SP1 for Windows 7 delivers critical security updates and improves performance.
For those of you rocking Windows 7 -- likely the majority reading this -- Microsoft wants you running Service Pack 1 (SP1), so beginning today it will roll out automatically on Windows Update, the software giant announced in a blog post. You can avoid SP1 by disabling automatic updates, but unless you have a very specific reason to do so, you might as well upgrade, if you haven't already. SP1 contains several security patches, bug fixes, and performance tweaks to keep Windows 7 operating at peak form.
Tweaks We Expect (And Hope) To See From Windows 8 Service Pack 1
Alright, haters. Judging by many of the comments left on this week’s “Week of Windows 8” posts, a number of you aren’t huge fans of Windows 8. In fact, some of you hate it so much, the very mention of the words “Windows” and “eight” in the same sentence – unless it’s a story about “Eight ways to not install Windows 8” or something like that — sets you into a frenzy.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Micheal Kleef, Senior Technical Product Manager with the Windows Server and Cloud division, announced the Release of Manufacturing (RTM) of both Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 and Windows 7 SP1. That means the wait for general availability is almost over, and in fact you can expect Microsoft to make SP1 available on Tuesday, February 22. Windows 7 is a much more polished OS out of the box than Vista was, so should you even care?
The Windows 7 RC has been available since late October, but a leaked copy of the official release has us fairly convinced we can expect to see Windows Update pushing out the final build by the end of the month. Microsoft confirmed on Friday that it completed the RTM version of SP1, and it had been shipped out to its closest OEM partners for integration into new PC’s.
Before you get too excited however, we would remind you that there isn’t much new here. If you’re the diligent type or have Windows Update enabled and set to automatic, you probably already have 95 percent of what is being offered anyway.
A quick search on my local torrent tracker has confirmed the existence of 7601.17514.win7sp1_rtm.101119-1850 in the wild, but we highly recommend you wait for the official release. Even if this is the final version, you have no idea what other “goodies” might have been salted into the code.
Microsoft announced Monday that Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is available in public beta form. While desktop Windows 7 is looking mainly like a rollup of hotfixes, the update for Server 2008 R2 is more substantive. Server will be getting the new RemoteFX feature which will provide higher quality 3D accelerated graphics for remote users. Server 2008 R2 is also seeing dynamic memory support added.
A copy of SP1 leaked online back and April and is rumored to have USB 3.0 support and an updated Bluetooth/Wi-Fi stack. None of this has been confirmed yet, but the update isn't final yet. To try the new service pack, you have to pretend to be either a developer, or an IT professional. You'll also need a final copy of Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2. Download it here. Let us know if you give it a shot.
Microsoft plans to release the public beta of Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 by the end of next month. But it has already begun sending email invites to potential testers to join the technical beta, which is set to begin by end of June. Invites are being sent “based on the quality of feedback you have provided on previous Windows programs.” According to tech site Neowin, the email confirms that the beta will be available in English, German, Japanese, French and Spanish.
Come late July, Microsoft will release the first Service Pack for Windows 7, the Redmond outfit announced in a blog post on Monday. However, don't expect any major performance enhancements, as was the case when the first Service Pack for Vista significantly improved the overall OS experience.
"While the new features for Windows Server 2008 R2 benefit Windows 7 by providing a richer VDI experience, SP1 will not contain any new features that are specific to Windows 7 itself," Microsoft wrote. "For Windows 7, SP1 will simply be the combination of updates already available through Windows Update and additional hotfixes based on feedback by our customers and partners. In other words, customers can feel confident about deploying Windows 7 now!"
Microsoft said that it has already sold over 100 million license of Windows 7, which is in line with most analysts' figures. And following SP1, Microsoft will likely see a spike in sales, as some businesses often wait for the first Service Pack to debut before migrating to a new OS.
National computer repair outfit Rescuecom admits "there are some compelling reasons for both business and home users to move to Windows 7, but is also cautioning Windows users not to be in such a rush to upgrade until the dust settles (and bugs are squashed).
"Transferring all their data, their digital life essentially, is one of the most common, most troubling issues that users have," said Josh Kaplan, president of Rescuecom. "Even if you're doing an in-place [upgrade], if you don't have a proper backup, you're still at risk. Without the proper preparation, moving ot a new OS is risky for anybody."
According to Kaplan, putting off an upgrade until a later date sports several advantages. Drivers will inevitably mature as more computers are designed for Windows 7, and upcoming patches will help ensure a safer upgrade. But those weren't the only reasons Kaplans says Windows users should sit tight.
"Given the economy, is that really a necessary expense right?," Kaplan questions when referring to the price of Windows 7.
Vista almost seems to be an anathema, for about 3/4th of the enterprises are so unequivocal in their dislike for Vista that they don’t even intend to adopt the OS three years down the line. Around 28% envisage a move to the OS anywhere between late 2008 and 2010. Half of those surveyed are not fazed by the end of XP’s retail sales and OEM distribution.
Lesson for Microsoft: The Mojave Experiment hasn’t been able to fool incredulous enterprises and it's time that MS devoted more time to addressing Vista’s glaring performance issues. Address their grievances, the tide will surely turn.