Microsoft recently released a series of patches for Vista that were aimed at improving reliabilty and compatibility, and from the description of KB941649, that particular patch offered some promise for mobile pc users in the areas of battery life, WiFi stability, and other issues.
All of these patches will eventually be rolled up into Vista SP1, which is concurrently in Beta and being tested by select users. I haven’t installed SP1 on the Thinkpad X61, but had given it a go on the Asus R2H. As I mentioned in this GBM Podcast, I hadn’t really seen any improvement on the R2H (I hadn’t experienced any negative issues either) with SP1. That said, I rolled back the R2H to an earlier pre SP1 image and installed the new patches. There I’m seeing a positive difference in some areas.
Most notably I’m seeing a greatly improved startup time from a cold boot, and also when the device returns from hibernation or sleep. This is a big improvement as far as the R2H running Vista is concerned, as previously it would easiliy take 10 minutes or so before the device could be used after a reboot or a return to action. After installing KB941649, the device is now ready to go in under 3 minutes or so, which is an amazing improvement. (Let’s be honest, that’s still not anywhere close to where we’d like it to be.) As to improved battery life, from what I’m seeing on this device there is no significant change one way or the other at the moment.
I’ve also installed the patches on the Thinkpad, but haven’t really had the opportunity to test out the impact there given my schedule lately, but if I notice anything of consequence I’ll be reporting on it soon.