More than 100 Windows Vista fixes have been posted online by a blogger, who claims the fixes will be included in Windows Vista SP1 (Service Pack 1). Vista SP1 will be Microsoft's first major update to its latest Windows operating system.

Ethan Allen, owner of the The Hotfix, posted what he calls a preview and information centre for SP1. He says the site includes many of the software patches Microsoft will include in the package.

Allen works as a software quality-assurance manager at a company in Bellevue, Washington. He said he received the fixes from someone close to Microsoft who has access to the technology.

According to Allen, SP1 will include device driver and software compatibility technology that many users had hoped would be available in Vista from the start. Among them will be support for third-party USB and FireWire devices such as digital cameras, in particular products from Sony that have been having compatibility problems with Vista, Allen said.

Sources close to Microsoft confirmed yesterday that it is currently testing Vista SP1. However, the company itself has yet to announce a definite date for the software pack's release other than saying it will be out in the second half of 2007. This time is close to the next release of Windows Server, codenamed Longhorn. Microsoft has so far kept mum about specific details on what fixes will be included in the update.

There will also be patches to improve the TV playback and other Media Center capabilities in Vista, as well as to repair inconsistencies with the power management functions such as sleep and hibernation modes, said Allen.

What will be noticeably missing from the service pack, however, will be updates to Vista security, claims Allen. "What's most surprising is there are hardly any security fixes at all," he said, adding that Vista is already more secure than any previous version of Windows.

A complete listing of patches that should be included in SP1 can be found on the Vista SP1 preview site, and Allen said he will be adding more as he gains access to them.

Microsoft typically releases service packs, or collections of software patches, for major software products within a year of a product's first full release to fix the software's initial glitches. Products often have at least two service packs. Microsoft is expected to have a third service pack for Windows XP sometime this year.

Allen, a former Microsoft employee, has already posted on the Hotfix site patches that he expects will be a part of Windows XP SP3, although Microsoft has never confirmed that Allen's patches are valid.

Although the official word from Microsoft for Vista SP1's release date is the second half of 2007, Allen said he suspects the release will be timed closely with the busy pre-Christmas shopping season in November and December.

"I think what Microsoft is trying to do is patch this thing up so by Christmas time when everyone is starting to go out and buy their machines, Vista will be more compatible with applications and products out there," he said.

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