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.
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:
- You are already running Vista SP1.
- Vista SP1 is not yet available in the language of your installation.
- Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool has been used to block the delivery of Vista SP1.
- You've already tried to install Vista SP1, and the installation failed.
- You have an incompatible device driver installed.
- You currently have a prerelease version of Vista SP1 installed.
- You have used the third-party program vLite to configure your system.
- You have not installed all the prerequisite updates.
Accessing SP1Accessing 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).
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).
SP1 is indeed ready for installation.
Installing SP1Once you click the Install button, you'll encounter a UAC (Figure C). Respond accordingly.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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."
The System page in Windows Vista will now display a new copyright date and list the edition as Service Pack 1.
If you want to get more detailed information about Vista SP1, check out these documents from Microsoft.
- Overview of Windows Vista SP1
- Notable changes in Windows Vista SP1
- Release Notes for Windows Vista Service Pack 1
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!
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.