The beta will be released to a moderate-sized audience in a few weeks.
With SP1, Windows Vista can boot via EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) on an x64 machine
SP1 supports ExFAT, a new file format that will be used in flash memory storage and consumer devices
Support for SD Advanced DMA Support to improve transfer performance and decrease CPU utilization is part of SP1
SP1 includes a series of new API’s and software features to enable 3D application and game developers to make more complete and efficient use of the upcoming generation of graphics Direct3D 10.1 hardware
Windows Vista SP1 includes SSTP (Secure Sockets Tunnel Protocol), a remote access VPN tunneling protocol that will be part of Microsoft’s RRAS (Routing and Remote Access Service) platform. SSTP helps provide full-network VPN remote access connections without some of the challenges that other VPN tunnels face traversing NAT, web proxies, and firewalls
With Windows Vista SP1, BitLocker Drive Encryption has been enhanced to not only fully encrypt the entire Windows Vista volume but also any or all additional locally created data volumes. (Customers can now not only fully encrypt C: but also D: and E:)
Network Diagnostics in Windows Vista SP1 will help users with the most common file sharing problems, in addition to basic problems already supported
SP1 includes an update to Disk Defragmenter so administrators can control which volumes the disk defragmenter runs on
Windows Vista SP1 does not include new drivers. Rather, new drivers are delivered to users via Windows Update or directly from the driver vendor.
Microsoft currently expects to deliver SP1 during the first quarter of 2008, but will collect customer feedback from the upcoming beta process before setting a final date.
Windows Vista SP1 is designed to not significantly change the UI or to cause regressions in application compatibility.
SP1 is going to be released in two waves. The initial release of SP1 will include 5 languages (English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese). A Service Pack containing all 36 of the languages (including the original 5) will be released about 3 months later.