Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) includes support for new types of hardware and emerging hardware standards and includes all of the updates that have been released since SP1. For more information, see What's included in Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2).
The recommended (and easiest) way to get SP2 is to turn on automatic updating in Windows Update in Control Panel, and wait for Windows Vista to notify you that SP2 is ready to install. You just need a few clicks to begin the installation and the rest of the process is automatic.
In order to install SP2, you must first have Windows Vista Service Pack 1 installed. For more information, see Learn how to install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).
If Service Pack 2 is listed in the Windows edition section, SP2 is already installed on your computer and you don't need to follow the instructions below.
Before you install SP2, we recommend you do the following:
Log on to your computer using an administrator account, make sure all other users are logged off of the computer, and close all open programs.
Back up your important files to an external location, such as an external hard disk, DVD or CD, or USB flash drive. For more information, search for "backup" in Windows Help and Support.
If you're using a laptop computer, connect it to an AC electrical outlet and don't unplug or restart the computer during installation.
Update any device drivers as necessary. You can do this by using Windows Update or by going to the device manufacturer's website. For more information, see Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly.
If you have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to your computer, disconnect the connecting serial cable before installing SP2. The installation automatically attempts to detect devices connected to serial ports, and UPS equipment can cause problems with the detection process. It's fine to leave your computer connected to a UPS for power.
Some antivirus software might prevent SP2 from installing, or might slow down the installation. You can try temporarily disabling your antivirus software. If you do so, be sure that you're aware of the risks involved, and be sure to enable it after the service pack is installed.
Make sure you have enough free disk space to install SP2 (even though much of that space will be reclaimed after the installation). If you need to create free disk space, go to Strategies for freeing disk space online.
x86-based: 684 MB
x64-based: 863 MB
Downloading SP2 from the Microsoft website
x86-based: 1.8 GB to 3 GB
x64-based: 3.2 GB to 5 GB
Integrated installation for enterprise and IT professionals
x86-based: 10 GB
x64-based: 13 GB
If your computer is set to automatically install updates, you'll be prompted by Windows Update to install SP2. Follow the instructions on the screen. If you aren't prompted to install SP2, follow these steps:
Make sure you are connected to the Internet.
In the left pane, click Check for updates.
If SP2 isn't listed, you might need to install some other updates before installing SP2. Install any updates listed as Recommended or Important, return to the Windows Update page, and then click Check for updates.
Follow the instructions on your screen. The computer might restart several times during the installation.
After installation is complete, log on to your computer at the Windows logon prompt. You might see a notification indicating whether the update was successful.
If you disabled your antivirus software, enable it again.
If you have problems obtaining the service pack from Windows Update, you can download SP2 as a standalone installation package from the Microsoft Download Center website, and then install SP2 manually.
Depending on whether you're running the 32-bit or the 64-bit version of Windows Vista, download the update for 32-bit versions
or download the update for 64-bit versions.
To install SP2 immediately, click Open or Run, and then follow the instructions on your screen.
To install SP2 later, click Save to copy the installation file to your computer. When you're ready to install the service pack, open the file you copied to your computer.
On the Welcome to Windows Vista Service Pack 2 page, click Next.
After installation is complete, log on to your computer at the Windows logon prompt. You'll receive a message indicating whether the update was successful.
You can order a DVD from Microsoft containing SP2. For more information, go to the Microsoft website.
Insert the disc into your computer with your current version of Windows Vista running. The Install Windows Service Pack wizard should automatically appear.
If you installed SP2 yourself, you can uninstall it. However, if your computer came with SP2 already installed (an integrated installation), it can't be uninstalled.
Under Programs and Features, click View installed updates.
On the Uninstall an update page, click Service Pack for Microsoft Windows (KB948465), and then click Uninstall.
Follow the instructions on your screen.
Make sure you're taking advantage of all the ways that Windows can help keep your computer as secure and safe as possible:
Install an antivirus program. Antivirus programs scan for viruses trying to gain access to your e‑mail, operating system, or files, and can help protect your computer. To find an antivirus program, go to the Windows Security software providers webpage on the Microsoft website.
Don't open e‑mail attachments. Many viruses are attached to e‑mail messages and will spread as soon as you open the e‑mail attachment. It's best not to open any attachment unless it's something you're expecting. Microsoft Outlook and Windows Mail can help block potentially dangerous attachments.
Use a firewall. Windows Firewall or any other firewall program can help alert you to security threats. It can block viruses, worms, and hackers from attempting to download potentially harmful programs onto your computer.
Use the latest version of Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer 8 contains security and privacy improvements, such as SmartScreen Filter and InPrivate Browsing, which can help protect your computer so you can browse the web with more confidence. For more information, go to the Internet Explorer webpage on the Windows website.