A Windows Vista Feature Pack is basically an update to Windows Vista that adds new functionality to the Microsoft operating system. Those updates are normally included in the next full product release according to Microsoft, whatever that means. The Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless can be downloaded right now on computers that run Windows Vista and have the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 installed. Every Windows Vista edition, no matter if its Vista 32-bit or 64-bit, Basic Home or Premium can be updated with the Feature Pack.
The update includes the following components and features that improve wireless support in Windows Vista: Bluetooth version 2.1 support, Unified Pairing user interface, Windows Connect Now updates.
The interesting part of the Microsoft KnowledgeBase article is how you acquire the update. No, it is not available on the website directly. And no, it is not available using Windows Updates, Microsoft Updates or Automatic Updates.
Users have to contact their computer manufacturer to get the update. Am I the only person that thinks that this distribution method is questionable and impracticable? Microsoft is displaying a list of manufacturers divided into three parts on the article's website. When you click on one you get a huge list of hardware vendors. Now, who do you call when you build the computer yourself? The company that created the motherboard, cpu, network adapter?
What did Microsoft think by choosing this distribution system?
Update: Windows Vista Service Pack 2 includes support for all the features mentioned above. It is therefor no longer necessary to download and install the Vista Feature Pack for wireless to add the functionality to the operating system. All you need to do is download and install the second service pack, if you have not done so already.
You can download Windows Vista Service Pack 2 from the Microsoft website. Make sure you select the proper version that matches your operating system.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.