slower. Eventually, it gets so slow that booting and running the computer and starting progr

      • The additional I/O overhead in Vista, which seems to be partly related to internal mechanisms to prevent "wiretapping" media streams by kernel components, is hardly going to show up in idle CPU overhead. I can not comprehend the confusion in the mind that would lead to someone supposing otherwise.

      • So yea. I'm positive 98% of all the Vista hate is irrelevant now unless you have 1GB of RAM or less. If you have 2GB and can run DirectX 9 you have no issues with Vista, or shouldn't be

        That's sort of the point. On my Ubuntu box I currently have EVERYTHING I normally use running. This includes among other things: Firefox ( currently streaming off youtube ), Pidgin, Last FM , Compiz at graphics setting "oooh shiny", Xchat , Thunderbird, Open office etc... My memory usage at the moment is about 900 MB, out of

      • by weicco (645927)

        My laptop came with Vista Home Basic (32-bit).

        I don't know if performance problems comes from this but I really hate when OEMs include 32-bit Vista in a setup which has 64-bit processor. Would it be much trouble to include 64-bit version when probably every PC is sold with 64-bit processor now-a-days? (rhetoric question)

  • by svvampy (576225) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @04:30PM (#25979665)
    ...about their products that are in beta for lengthy periods.
  • I, for one, will NOT be installing any beta service packs from Microsoft and I'll be recommending my company do the same. If you were unfortunate to test the SP1 beta, you'll recall that you were forced to re-front your machines after the beta period was over. Until Microsoft guarantees that it will provide a reasonable upgrade path from the beta to production, there is no point in testing until this becomes public.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Stop the presses, everyone, a real world expert, ravepunk, has spoken, and he is putting his foot DOWN. No-one in his company will be installing the beta of SP2 after his horrible experiences with the first SP beta, because he had to re-install machines to upgrade to SP1 fin... wait, what? You're the decision maker for a company in this regard, and you decided to place a beta service pack for something as fundamental as the operating system on actively in-use machines, and were shocked to find that there ma
  • by alta (1263)
    Ok, does this mean that vista will finally let me use my stereo Bluetooth headset to listen to winamp? I bought this thing for music, only to find out vista doesn't do stero a2dp, I think it is... Apparently having that is up to the chipset driver writers. I got a dell BT keyboard/mouse combo, which is a rebranded Logitech one... doesn't work out of the box. From what I've read you can download alternative drivers for the same chipset (widcomm) that are from another manufacturer (toshiba) or you can try
  • I've been using vista at home since RTM. Was having issues until my most recent reformat in July. Now Vista runs happily on my main home machine (C2D E8300 w/3GB RAM and 6mo old Motherboard) and my mediacenter (AMD x2 5000+ 3GB RAM and some HP motherboard). I've had issues here and there but mostly related to either old software or hardware that has no updated drivers.

    At work though, its a different story. Using the management console to connect to 2k3 servers is, well, odd. Missing options (like properties

  • by swordgeek (112599) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @05:47PM (#25981049) Journal

    I don't get it. Why are people installing beta software?

    Beta should be for beta testers. If a company releases beta software and you're silly enough to install it, you should expect it to run...like beta software. For an OS, that means you should assume it will destroy your system and eat your data. Are you installing this on a disposable "test" machine?

    Honestly, Given the sorry quality of released software, I can't understand why people are rushing to blow up their computers with _pre_release software.

  • Tags (Score:2, Funny)

    by amliebsch (724858)
    Can someone explain why "masturbation" is a tag for this story? Is this an inside joke or something?
  • by Methlin (604355) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @08:31PM (#25983067)
    Used to be "Windows ain't done 'til SP1", then XP broke that and Vista followed suit. Question now is is Vista "done" like XP was with SP2 or will it be "Vista ain't for me 'til SP3"?
  • SP1 and ICS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by k-macjapan (1271084)

    Prior to SP1 I used ICS to share my connection with my PS3 from my laptops ethernet, due to the fact that wireless speeds from my PS3 are wretched even though my signal is 100%. After 'upgrading' to SP1 I found that the speeds from ICS were worse than the speeds I used to get using the wireless on my PS3.

    I doubt SP2 will restore the connection to what it used to be...

    Posting this on the off chance that anyone has a solution/work around for either fixing the PS3 wireless or the ICS issue.

    Cheers
    Kevin

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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