On March 18, 2008, Microsoft released Windows Vista Service Pack 1. Unless you disabled Automatic Updates in your version of Windows Vista, it is automatically set up to download and install important updates, so Service Pack 1 already should be installed on your computer. However, Service Pack 1 may not be installed and may not even be available for download on your computer for good reason – your computer may not be ready for it, and installing Service Pack 1 could cause problems.
In this article, I show you how to check your system for the presence of Service Pack 1, make sure Automatic Updates is enabled, and offer some guidance on how to ready your system for Service Pack 1, so you can safely download and install Service Pack 1.
Is Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Already Installed?
To determine whether Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is already installed, take the following steps:
- Click Start (the button in the lower-left corner of the screen).
- Right-click Computer.
- Click Properties. The Properties dialog box appears.
- Look under “Windows edition.” If “Service Pack 1” is displayed, it is already installed.
Turning On Automatic Updates in Windows Vista
If Service Pack 1 is not installed, you can download and install it yourself, but I discourage you from doing so. To avoid causing problems with device drivers that are known to conflict with Service Pack 1, Microsoft does not offer Service Pack 1 as an automatic update for computers on which these drivers are loaded. You’re better off making sure Automatic Updates is enabled and letting it decide when to install Service Pack 1.
Letting Automatic Updates download and install Service Pack 1 benefits you in two ways:
- If you download and install Service Pack 1 yourself, you have to download a huge installation file. When Automatic Updates does it for you, it checks to see whether some of the files included in Service Pack 1 are already installed and downloads only the files you need.
- Automatic Updates checks your system to ensure that it can install Service Pack 1 safely on your computer.
To check (and perhaps change) your Automatic Update settings, do the following:
- Click Start.
- Click All Programs.
- Click Windows Update.
- Click Change Settings.
- Make sure Install Updates Automatically is selected. (You can change the day and time on which Automatic Updates checks for, downloads, and installs updates.)
- Click OK.
Learn More About Service Pack 1
Microsoft offers several articles about Service Pack 1. If Service Pack 1 is already installed and you’ve encountered no problems, you can safely skip these articles. If Service Pack 1 is not installed or shown as an available update, if you want to know more about Service Pack 1 before installing it, or if you installed it and are encountering problems, here are some resources you can tap for additional information:
- “Information about Windows Vista Service Pack 1“
- “How to obtain the latest Windows Vista service pack“
- “Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is not available for installation from Windows Update and is not offered by Automatic Updates“
- Support for Windows Vista, including support for Service Pack 1
Download and Install Updated Device Drivers
One of the biggest issues that can get in the way of installing Windows Vista Service Pack 1 on your computer is potential conflicts with existing device drivers. If you have a device driver that’s preventing Windows Service Pack 1 from automatically installing on your computer, contact the manufacturer for an updated driver.
The article “Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is not available for installation from Windows Update and is not offered by Automatic Updates” contains a list of drivers that are known to conflict with Service Pack 1.
The article “Information about Windows Vista Service Pack 1” Microsoft also provides contact information for various manufacturers, but you can obtain a directory of manufacturers along with their contact information at http://support.microsoft.com/gp/vendors/en -us.