Microsoft has published a 17-page document outlining in fine detail exactly what difference SP1 makes to Vista, soon after, the public beta test release of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate,.
Some of the contents has been shared in bits in the past, but this is so far the most comprehensive “changelog” we’ve ever seen and probably will see as the final version is not expected to differ much from the RC, with the exception of WGA modifications(read here, here, or here) as described below. I’ve highlighted some of the most interesting changes which you may or may not already know.
This document describes many of the notable changes in Windows Vista SP1, with the exception of some updates to the Windows Genuine Advantage experience which we are still developing for our customers and will be released in a later build.
Hardware Ecosystem Support and Enhancements
- Adds support for new UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) industry standard PC firmware for 64-bit systems with functional parity with legacy BIOS firmware, which allows Windows Vista SP1 to install to GPT format disks, boot and resume from hibernate using UEFI firmware.
- Adds support for x64 EFI network boot.
- Adds support for the 64-bit version of MSDASQL, which acts as a “bridge” from OLEDB to a variety of ODBC drivers thus simplifying application migration from 32-bit platforms to 64-bit Windows Vista.
- Adds support for Direct3D® 10.1, an update to Direct3D 10 that extends the API to support new hardware features, enabling 3D application and game developers to make more complete and efficient use of the upcoming generations of graphics hardware.
- Adds support for exFAT, a new file system supporting larger overall capacity and larger files, which will be used in Flash memory storage and consumer devices.
- Adds support for SD Advanced DMA (ADMA) on compliant SD standard host controllers. This new transfer mechanism, which is expected to be supported in SD controllers soon, will improve transfer performance and decrease CPU utilization.
- Adds support for creating a single DVD media that boots on PCs with either BIOS or EFI.
- Enhances support for high density drives by adding new icons and labels that will identify HD-DVD and Blu-ray Drives as high density drives.
- Adds support to enable new types of Windows Media Center Extenders, such as digital televisions and networked DVD players, to connect to Windows Media Center PCs.
- Enhances the MPEG-2 decoder to support content protection across a user accessible bus on Media Center systems configured with Digital Cable Tuner hardware. This also effectively enables higher levels of hardware decoder acceleration for commercial DVD playback on some hardware.
- Enhances Netproj.exe to temporarily resize the desktop to accommodate custom projector resolutions when connecting to Windows Network Projectors.