Windows

Installing Windows Vista Service Pack 1

The arrival of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 signals the arrival of a more solid environment, fixes to some annoying problems, and the possibility of some new features. Greg Shultz shows you exactly how the Vista SP1 upgrade procedure works.

Last week, Microsoft officially unleashed Windows Vista Service Pack 1 ("SP1") to the public at large. As is the tradition for some folks, when it comes to a new Windows operating system, the SP1 stage signals that the time is right to upgrade from Windows XP. For those of us who decided to take that plunge at the time of the operating system's initial release, the SP1 stage signals the arrival of a more solid environment, fixes to some annoying problems, and the possibility of some new features. Will Vista SP1 deliver on all these expectations? Only time and experience will tell for sure. However, I wholeheartedly recommend that you upgrade your system to Vista SP1. In this issue of the Windows Vista Report, I'll show you exactly how the Vista SP1 upgrade procedure works. Let's take a look.

Availability

Microsoft put Vista SP1 into the Windows Update system on March 18 with a larger release via Vista's Automatic Updates feature beginning in mid-April. However, if you don't want to wait for it to come to you, you can go to Windows Update and manually download it now. However, keep in mind that Vista SP1 may not show up on Windows Update for your particular computer. There are eight possible causes for a no-show, all explained in detail in a Microsoft Help and Support article titled "Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Is Not Available For Installation From Windows Update And Is Not Offered By Automatic Updates." Here is a brief overview of the eight possible causes:

  1. You are already running Vista SP1.
  2. Vista SP1 is not yet available in the language of your installation.
  3. Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool has been used to block the delivery of Vista SP1.
  4. You've already tried to install Vista SP1, and the installation failed.
  5. You have an incompatible device driver installed.
  6. You currently have a prerelease version of Vista SP1 installed.
  7. You have used the third-party program vLite to configure your system.
  8. You have not installed all the prerequisite updates.

Accessing SP1

Accessing Windows Update from within Vista is a snap! Just click Start, select All Programs, and then select Windows Update. When you get to the Windows Update page, you'll see a single, very large update waiting in the queue (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

If you see a single, very large update in Windows Update, you'll know that SP1 is ready for download.
You can confirm that the update in the queue is indeed SP1 by following the View Available Updates link. When you do, you'll see the View Available Updates page (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

SP1 is indeed ready for installation.

Installing SP1

Once you click the Install button, you'll encounter a UAC (Figure C). Respond accordingly.

Figure C

Figure C

Before beginning the SP1 download and installation procedure, you'll encounter a UAC.
As soon as you deal with the UAC, you'll return to the Windows Update page and SP1 will begin downloading. As you can see in Figure D, my example download was about 67 MB. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, the download may take some time. The download on my example system took about 30 minutes to complete.

Figure D

Figure D

As soon as you click the Continue button in the UAC dialog box, SP1 will begin downloading.
Once the download finishes, you'll see the Install Windows Service Pack wizard appear on the screen (Figure E), and the first phase of the actual installation procedure will begin.

Figure E

Figure E

As soon as the download is complete, the installation begins with the display of the Install Windows Service Pack wizard.
To get started, click the Next button. The wizard consists of a total of three screens, with the main objective of prompting you to accept the Microsoft Software License Terms (Figure F).

Figure F

Figure F

You cannot install Vista SP1 without agreeing to the license terms.
As soon as you're done with the wizard, you'll return to the Windows Update page and SP1 will automatically begin the first phase of the installation procedure (Figure G). As it does, the green progress bar will flash and slowly advance. On my example system, this phase of the installation procedure took about 20 minutes to complete.

Figure G

Figure G

After you agree to accept the license terms, the installation will begin.
When this first phase of the installation is complete, you'll see a prompt to restart the system (Figure H). Click the Restart Now button.

Figure H

Figure H

When the first phase of the installation is complete, click the Restart Now button.
Immediately following the system restart, the second phase of the installation procedure will commence. This phase consists of three stages during which you'll see the progress as a percentage displayed on the Aurora background (Figure I). Between each stage, the system will automatically restart. On my example system, these three stages, including the two restarts, took about 40 minutes.

Figure I

Figure I

During the three stages of this phase of the installation procedure, you'll see the progress displayed on the Aurora background.

As the third stage nears its end, the standard user interface will return while the final configuration appears in the background. On my example system, the entire installation procedure from starting the download to the return of the regular user interface took about an hour and a half. Of course, your mileage will vary.

As soon as the installation is complete, do not be surprised if your antivirus software kicks in. On my example system, which is running AVG Anti-Virus, a full scan automatically initiated due to the changes in the major operating system files. While the scan was in progress, I pressed [Windows][Break] and accessed the System page to check the Windows Edition section. The System page (Figure J) displays the new copyright date as 2007, along with the words "Service Pack 1."

Figure J

Figure J

The System page in Windows Vista will now display a new copyright date and list the edition as Service Pack 1.

Further information

If you want to get more detailed information about Vista SP1, check out these documents from Microsoft.

What's your take on Vista SP1?

Now that you've seen how the manual Vista SP1 upgrade works, are you eager to perform the upgrade on your system? If you've already installed Vista SP1 on your system, how are things going? Is your system more stable? Is it faster? Please drop by the Discussion area and let us hear from you.

Get Vista tips in your mailbox!

Delivered each Friday, TechRepublic's Windows Vista Report newsletter features tips, news, and scuttlebutt on Vista development, as well as a look at new features in the latest version of the Windows OS. Automatically sign up today!

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

39 comments
abuamnas
abuamnas

failure to install Vista Service Pack 1 I have a similar problem. Since 4 weeks I am trying to install SP 1 and KB947562 on my brand new Dell-Inspiron 1525 laptop and failed completely. Support from Microsoft professional teams did not bring any benefit. Dell refused to intervene in software things. The laptop is still under warranty. What should i do? Please help.

alevine
alevine

I have a Tosahiba Laptop w/120G gard drive & 2G memory. Tried installing VISTA SP1 - installed & then said it could't complete the install & reversed the files, so I do not have SP1 on my VISTA laptop. Has anyone else had this problem?? I'd like to hear from you & would be very interested in a solution. Please email me at: levine.ag@gmail.com Thank you, Alan Levine

johnc311
johnc311

I INSTALLED THE STANDALONE SP1 AND HAVE ONE MAJOR PROBLEM SO FAR. E-MAIL (THUNDERBIRD) OPENS FOR ABOUT 2-3 SECONDS THE THEN BLUE SCREEN & SYSTEM SHUTS DOWN & REBOOTS. THE BLUE SCREEN IS NOT SHOWING LONG ENOUGH TO READ WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. THE INSTALLATION WAS REPORTED AS "SUCCESSFUL".

rdixon8289
rdixon8289

I am still disapionted with VISTA as far as very slow file transfer speeds fromm HDD to HDD or across a network, e.g. 256KBS service pack 1 did not fix this problem as Microsoft said it would....

rpbert4
rpbert4

Mine came via Windows Update and it took less than 1/2 hour with no hangups. I haven't noticed any significant changes

mrcsg3
mrcsg3

Crashes my pc whenever i exit hybernation or sleep mode.

Fyrewerx
Fyrewerx

Of my four custom built, top-of-the-line gear PCs, three were successfully upgraded to SP1. Unfortunately, my MAIN PC, with Ultimate, failed miserably. A short time after Phase 3 of 3 gets to 100%, the dreaded "Service Pack did not install. Reverting changes." error message is displayed. The process successfully puts the PC back to pre-SP1 status. I have been working with MS Support for more than a week and a half, without success. In fact, my PC is probably in a little worse shape now. Among the multitude of things they had me "try", included the extremely painful "In-Place Upgrade" to repair any corrupt files. Following that, and before you can get back to attempting SP1 install, you must re-install every Windows Update since Vista came out. Unfortunately, Vista chokes if you leave ALL the updates checked. I ended up having to do ONE at a time (actually, I figured out it went a little faster if I updated several according to Patch Tuesday dates). You have to restart after every update. SP1 still fails, and I am still in touch with MS Support. I have tried the Windows Update version of SP1, plus the Standalone version (per MS Support instruction) - multiple times each. So far, no luck with the upgrade.

tonibradley
tonibradley

So where do I get help with a failed installation? Windows Update doesn't seem to be aware that I still need to do the update, even though the history listing shows the SP1 install failed. toni b tonibradley@yahoo.com

spburry
spburry

I recently installed the new Service Pack 1, but my printer stopped working. The driver seemed to be missing?? I re-installed my printer and all the drivers and still no luck. I then used system restore to remove the service pack and the printer now works great. Very strange ....... Anyone have any input??

geoff
geoff

I was unable to install SP1 and contacted their free chat-based technical support. After about an hour of back and forth with no real progress, the tech suggested I uninstall Symantec Antivirus and try the installation again. I did and was able to successfully install SP1. The tech confirmed that Symantec Antivirus blocks many of the installations they receive calls about. I was able to reinstall Symantec Antivirus after the SP1 install without any problems.

phildwish
phildwish

This is not good for those who use Novell ZCM 10, as there is not update yet, from Novell.

ramuvr
ramuvr

I Installed it yesterday nite. Seems Ok. Took a while to install. The last 1 of 3 screen took a while while 2 of 3 was a black one with some registry updation sort of entries flashing by, 3 of 3 was grphical. I wil monitor the system for 3 days before I comment further. there has been so much talk about slow boot up after SP1 but I found the shutdown faster now!!

rishiaditya
rishiaditya

The computer is faster than before, but don't know why the idle memory usage shows as 49% while before installing SP1, it was idle at 33%....will check and get back...

junxliaw
junxliaw

I installed it and my Internet connection died. Literally. I have a lan card and a Wifi card in my PC and both were unable to log onto my home network no matter WHAT I did.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

Rather than let my wife play the guinea pig, I installed SP1 last Friday. It seems to have improved things somewhat. For example, start-up and shut down no longer take enough time to make a sandwich. So far the only issue is that I had a failure when trying to burn a DVD, but it might have been a bad disk. I won't know until I try again. Other than the DVD issue, things are somewhat better, but not enough to justify trying Vista if there's another alternative.

jagx1
jagx1

i got the same thing,windows vista aked me to install service pack1 and i did as it said after nearly an hour of waiting, for it to tell me it couldnt install it and was reverting back, this is so annoyoying, after trying for the 8th time i just give up at the end. and im running amd phenom9500 quad core with 2gb of ram and 500gb hard drive and top of the range graphics card,so i dont know wat is causing it maybe service pack1 has a problem with it

riki
riki

There are a couple of things to look into, first of which should be the install log and see if it reveals the error, next check the event logs. After installing Vista SP1 on a number of systems the only one I had a failure was because of the Anti-Virus software or the security center, dis-abled it until after the completion of the SP1 install re-inabled it and all is fine. Also you may want to check updates on line to see if there are any updates that need to be address before SP1.

tr
tr

As soon as I disabled the native ZIP archive support and went to WinZIP for that capability, Vista transfers files across the network in a very speedy manner. The evaluating dialog is up for a fraction of what it was--if you even see it. Vista's ZIP support tries to evaluate each and every archive and display it as a folder. Even if there are no archives in the directory that you are copying from/to, this scanning slows the system and the process to a crawl.

floydtomt
floydtomt

Windows may think SP1 has installed, even though it hasn't..... Go to http//support.microsoft.com/kb/936330 and read the section "More Information" and follow steps 2 and 3.

grax
grax

The good news is that your restore worked! The real question is: "Would one really want to spend an hour messing with something that might, very likely, go seriously wrong?" After all, I could load Ubuntu in 30 mins. including partitions for a dual boot. Still, if you "upgraded" to Vista you have to go along for the ride.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

What brand of printer do you have? What is the model? Have you checked the manufacuter Web site?

riki
riki

My install took longer than I expected and had some mixed results. The biggest issue I had was the Broadcom Wireless NIC would not wakeup after restoring from hibernation, I would have to reboot. I fix this by reinstalling the Broadcom driver and now all seems to be fine. I did a little seaching onthe web for services that could be turned off and some testing help the system even more. I word of caution reseach the service before you start and proceed with care, you may leave yourself with a brick and need to start over by reloading the OS.

kizersosay28
kizersosay28

If your like me and you are always moving a lot of files around, then you noticed it doesn't take 5 minutes to move a couple of files anymore. I used to get a screen telling me it was calculating the time it would take for the move to complete, and nothing would happen or so it seemed. Now the files just move like expect them to. That's worth the upgrade in itself.

d_macbeth
d_macbeth

I had the same problem on my HP. While searching the web for help I found a forum message suggesting HP will roll out their own release for some system configurations in April. Can't find anything about this on the HP website.

Jaytmoon
Jaytmoon

I installed it on Monday to Vista Ultimate. The install went smoothly, no hitches, no BSOD. Once the process was complete (identical to the narration) except it only took about 50 minutes, my AV (norton) anounced it was disabled. Once I rebooted (again) all was well and everything is working perfectly. My system (home built) is composed of only major brand components and supporting 'ware that have been sold for several years. The lack of update glitches I contribute to this fact. I do not, however, notice much difference in the overall performance. I have not tried to move large files around yet though!

amj2010
amj2010

how about windows vista fax and scan? still get the error 'media write protected'... and the windows media center does not have all the codecs if you want to playback your video.. use windows dvd maker....nice video's.

rdixon8289
rdixon8289

How did you disable the vista ZIP Support??

spburry
spburry

I gave it another try ....... and my printer now works fine. Must have been a failed installation on the first attempt. Thanks for you input!

mathelm
mathelm

Did anyone notice a increase in HD space? I've installed it on 5 different systems an it freed up between 6 and 9gig on each.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

What is it with Windows DVD Maker? It hangs more than Judge Roy Bean? While I do admit that it does a nice job, I'm not sure that it is worth the frustration.

richard.miller
richard.miller

It now takes twice as long to open the connect too box, after SP1 install. I haven't fundamentally seen any improvement, and this one obvious detraction!

kizersosay28
kizersosay28

That is because the upgrade erases all your previous restore points.

mathelm
mathelm

Have had SP1 installed on 64bit premium, e6700,2gig ram for a couple weeks now, and have burned 4 or 5 DVD's with no problems. These were however only 10-15 minutes long...

jwaasdorp
jwaasdorp

I've been using DVD maker a lot over the last year. I haven't had a single hang up or crash. Its done a beautiful job. I've used Ulead Video studio for years prior, but its quite unstable and buggy on Vista. Haven't installed SP1 yet. I'm going to wait for a while to see if any nasty surprises pop up on all of you guys' machines first!

floydtomt
floydtomt

After installing SP1, my broadband internet connection vanished. Received error "USB adapter driver invalid". After uninstalling/re-installing, same thing, plus I got error "MDAC 2.1 or later must be installed", even though I have MDAC 2.8 installed. Uninstalled again, everything back to normal.

Editor's Picks