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 Post subject: Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) released to the public
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:53 pm 
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Microsoft released Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) to the public today (2/22/2011). Microsoft has published complete documentation covering SP1 including a list of all of the updates and changes plus release notes and installation/deployment guides. To install SP1 you can download an ISO containing the full standalone SP1 installers, which is what I recommend for updating multiple PCs instead of using Windows Update. The SP1 ISO includes the following files:

    autorun.inf - AutoRun enabler file that calls setup.exe
    setup.exe - Called by AutoRun to determine OS architecture and run the appropriate standalone installer
    windows6.1-KB976932-ia64.exe - Standalone ia64 (Itanium) SP1 installer (not used on PCs)
    windows6.1-KB976932-X64.exe - Standalone x64 (64-bit) SP1 installer
    windows6.1-KB976932-x86.exe - Standalone x86 (32-bit) SP1 installer

Once you have downloaded the SP1 ISO you can immediately install SP1 on the system where the ISO is located by using something like 7-Zip to open the ISO and run (open) the appropriate x86/x64 installer directly (extracting the file is not required). That takes care of one system quickly and easily, but for installing SP1 on multiple systems I recommend one of the following procedures:

  1. Burn the ISO to a DVD using an optical drive burning program like ImgBurn, then insert the resulting disc into the DVD or BD drives of any systems you wish to update. Once the disc is inserted AutoRun will call setup.exe to install the version of SP1 designed for the OS architecture currently running. If AutoRun is disabled you can open Windows Explorer, browse to the disc and double-click to run either setup.exe or the appropriate x86/x64 SP1 installer directly.

  2. Extract the files from the ISO using something like 7-Zip, copy them to a (2GB+) USB flash drive, then insert the drive into a USB port on any system you wish to update. Because of updates to the AutoRun/AutoPlay functionality in Windows on 8/25/2009 in order to prevent the spread of malware, AutoRun has effectively been disabled for USB flash drives. In this case once the flash drive is inserted you can open Windows Explorer, browse to the drive and double-click to run either setup.exe or the appropriate x86/x64 SP1 installer directly. Note that since the ia64 installer is not used on PCs you can delete that file before copying to the flash drive, which will allow the remaining files to fit on a 2GB drive.

  3. Extract the *.exe files from the ISO using something like 7-Zip and copy them to a shared folder on the network (note that the ia64 installer is not required since it is not used on PCs). Then on any systems you wish to update you can open Windows Explorer, browse to the shared folder on the network and double-click to run either setup.exe or the appropriate x86/x64 SP1 installer directly.

After installing SP1, once you are confident that the installation was successful and there are no problems that might want to make you uninstall it later, you can recover about 640MB worth of disk space by using Disk Cleanup to delete the "Service Pack Backup files":

Image

Optionally you can do this from a command prompt opened with Administrative Privileges using the following command:

    dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

Image

After you delete the SP1 backup files you will be unable to uninstall SP1. Deleting the backup files is especially important if you run Windows 7 on an SSD (Solid-State Drive) as they typically don't have the capacity of an HDD and the more free space they have the better they will be able to perform internal wear leveling and garbage collection.

OK, that covers installing SP1 on existing systems, but what about new ones, or when you want to reinstall Windows from scratch? The release of SP1 means that when loading or reloading Windows 7 from scratch (i.e. clean install) you now have two choices:

  1. Install using the original Windows 7 RTM (Release To Manufacturing) installation media, then install SP1 from ISO, DVD, USB flash drive or a shared folder on the network (or worse yet, install it from Windows Update), then delete the SP1 backup files to recover the wasted disk space.

  2. Install using new Windows 7 SP1 installation media that already has SP1 fully integrated (built-in).

As you can see, installing from media with SP1 integrated saves a lot of time, effort, and disk space. Unfortunately you cannot completely integrate service packs into 7/Vista installation media (like you could with Windows XP), which means you will want to acquire *new* installation media with SP1 already integrated. You could purchase a new copy of Windows 7 OEM, Retail or Upgrade with SP1 integrated (as soon as they are available), but if you have a Microsoft Technet subscription you can download the SP1 integrated installation media directly from Microsoft (in fact it was available for download on 2/16/2011).

Anybody using or supporting multiple PCs running Windows 7 will definitely want to have the standalone SP1 installers for updating existing systems as well as new Windows 7 installation media with SP1 integrated for loading or reloading systems from scratch (i.e. clean installs). Scott.


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