Get your dose of Vista Service Pack 1
If you're a 64-bit Vista user, that is...
It looks as though the users of Vista x64 can obtain Service Pack 1 via Windows Update.
I've already started down the MSDN path for obtaining the Service Pack, but that has presented its own set of issues. (TechNet is also another option for obtaining the Service Pack for x86 or x64 systems.) On two of my systems, I'm using Vista Ultimate, and I had installed a variety of language packs, just because I wanted to test them out. Well, it turns out that because the MSDN version of SP1 is only for English, Spanish and a few other languages, and it won't update a system which has language packs installed that are beyond these 5 languages.
Not surprising, when you think about it. I could have waited until March, of course, when all the localized versions will become available, but I chose to go ahead and uninstall the language packs, as advocated by Ed Bott and others.
And on one laptop, uninstalling the language packs was pretty straightforward. I selected all 8 of them, and they uninstalled all at once in about 15 minutes.
As for the other laptop, if I believed in purgatory, this uninstallation process would be my definition. It has taken no less than 14 reboots to uninstall the language packs, because no matter how many are selected, only one of them is uninstalled successfully, and the others are not -- and you are REQUIRED to reboot before you can continue selecting any other languages. Sigh.
That said, I'm thankful that it was the wimpy machine that has gone flawlessly with the uninstalls. For that matter, the responsiveness of the OS on that 1GB RAM system is now much closer to the snappy XP x64 performance than it was with more sluggish Vista x64 RTM. I can't wait to see how my other laptop and my more powerful desktop systems will behave with the update, given that they have more RAM installed.
One interesting feature of this update is that the kernel in Vista has been brought into line with the Server editions (2008). Windows XP x64 edition benefited stability- and performance-wise from this when its kernel was synchronized with Server 2003, so I expect more pluses with this move for Vista.