While Windows Vista has already endured a more troubled existence than your average red headed step child, things were meant to start looking up with the release of Service Pack 1 Release Candidate 1, but - as usual - there's a glitch.
While our First Impressions of SP1 revealed some moderate performance improvements, blog site Engadget has stumbled upon some major problems.
Using identical quad core Penryn HP xw8600 test rigs with NVidia Quadro FX 4600 graphics cards, 15,000rpm SAS hard drives and 4GB of RAM, tests revealed that despite a minor boost in PC Mark (we found the same) vital real world uses such as copying files across a wired network and hard disk file transfers have not only not been improved, they've actually gotten worse.
Across a network transferring a 1.37GB file took three minutes 37 seconds using Windows XP SP2, the known Vista bug caused the same file to take a whopping 12 minutes 58 seconds, while Vista SP1 RC1 took even longer at 15 minutes 41 seconds. Furthermore, hard drive read and write tests using those lightening 15,000rpm SAS drives produced read/write figures of 119MBps/123MBps on XP SP2, just 83MBps/61MBps on Vista and a pitiful 80MBps/53MBps on Vista SP1 RC1.
So while the Vista's preliminary service pack does bring many welcome bug fixes it isn't without major quibbles of its own.
Even more worrying, XP SP3 RC1 promises to bring an impressive 10 per cent performance boost over SP2 making the incentive to upgrade to Vista smaller than ever.
Here's hoping that 'Release Candidate' isn't quite so finalised as Microsoft had let us believe. Stay tuned for our own more extensive tests on SP1 RC1 in the New Year.