Confirming earlier rumors
, Microsoft has announced it has reached “release candidate” status with the first service pack for Windows Vista and plans to make it publicly available next week
. The company also said it is on track to deliver the final SP1 build in the first calendar quarter of 2008.
Service Pack 1 won’t offer many new features to users. Instead, the update is a collection of bug fixes and improvements designed to fix Vista’s nagging performance problems including long start-up, shutdown and application load times.
Microsoft also recently announced that, with the introduction of SP1, it plans to do away with its so-called antipiracy kill switch
. However, it appears that the antipiracy mechanism couldn’t be removed in time for the RC1 release, so pirates will have to wait until RC2 to get their Windows Vista Free Edition.