Service Pack 1 introduces support for some new hardware and software standards, notably the exFAT file system, 802.11n wireless networking, IPv6 over VPN connections, and the Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol. Booting a system using Extensible Firmware Interface on x64 systems is also being introduced; this feature had originally been slated for the initial release of Vista but was delayed due to a lack of compatible hardware at the time.
Two areas have seen changes in Service Pack 1 that have come as the result of concerns from software vendors. One of these is desktop search; users will be able to change the default desktop search program to one provided by a third party instead of the Microsoft desktop search program that comes with Windows Vista, and desktop search programs will be able to seamlessly tie in their services into the operating system. These changes come in part due to complaints from Google, whose Google Desktop Search application was hindered by the presence of Vista's built-in desktop search. In June 2007, Google claimed that the changes being introduced for Service Pack 1 "are a step in the right direction, but they should be improved further to give consumers greater access to alternate desktop search providers."The other area of note is a set of new security APIs being introduced for the benefit of antivirus software that currently relies on the unsupported practice of patching the kernel.
An update to DirectX 10, named DirectX 10.1, makes mandatory several features which were previously optional in Direct3D 10 hardware. Graphics cards will be required to support DirectX 10.1. Service Pack 1 includes a kernel (6001) that matches the version shipped with Windows Server 2008.
The Group Policy Management Console is being replaced by the Group Policy Object Editor. An updated downloadable version of the Group Policy Management Console is planned for release in the same time frame as the release of the service pack.