Learn how to install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1)

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) includes many important updates that help improve the reliability, performance, and security of Windows Vista. For more information, go to What's included in Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) online.

How to get SP1

The recommended (and easiest) way to get SP1 is to turn on automatic updating in Windows Update in Control Panel, and wait for Windows Vista to notify you that SP1 is ready to install. You just need a few clicks to begin the installation, and the rest of the process is automatic.

Note

To learn if SP1 is already installed

  • Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.

    If Service Pack 1 is listed in the Windows edition section, SP1 is already installed on your computer and you don't need to follow the instructions below.

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Before you begin

Before you install SP1, 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 are 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, go to Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly online.

  • If you have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to your computer, disconnect the connecting serial cable before installing SP1. 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 SP1 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 SP1 (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.

    Installation method Approximate free disk space required
    Installation method

    Windows Update

    Approximate free disk space required
    • x86-based: 1,200 MB

    • x64-based: 1,500 MB

    Installation method

    Downloading SP1 from the Microsoft website

    Approximate free disk space required
    • x86-based: 2,500 MB to 5,450 MB

    • x64-based: 4,100 MB to 7,850 MB

    Installation method

    Integrated installation for enterprise and IT professionals

    Approximate free disk space required
    • 15 GB

Installing SP1 using Windows Update (recommended)

If your computer is set to automatically install updates, you'll be prompted by Windows Update to install SP1. Follow the instructions on the screen. If you aren't prompted to install SP1, follow these steps:

To install SP1 using Windows Update

  1. Make sure you are connected to the Internet.

  2. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.
  3. In the left pane, click Check for updates.

  4. Click View available updates. In the list of updates, select Service Pack for Microsoft‌ Windows (KB936330), and then click Install. Picture of security shield icon If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    Notes

    • If SP1 isn't listed, you might need to install some other updates before installing SP1. Install any updates listed as Recommended or Important, return to the Windows Update page, and then click Check for updates.

    • If you don't see SP1 listed (even after installing the Recommended or Important updates), other conditions might be preventing Windows Update from offering SP1. For more information, go to the Microsoft website.

  5. Follow the instructions on your screen. The computer might restart several times during the installation.

  6. 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.

  7. If you disabled your antivirus software, enable it again.

Manually installing SP1 using the Microsoft Download Center

If you have problems obtaining the service pack from Windows Update, you can download SP1 as a standalone installation package from the Microsoft Download Center website, and then install SP1 manually.

To manually install SP1 using the standalone installation package

  1. 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 determine whether you have the 32-bit or the 64-bit version of Windows Vista, click the Start button Picture of the Start button, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.
  2. To install SP1 immediately, click Open or Run, and then follow the instructions on your screen. To install SP1 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.

  3. On the Welcome to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 page, click Install Now.

  4. Follow the instructions on your screen. The computer might restart several times during the installation.

  5. 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.

  6. If you disabled your antivirus software, enable it again.

Manually installing SP1 using the installation DVD

You can order a DVD from Microsoft containing SP1. For more information, go to the Microsoft website.

To manually install SP1 using the installation DVD

  1. Insert the disc into your computer with your current version of Windows Vista running. The Install Windows Service Pack wizard should automatically appear.

    If the wizard doesn't appear, click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Computer, right-click the drive containing the installation disc, and then click Install or run program.
  2. On the Welcome to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 page, click Install Now.

  3. Follow the instructions on your screen. The computer might restart several times during the installation.

  4. 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.

  5. If you disabled your antivirus software, enable it again.

Uninstalling SP1

If you installed SP1 yourself, you can uninstall it. However, if your computer came with SP1 already installed (an integrated installation), it can't be uninstalled.

To uninstall SP1

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Control Panel, and then click Programs.
  2. Under Programs and Features, click View installed updates.

  3. On the Uninstall an update page, click Service Pack for Microsoft‌ Windows (KB936330), and then click Uninstall.

  4. Follow the instructions on your screen.

Help stay safe and keep your computer up to date

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.