Microsoft recently began shipping Windows 7 Service Pack 1. Initially available through direct download, Microsoft is now including Windows 7 SP1 as part of the regular Windows Update service that automatically downloads and installs priority updates for Microsoft products. Windows 7 SP1 is available for all editions of Windows 7 including Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate.
Inside Windows 7 Service Pack 1
Released to the general public on February 22, 2011, Windows 7 SP1 is a rollup of security patches, minor bug fixes along with a few tweaks that improve existing features. In reality SP1 does not contain a huge number of changes for computers that have been downloading and installing the monthly updates that Microsoft sends out regularly. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is a healthy dose of security fixes and minor updates rolled into a single installation package.
A notable fix in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is the HDMI audio problem that some people have experienced. There have been a lot of reports about the loss of HDMI audio devices after rebooting a computer. Problems with printing when using the XPS Viewer have also been fixed.
Another fix included in SP1 is the way that Windows 7 restores folders after logging on. Prior to SP1, previous folders would be restored in a cascaded position based on the location of the most recently active folder. That behavior changes in SP1 so that all folders are restored to their previous positions. For example, it is now possible to change the “Restore previous folders at logon” function that is governed by the Folder Options Explorer dialog.
How to Install Windows 7 SP1
There are two options for installing SP1: Download the pack directly from Microsoft or wait for Microsoft to download the service pack directly to your computer as part of the standard Windows Update process. For direct download the Service Pack comes in a file over 500MB in size. When installing through the Microsoft Update process the size of the Service Pack will vary depending on the Windows 7 updates that have previously been installed.
Using the Windows Update service is the recommended method for installing SP1. If you would like to download the service pack directly from Microsoft’s website you can follow this link: http://windows.microsoft.com/installwindows7sp1
Installation times may vary from 30 – 60 minutes on average depending on your computer’s performance. This was confirmed through several installations I have done. Aside from the time required installations have been smooth and error-free. There was one exception where the Service Pack did not complete the installation process and Windows Update returned an error message. By rebooting and retrying the process everything completed without any problems.
SP1 is not actually essential item for installation. However, it is worth having for the fixes that it does supply. With SP1 installed you’ll know you have all previous Windows 7 security fixes and other updates installed. Plus, at some point you may need SP1 installed to receive additional future updates.
Considerations Prior to Installation of Windows 7 Service Pack 1
- As with the installation of any major operating system or software component it is encouraged to close all applications prior to installation. Rebooting the computer and turning off any antivirus programs prior to installing the SP may also be beneficial. You will be prompted to restart your computer after the service pack installation is complete.
- Install all other available updates before installing SP1 including the KB2454826 Update. This Update will automatically be installed when you install the service pack by using Windows Update. However, Windows Update KB2454826 is not automatically installed when you install the service pack from the Microsoft Download Center.
- Scan your computer for malware by using antivirus/antimalware software that is up to date.
- If you are using a portable computer, make sure that you connect your power adapter to an electrical outlet prior to installation of the Service Pack. Do not unplug or restart the computer during the installation.
- Make sure that you save your work and close all open programs before you begin the installation process.
This first Windows 7 Service Pack was released approximately 16 months following the official release of Windows 7 in October 2009. This is 5 months longer than it took Microsoft to release the first service pack for Windows XP back in September 2002.