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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Vista SP1 Update - 1 Hour 8 minutes to Install, wow!

Several weeks ago I found out that Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 was available. The only problem, it seemed to only be available to TechNet subscribers. Then last week, I saw a note that the service pack 1 for Vista was widely available. However, the SP1 update for my 64-bit system did not even show up in Windows Update as advertised. Trying to find the update, I went to Microsoft's Download Center to try and download it for my Vista Ultimate installation. If only I could find it.

Rather than being a clear link for the Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 1, the searching provide a number of links to overview information rather than SP1 itself. Even within those articles, there was no link to a download file. Surprising.

Finally, I decided to try the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Five Language Standalone (KB936330) link and found. While the description of the article directs you to a smaller version of the download through Microsoft Update, nothing was showing up in Microsoft Update for me. This was reduce the size of the download from the 700MB size for my 64-bit (x64) system. So, I downloaded the larger version.

Note: Since I started composing this post I read that this is a known issue. If the Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 Update is not showing up for you. go to KB948343 for a possible fix. I will be trying this before I apply this update to Ashley's computer.

After downloading the 700MB+ for the complete installation, I started the process to update Vista. Here is the process I went through, as well as what surprised me.

Vista SP1 Upgrade Update Solutions Problems Fixes 1General introduction here, nothing really interesting to note. Just clicked 'Next' and proceeded.

Vista SP1 Upgrade Update Solutions Problems Fixes 2Standard boiler plate licensing terms for the Vista SP1 upgrade. Does anyone read these entire things?

Vista SP1 Upgrade Update Solutions Problems Fixes 3Final necessary information. Good to know information, especially the automatic reboots. Remember to save any open items.

Vista SP1 Upgrade Update Solutions Problems Fixes 4Wow! This update may take one hour or more? Even on this desktop. What is this Windows NT 4.0 SP6a or 7? Probably the most surprising thing that any update would take this long. Especially since my Windows Vista experience on this machine is in the mid 4's range.

What was the total time my machine took? One hour, eight minutes with a couple of reboots. If you do not have a Windows experience rating of 4 our higher, be warned that it could take much, much longer -- days? To me, an update this large and time consuming is unacceptable. It takes less time to initially setup Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate than it does to update it to Service Pack 1.

At least I did not encounter any major issues with the update. This is in fact the most important thing about any Microsoft Service Pack. In the tens of thousands that I have been involved with applying to desktops and servers alike -- it is nice to not worry about applying an upgrade. To have a certain level of trust to apply upgrades within a month of their release is a real step forward. A backhanded compliment yes, but true none the less. I remember a time when you held your breath with every machine that had a Microsoft Operating System Service Pack on it -- remember Service Pack 6 for Windows NT anyone? It has gotten progressively better, and has established more trust. While the bloated size and length of time to install is a nuisance, it is far better than being subjected to rebuiding a machine from scratch.

Still, as with any major update -- backup your critical files before proceeding.

On the other hand, I have noticed zero changes in terms of performance or benefits from the fixes offered in Windows Vista Service Pack 1. I do have few minor issues in Vista with remote printing and Remote Desktop (RDP) that I will retest over the next couple of days.

What's in Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 1? Here are the links that have information about Microsoft Windows Vista SP1: