It's always frustrating when an update to one program from a company breaks compatibility with another program from the same company.  In the case of Microsoft, the Windows 2003 SP1 Admin tools (adminpak.msi) do not work on Windows Vista. 

The list of known issues (and some workarounds) are being tracked in KB 930056: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/930056.  The primary workaround involves re-registering all of the .dlls involved with the Admin tools, and the solution is documented in the above KB.

I know from talking to a number of Microsoft Partners that this is extremely frustrating, and I have been monitoring the internal discussion aliases for a resolution.  In reading through the changes in the March 2007 Windows Vista Application Compatibility Update, I noticed the following today:

The March 2007 Windows Vista Application Compatibility Update is a package of software updates that address common application compatibility issues in Windows Vista. When you try to install and run certain legacy games or applications in Windows Vista, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

•The game, the application, or the firmware may not be installed correctly.

•The game, the application, or the firmware may cause system instability.

•The primary functions of the game, the application, or the firmware may not work correctly.

This update is cumulative and supersedes update 929427. In addition to the fixes that are contained in update 929427, this update improves support in Windows Vista for the following games, applications, and firmware:

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Administration Tools Pack

Does this resolve some or all of the problems running the 2003 Administrative tools on a Windows Vista administrative workstation?  I certainly hope so!  I have pinged the Vista team to find out if I can get any clarification on the changes made, and as soon as I hear back, I will update this posting.  I don't currently have a 2003 domain setup at home to test the tools, but will try to test the functionality after applying the update when I get back to work on Monday.

Note:  This update is listed as "Optional", so it will not be automatically pushed out through Windows Update.  You can manually run Windows Update and choose to install the compatibility update, or it can also be downloaded from the following site (which also lists the other compatibly fixes present in this update: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932246

I also see that this update is being tracked over on the 4sysops site, and I would imagine that admins will start posting their experiences in the comments after loading the update:  http://4sysops.com/archives/vista-compatibility-update-for-the-adminpak/