More on the Vista Service Pack 1 drivers roadblock

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 install processIt appears the roadblock preventing Windows Vista Service Pack 1 from being made publically available when it was released to manufacturing two days ago is a deja vu of the same but less severe problem that also happened in 2004 with Windows XP Service Pack 2.

The problem then affected a very particular ATI graphics driver and Dell Bluetooth driver which resulted in loss functionality after installing XP SP2.

The problem today affects an identifiable set of drivers which too results in loss functionality after installing Vista SP1. Both of which will require driver updates prior to the service pack install.

“What happens is during the update, the sound and video components are disabled, and in the process the drivers are accidentally removed.”

At the moment there is no precise list of drivers which are affected. Some but not all audio driver(s) from Realtek, graphics driver(s) from Nvidia and network driver(s) from Intel are believed to problematic.

Over the next 30 days, Microsoft is going to work on a preemptive measure to identify which drivers are affected and prevent users with those drivers from installing SP1 until they are cleared. At the same time, they will also be knocking on the doors of many hardware vendors to make sure a driver update is available before SP1 is released. When available, those new drivers will be offered as critical updates in Windows Update to make it for easy for users to overcome the problem without scourging through vendor support websites.

Knowing that, still wished those of us who can take a chance and worst comes to worst, reinstall the driver after applying the service pack, can do so without the Windows Update crossing lady who’s not coming until March.

29 insightful thoughts

  1. Good luck getting Dell to update their drivers Microsoft. I have been bugging them for years to update the drivers for their latest and greatest laptops. Even my current D830 was suppose to have a discrete video card, but no deal. \rant

  2. They should reveal the companys behind the problematic drivers so that we can choose the hardware manufacturers better in the future.

  3. Great, forced into driver updates. I accepted one of those driver updates recently for a Marvell Yukon network card. Suddenly my video card started failing 3, 4 times a day – updating the video driver had no effect.

    Rolling back the network card driver DID however resolve the problem.

    Makes you wonder if driver updates to get SP1 are really what we actually want.

    I guess time will tell.

  4. I hope that Microsoft can at least make it a download with an MSDN Subscription. If not at the very least supply the Retail install DVD of Vista with SP1 installed on MSDN. I plan to move my system back to 64-bit now that Apple has released iTunes and iPhone Sync capabilities for Vista 64.

  5. @I work there: You really don’t have much knowledge of the goings on at MS, as you ahve demonstrated in your posts. I’m guessing you work in a call center? Maybe campus security?

  6. just rubbish MS!
    I just installed SP1 on my Vista x64 and guess what? NO drivers problems.
    and more? I have an intel chipset, I have a realtek audio, I have an ATI video card. N O problems with drivers. Probably just in MS mind!
    This is simply unacceptable to happen nowadays!
    Ok, let’s assume that indeed there are a couple of faulty drivers issues stuff. Then why the heck not release the SP1 on MSDN and on private channels???
    In my business I could use those 6 weeks to test SP1 in my environment to see if it really affects my configurations or not.
    But now I have to wait 6 weeks just to get my hands on it and then to start and test it. 😐
    And so, IT’S MY PROBLEM that I might hit a problem with it, I don’ want to wait for MS to fix this. Like in my PC, I don’t have any problems and lucky me, but if there was a problem with drivers, I could know at least.
    Bill Gates should really leave MS with a SERIOUS reorganization around there because like this we are going nowhere. 😐

  7. Many of you have reported a flawless Vista SP1 install experience and are wondering why Microsoft hasn’t publicly released it yet. After successfully installing the SP1 RTM build (6001.18000.x86fre.longhorn_rtm.080118-1840) on my HP Pavilion dv6500t notebook, I felt the same way — thinking Microsoft must be absolutely nuts for delaying such a critical update.

    Like most people here, I was convinced that SP1 must work fine for everyone as it did for me, so I began installing SP1 on my friend’s Toshiba Satellite A135-S2266 notebook and expected the same successful results.

    After SP1 was installed, my computer illiterate friend began freaking out and complained that her audio didn’t work, YouTube video playback was choppy, and wireless wouldn’t connect. As identified by a newsgroup posting on MS Connect and Long’s post here, some drivers for certain devices stop working properly:
    -sound (no audio at all); [Realtek Chipset]
    -graphics (after install, it reverted to Microsoft’s generic drivers with no hardware video acceleration); [ATI RADEON X200M]
    -wireless networking (does not work); [Atheros Mini PCIe 802.11b/g]
    The easiest workaround was to download and reinstall the drivers from Toshiba’s support site, which ended up fixing all these issues identified.

    At this point, it seems Microsoft had made a very rational decision in delaying the SP1 release. Had SP1 been delivered to Windows Update immediately, this would have broken very critical drivers for those who have the aforementioned (or similar) configuration. Although the manual workaround is quite simple, you simply cannot expect an unsavvy computer user to identify and resolve the problem easily. Thus, for the sake of alleviating headaches, it is best to first resolve this critical driver issue to ensure a smoother install experience for everyone.

    I hope this clears up some misconceptions about the delay and severity of the driver issues!

  8. I have Nvidia GeForce7000m and im experiences vast amounts of trouble with my video after I installed sp1. I dont know what to do. I guess wait for nvidia to put out an update?

  9. I’ve had nothing but problems with Vista. First, it wouldn’t recognize my usb ports. I installed SP1 and it cleared that up, but now I have no sound. I’ve reinstalled drivers and everything I can think of, still no sound. There are actually other problems also.
    I’m going back to XP sp2. Sorry I spent the money on Vista. I know this is a very complex business, but I don’t have time to be tinkering with this. Just seems to me that Microsoft has not done the homework (again!)
    If I ran my business like this, I’d be out of business. You don’t leave your quality control up to your customers!

  10. Having problems with Realtek sound drivers since SP1 on my laptop. When I reboot my computer, they come back up and work fine. But when I get up in the morning, they are gone again (I leave my laptop on sleep mode when I’m not using it). So something is happening in the middle of the night that disables my sound drivers… weird stuff.

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