According ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft is reportedly gearing up to drop a beta version of Vista Service Pack 1 as early as next week, with the final due in November.

Microsoft had originally planned to deliver SP1 late this year. However, that was widely expected to be delayed after Microsoft agreed to Google’s demand to alter Vista’s desktop-search functionality in a beta 1 version of SP1 back in June. Foley suggests the move goes in line with Microsoft’s new policy to under-promise and over-deliver, instead of the other way around.

Users can expect Vista SP1 to be more about enhancing or supplementing features that are already part of Vista instead of adding many new features. Among other things, fixes likely to make it in the SP1 include “performance tweaks lessening the amount of time it takes to copy files and shut down Vista machines”, and “improved transfer performance and decreased CPU utilization via support for SD Advanced Direct Memory Access”.

Many corporate clients have been holding off deploying Vista to wait for the first Service Pack to improve performance and stability. And with recent claims that Microsoft’s latest operating system “has, so far, failed to stimulate the market in the way many hoped”, releasing an SP1 to the public could represent the much needed start of a new corporate and consumer buying cycle.