Microsoft is including a set of nonsecurity updates that prepare customers to install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 as part of its monthly "Patch Tuesday" security fixes.
Two of three prerequisite updates needed to install SP1 are hitting Microsoft's Windows Update for the first time Tuesday along with the usual batch of security updates it releases every month. The technologies -- called KB937287 and KB938371 -- are marked "Important" and will install automatically if a Windows user has Windows Update set to the recommended configuration, according to a post on the Windows Vista team blog.
KB937287 is an update to Vista's servicing stack, and KB938371 is a multicomponent update, according to the blog post attributed to Nick White, a product manager on the Vista team. Both must be installed before a machine can successfully be updated to Windows Vista SP1.
The third prerequisite to installing SP1, KB935509, also is being released through Windows Update Tuesday. However, that technology is an update of a previously released technology, not a brand new release.
Microsoft plans to release Vista SP1 in its first five languages -- English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese -- to the Windows Update and the download center on Microsoft's Web site in mid-March. However, some computers may not work with the update right away because of device-driver incompatibilities; Microsoft is hoping to resolve those by mid-March, which is why it is putting off the release until then even though the final code for SP1 is available now.
Following its first release, Microsoft in mid-April plans to make SP1 available in the first five languages to anyone who has chosen not to download it. Microsoft will follow with the remaining language releases of Vista SP1 soon after. Many believe the SP1 milestone is the one that will bring about a new wave of adoption for Vista, especially among business customers that have been awaiting the service pack's release before updating employee desktops.
Microsoft releases security updates every second Tuesday of the month, which is why security researchers call the day "Patch Tuesday." The company often includes nonsecurity updates with these releases, although it also will release nonsecurity updates on the fourth Tuesday of the month.