Microsoft must be prepping for the release of Vista SP1 RC1 this week because they have posted several documents that outline some of the features found in the upcoming Service Pack. One particular document covers the notable changes that have been implemented in Vista SP1 thusfar, and it has over 10 pages worth of bulleted lists covering some of the great additions.
One item in particular caught the eye of the Neowin editors. It discusses a feature dubbed hotpatching, which will enable patching of Windows components without needing to restart your computer. More specifically, it says that Vista SP1…
Enables support for hotpatching, a reboot-reduction servicing technology designed to maximize uptime. It works by allowing Windows components to be updated (or “patched”) while they are still in use by a running process. Hotpatch-enabled update packages are installed via the same methods as traditional update packages, and will not trigger a system reboot.
This is a feature that was outlined two years ago, and was originally supposed to ship with Vista. I’m not sure if non-Microsoft applications will be able to take advantage of this improved update process, but it will surely improve the user’s experience if they can.
One concern that I do have is the security behind such a system. Will viruses and malware now be able to install and activate themselves without even needing the user to restart the system? I’m sure Microsoft has tried to plug any backdoors, but it’s inevitable that hackers will try to take advantage of this new update technique.