Installing Vista SP1 on the machines you don’t manage

Vista SP1 is now available from MVLS, the download center, and from Windows Update.  As a trusted IT admin in Education what should you communicate to your constituents?  Here is some fodder.

What changes in Vista SP1?

Microsoft has published a website devoted to this topic -

As you might expect, there is a focus on performance and remediation of any issues that have come up since Vista was released.  A short list from the site is below.

  • Faster copying or extracting files from a compressed mode.

  • Better use of network bandwidth when browsing file shares over a network.

  • Improved performance from Windows ReadyBoost in reducing the time it takes for Windows to wake up from Hibernate and Standby power modes.

  • Better power consumption when your computer screen is idle for a long time.

  • Improved logon experience when using a corporate computer, such as a laptop, outside of the corporate network.

  • Faster opening of large image files.

How do I install SP1 for Vista?

Microsoft has also published a site devoted to this topic -

There are best practices to keep in mind any time you make a major change to your computer.  There is a good list of those practices available on the site, which I am copy/pasting here.

  • Back up important files. Because this is a significant update to the Windows operating system, it is a good idea to back up your personal files before beginning the installation.

  • Make sure you have enough free disk space. Installing SP1 can require a substantial amount of free disk space, up to 4.5 gigabytes (GB) in some cases, though much of that space will be free again after the installation. If you need to create free disk space on your computer, see Strategies for freeing disk space.

  • Update any device drivers as necessary. You can do this by using Windows Update, or by going to the device manufacturer's website. For more information, see Repair or update a driver.

  • If you have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to your computer, disconnect the connecting serial cable before installing SP1. The installation automatically attempts to detect devices connected to serial ports, and UPS equipment can cause problems with the detection process. It's fine to leave your computer connected to a UPS for power.

  • If you are using a laptop computer, connect it to an AC electrical outlet and don’t unplug or restart the computer during installation.

  • Close all open programs. Note that if your antivirus program is on, it might slow the installation by scanning each file that is part of the installation.

When you are ready to install, you can either download and install SP1 or let Windows Update install it for you.  Step by step directions for both processes, as well as the process to uninstall SP1 should go wrong, are included at the SP1 install site given in the URL above.  [This would be a good time to provide guidance on any services you have setup locally like WSUS]

When should I install SP1 for Vista?

This is an opportunity to stand out as a trusted advisor.  Keep in mind that SP1 went through massive testing programs prior to release, but given that each and every environment is different and unique there is nothing wrong with you testing SP1 with your unique set of applications and hardware before recommending it to your constituents.  With that in mind...

We have tested SP1 on our (current set / most popular set) of desktops and laptops as well as working with (most of your applications / x critical application / student information system / digital curriculum) and feel comfortable making a recommendation to install when you are ready.


For your own preparation and getting up to speed on the tools/resources at your disposal for SP1, see the following TechNet site.  This site includes a link to the tool for blocking SP1 from being installed over Windows Update, if you find compatibility issues or need to reserve more time for testing.

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