To install important updates like Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2), you need to have enough free disk space on your computer (though much of that space will be reclaimed after the installation). If your hard disk is getting full, you need to free up disk space to install SP2.

To view the amount of free space on your hard disk

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then click Computer.
  2. Click the hard disk you want to check.

    The total size and available free space appear in the details pane at the bottom of the folder window.

Show all

SP2 disk space requirements

The amount of free disk space you need before installing SP2 depends on what method you use to install SP2.

Installation method Approximate disk space requirements
Installation method

Windows Update

Approximate disk space requirements

Automatic updating requires the least amount of disk space and is the recommended way to get SP2.

  • x86-based: 684 MB

  • x64-based: 863 MB

Installation method

Downloading SP2 from the Microsoft website

Approximate disk space requirements

You can also download SP2 from the Microsoft website. This method requires more disk space than using Windows Update.

  • x86-based: 1.8 GB to 3 GB

  • x64-based: 3.2 GB to 5 GB

Installation method

Integrated installation

Approximate disk space requirements

This is an advanced method used by IT professionals to deploy both Windows and SP2 together to many computers, typically in an enterprise or business environment.

  • x86-based: 10 GB

  • x64-based: 13 GB

SP1 disk space requirements

The amount of free disk space you need before installing SP1 depends on what method you use to install SP1.

Installation method Approximate disk space requirements
Installation method

Windows Update

Approximate disk space requirements

Automatic updating requires the least amount of disk space and is the recommended way to get SP1.

  • x86-based: 1,200 MB

  • x64-based: 1,500 MB

Installation method

Downloading SP1 from the Microsoft website

Approximate disk space requirements

You can also download SP1 from the Microsoft website. This method requires more disk space than using Windows Update.

  • x86-based: 2,500 MB to 5,450 MB

  • x64-based: 4,100 MB to 7,850 MB

Installation method

Integrated installation

Approximate disk space requirements

This is an advanced method used by IT professionals to deploy both Windows and SP1 together to many computers, typically in an enterprise or business environment.

15 GB

If you see low disk space errors when trying to install a service pack for Windows Vista, or if you just want to free up disk space, here are some things you can do:

  • Run Disk Cleanup. This tool removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and removes a variety of system files and other items that you no longer need. For more information, see Delete files using Disk Cleanup.

  • Uninstall old programs. In addition to deleting old files you no longer want, you can do the same for programs that you no longer use. For more information, see Uninstall or change a program.

  • Delete all but the most recent restore point. System Restore uses restore points to return your system files to the state they were in at an earlier point in time. If your computer is running normally, you can save disk space by deleting the earlier restore points. For more information, see Delete files using Disk Cleanup.

  • Archive old files to CD or DVD. If you have old photos that you want to keep but don't necessarily want on your computer, consider archiving them to removable media, such as a DVD or CD. That way, you’ll be able to view them whenever you'd like, but they won't take up space on your computer. For more information, see Burn a CD or DVD.

  • Add another hard disk drive. Adding an external hard disk drive is an easy way to create plenty of extra space to store digital photos, videos, music, and other files and to clear some space on your primary hard disk. To install an external hard disk drive, all you have to do is plug it in to your computer and connect the power cord. Most of these hard disk drives plug into a USB port, but some plug into a Firewire port (also known as IEEE 1394). For additional instructions, check the information that came with your external hard disk drive.

    Note

    • If you move your music files from your computer's hard disk to an external disk, you might need to change settings in your media player so that you can play the files from their new location. For more information about how to change these settings, check the information that came with your media player. For more information about how to change these settings in Windows Media Player, see Add items to the Windows Media Player library.