Microsoft is running out of time to make its mid-March deadline for pumping out Vista service pack one (SP1) for general release as a manual download.
Meanwhile, it looks like the software giant has failed to fix a key pre-requisite update in time, meaning that if SP1 does indeed arrive this week, an unspecified number of customers could be shut out from updating their operating system until the firm provides a solution.
Microsoft had pinpointed mid-March as the timeframe when the masses could get their mitts on Vista SP1.
The service pack was shipped to OEMs in early February. Up to now, however, it has only been available to MSDN subscribers, beta testers, and volume licensing customers.
We asked Microsoft today to tell us when ordinary Vista customers can expect to download SP1, but all a spokeswoman could do was repeat the company’s earlier statement that, "Windows Vista SP1 is still on track for mid-March but there is no further information at this time".
El Reg then pointed out to the spokeswoman that it is mid-March, however she merely came back with: "We don't have any further information at this point, I'm afraid."
Online retailer Amazon.com has told its customers that Vista SP1 will be generally available from 18 March, suggesting that a bookseller has a better handle on Microsoft's release schedule than its marketing team.
The company admitted earlier this month that its Ultimate edition of Vista will not be made available to everyone in mid-March as originally planned, because of a delay with 31 of its language packs. Instead, that will be pumped out to customers in what Microsoft man Nick White described as "two waves".
In February, Microsoft was forced to put distribution of one of the updates required for Vista SP1 on ice after customers complained their PCs wouldn't boot up properly once KB937287 had been applied.
There's no sign of the issue being fixed on Microsoft's Knowledge Base or Vista team blog. We asked the firm if it had in fact fixed that particular problem. But again, it was unable to give us any comment, which suggests that many Vista customers may have to continue playing the waiting game for SP1. ®