More details of the second coming surfaced yesterday when Mary Jo reported a few tips she had received about the upcoming Windows Vista Service Pack 1 beta to be released later this month, including a very basic list of functionality and performance improvements. However a day prior, a Microsoft employee silently outlined a critical flaw in Windows Vista’s ReadyBoost feature and mentioned SP1 would include the fix – a rare occasion under the new
Gorbachev Sinofsky administration.
Robert Hensing, a security engineer at Microsoft,
wrote on his blog (update: since been removed, Blake Handler has some quotes) about a performance flaw in ReadyBoost which severely hindered the responsiveness after resuming from standby (S3) or hibernate (S4) due to an architectural bug. The problem causes irregular and unnecessary hard-disk thrashing after resume which can take up to 8 minutes to settle down – ironically the outcome is the exact opposite of ReadyBoost‘s purpose to increase responsiveness by caching. The cause is a simple yet stupid oversight in the design of ReadyBoost’s security system which encrypts all cache-data with an AES-128 encryption key, a great idea badly implemented.
You see, Vista ‘forgets’ the key after resuming from sleep which invalidates all the ReadyBoost data already held in the memory device forcing it to flush and start over. Yes that’s right, gigabytes worth of good and otherwise usable cache-data which could actually be used to improve system responsiveness, down the drain. Mind you, this is all happening seconds after you’ve opened your lid or pressed the power button, a time when all processor cycles should be focused on getting the system back and running, not wasted to something as stupid as this.
I don’t know how such an obvious oversight can be made by the ReadyBoost team – was resuming never tested? Or was this just something they couldn’t fix in time, if so, how was this ever allowed to ship in the first place? But history aside, it’s a good thing it will be fixed in SP1 along with a batch of other anomalies. I guess now I should join the “need SP1” bandwagon since I actively use ReadyBoost.
It’s interesting to see now that after SP1 has been (informally) announced what the “only-install-Vista-after-SP1 crowd” will think. Are they going to stick to their original cause or move on to “only-install-Vista-after-SP2”. Some people have already moved on to the latter.
And to meet my monthly Sinofsky-quota, “General Secretary Sinofsky, if you seek enthusiasm, if you seek publicity for Microsoft and Windows, if you seek feedback, come here to this gate. Mr. Sinofsky, open this gate. Mr. Sinokfsy, tear down this wall!”
Editorial note: This information was originally spotted by Josh Philips of WindowsConnected.com. However due to work demands he could not write about this sooner. All credits for this extra insight into Vista SP1 should go to Josh.
Update: I’m really surprised the Sinofsky administration has yet to figure out that censorship does not work, which is why Robert Hensing has removed his original post. A summary and quote of his post can be found on Blake Handler’s blog.
Update 2: Robert Hensing’s post has reappeared and it looks like he’s offering a new explanation for the sluggishness during resume from sleep. He’s no longer blaming ReadyBoost as the cause of the problem, however I’m still having resuming problems so I’m not too sure what’s going on just yet.