Science

Microsoft aims to fix Vista problems with update

Microsoft Corp. says it is taking steps to upgrade its widely criticized Windows Vista operating system with an update now available to computer manufacturers and headed for consumer release in mid-March.

Microsoft Corp. says it is taking steps to upgrade its widely criticized Windows Vista operating system with an update now available to computer manufacturers and headed for consumer release in mid-March.

The downloadable Service Pack 1 will improve Vista's performance, reliability and compatibility with other devices, Microsoft said on one of its blogs on Monday. The update will make copying and moving files around on a PC or network up to 50 per cent faster, and will also speed the waking of a computer from sleep mode.

The update was released immediately to computer makers and will be released in phases to the general public over the next few months. Vista users will be able to download the service pack by going to the Windows update website starting in mid-March. Customers who get their Vista updates automatically will receive the service pack in mid-April.

In announcing the update, Microsoft admitted to some of the criticisms Vista has received from the media and other technology firms in the year since its release. Some of the key criticisms have been the operating system's inability to work with some software and peripheral devices, such as printers and digital cameras.

"There were lots of customers who had great experiences, but some had issues finding applications that worked well on Windows Vista; others had problems finding the right device drivers for some of the hardware devices that they used," wrote Mike Nash of the Windows product management group on the company's blog.

Nash explained that these problem were the result of a redesign in Windows, which was necessary to improve the system's overall reliability and security.

The company has made progress in fixing these problems, with Vista now compliant with 98 out of the 100 top-selling software applications and 78,000 devices and components interoperable, up from 34,000 in November, 2006.

Microsoft still expects trouble with some devices so the service pack update will not automatically download onto computers where these are detected. Customers will be able to override this blocking if they choose, and incompatible devices will be added to the service pack when the problems are fixed, Nash wrote.

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