Question: I’ve heard about things called “Service Packs” for Windows and for Microsoft Office. What is a “Service Pack” and do I need them?
Answer: According to Microsoft, “Service packs are the means by which product updates are distributed. Service packs may contain updates for system reliability, program compatibility, security, and more. All of these updates are conveniently bundled for easy downloading.”
Service Packs for Windows and Office
Services packs (SP) come out roughly every 12 – 18 months for most Microsoft products. In the last few months Microsoft has released a Service Pack for Windows Vista (SP1), Windows XP (SP3), Office 2003 (SP3), and Office 2007 (SP1). Each of these contains bug fixes, patches, updates and some even contain new functionality.
Recommendations for Microsoft Service Packs
We recommend installing Service Packs as they become available. Sometimes Microsoft will automatically transfer (push) these item down to your system across the Internet. Sometimes it will depend on how you have your Windows Update service configured. Service Packs can be large (60 MB – 300 MB) and can take a while to install fully. Be sure to close all other programs before installing a Service Pack and let the process run to completion.