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April 8, 2008

Windows Vista SP1 FAQ

Based off of comments we have received on the Windows Vista Team Blog, we devised a FAQ answering some of the most common questions regarding Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and the installation process. We will update the FAQ accordingly as more questions come up.

Windows Vista SP1 should be available for you via Windows Update if your PC is not affected by any of the causes listed in KB948343. If you believe your PC is not afffected by the causes listed in KB948343 but still don’t have Windows Vista SP1 available to you via Windows Update – I suggest you contact Microsoft Support (see below) who have support agents available to help troubleshoot why might Windows Vista SP1 not be available to you via Windows Update.

Question: Where can I find more information on Windows Vista SP1?

More information on Windows Vista SP1 can be found here.

Question: Windows Vista SP1 isn’t showing up for me under Windows Update. Why?

There are several reasons as to why Windows Vista SP1 may not show up for you under Windows Update. Those reasons could be that you are running a device with a driver that has been flagged as potentially problematic, running a language that Windows Vista SP1 is not yet available with, or simply not having all your updates installed from Windows Update. The complete list of reasons is listed in detail in here. Also: see the blog post on Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Update here.

Question: You said one of the reasons I might not see SP1 is because I have certain device drivers installed.  What are the drivers that Windows Update will detect that will prevent me seeing Windows Vista SP1?

You can see the entire list of device drivers that will block the installation of Windows Vista SP1 here.

Question: What is the purpose of not offering SP1 to users based on which device drivers they have?

We are doing this in order to help provide our customers the best update experience we can by using Windows Update to selectively offer SP1 to PCs.  In cases where a PC has one or more of the drivers that we believe may be problematic, Windows Update will not offer SP1. (You can see a complete list of situations where SP1 won’t install and specific problematic drivers here).

As new drivers that address these issues are made available, we are using Windows Update to also deliver updated drivers to PCs. Once the updated drivers are delivered and replace the potentially problematic driver on a PC, SP1 will then be offered to that PC.

Question: If I have a version of a driver that may be problematic, can I get the latest driver from Windows Update and then install Windows Vista SP1?

Not all devices with problematic drivers listed here have updated drivers that address issues with Windows Vista SP1 yet. We are continuing to work with our partners to provide updated drivers. Some updated device drivers are available on Windows Update today.

Question: If my PC does not have any of the drivers listed as problematic why else might Windows Vista SP1 not be offered to me on Windows Update?

KB948343 lists some additional reasons as to why Windows Vista SP1 may not be provided to you on Windows Update as well as possible solutions. You may be running Windows Vista with a Language Pack that is not yet supported or you may have not yet installed all of the recent updates from Windows Update.

Question: I don’t see Windows Vista SP1 offered to me on Windows Update, but I’d like to install it anyway.  How can I do that?

Those of you who find that SP1 isn’t offered over Windows Update even after installing the latest update from Windows Update, but would still like to download it can access our “standalone installer” from the Microsoft Download Center:

5 Languages (x86 and x64)
All Languages (x86 and x64)

Windows Update will help ensure a better experience, so if you do choose to visit the Microsoft Download Center make sure that you:

1. Visit Windows Update and make sure you have the latest drivers and updates installed.
2. Read these KBs before installing.

Question: I am having a problem installing Windows Vista SP1. What do I do?

You should contact Microsoft Help & Support. Microsoft Help & Support provides you with email, chat, or telephone support where you can talk to a Microsoft Support Agent to assist in troubleshooting your installation issue.

You can go to Microsoft Help & Support going to the following URL:

Be sure you choose “Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (All Languages)”. Unlimited installation and compatibility support is available at no charge until March 18, 2009.

Question: Does contacting Microsoft Help & Support cost me anything?

No. Unlimited installation and compatibility support is available at no charge until March 18, 2009.

Question: What if I have a pre-installed copy (OEM) of Windows Vista installed? Can I still contact Microsoft Help & Support?

Yes. Customers who purchased PCs that came with Windows Vista (such as HP, Dell, Acer, etc) and need support for the installation of Windows Vista SP1 are also entitled to support free of charge for related download, installation and compatibility issues.

Question: What languages is Windows Vista SP1 available in today?

The version of Windows Vista SP1 on Windows Update will update PCs running all 35 supported languages of Windows Vista. The Language Packs are also now available for Windows Vista SP1 users.

Question: I manage PCs for a large company.  Does this guidance apply to me?

Our guidance to people in charge of updating PCs in a corporate context is captured in our Deployment Guide, which is available on the Windows Vista SP1 TechNet page.


5/9/2008: Changes we’ve made to the IDT/SigmaTel filters that block Windows Vista SP1 from being available to folks running some versions of IDT/SigmaTel drivers we’ve flagged as problematic:


For x86-based computers: – published 12/17/07 or earlier
For x64-based computers: – published 12/17/07 or earlier


For x86-based computers: – published 12/17/07 or earlier
For x64-based computers: – published 12/17/07 or earlier

Exceptions for IDT/SigmaTel drivers were made on certain models of Dell, HP, and Sony computers because these drivers were updated to address this issue before the 12/17/07 publish date.  

If the Sthda*.cat or Stwrt*.cat files exist on your PC AND have a modified date of 12/17/07 – the Windows Vista SP1 block filter is not applied and Windows Vista SP1 should be offered to you via Windows Update.

If no *.cat files exist we look at specific versions (mainly on OEM PCs such as Dell, HP, and Sony) that have the fix that was made prior to 12/17/07. If the driver does not have that fix, Windows Update will not offer Windows Vista SP1 to you.