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February 16, 2011

Windows 7 SP1 Follow-up

Starting today, MSDN and TechNet Subscribers as well as Volume License customers will be able to download Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1). Next week on February 22nd, everybody else will be able to download SP1 from the Microsoft Download Center or Windows Update. As people begin downloading and installing SP1, I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight some tips and recommendations for people before moving forward with their installation.

First off – for those of you simply looking to update a single PC or your home PCs, we recommend using Windows Update instead of downloading the standalone installer (or Network Installation Package) from the Microsoft Download Center. Windows Update will provide the best installation experience for you.

Before installing Windows 7 SP1, please backup your PC (and important files) to an external hard drive, DVD/CD or network location. It is best practice to regularly backup your PC and important files. Windows 7 has impressive built-in backup capabilities which you can learn about here.

You should also make sure your device drivers are up to date. You can do this through Windows Update or device manufacturer’s websites.

You should also check your PC for any known malware and viruses before installing Windows 7 SP1. You can download our free Microsoft Security Essentials to check for known malware and viruses or use security software from any of our partners. This is super important if your PC is infected; it could impact your installation of SP1 as well as future updates to your machine.

A few other tidbits:

  • When installing Windows 7 SP1 on a laptop PC, make sure it’s plugged in to an electrical outlet (AC).
  • Your PC will need to reboot after installing Windows 7 SP1 so make sure you save all your work and close your applications before you begin your installation.
  • Installing Windows 7 SP1 will require a bit more hard drive space so if you don’t have enough, I recommend running Windows 7’s built-in Disk Cleanup tool to assist in freeing up hard drive space.

For those who may want to free up hard drive space, it is possible to remove the service pack installation specific files after installing Windows 7 SP1.  After installing Windows 7 SP1, you can remove the service pack installation files by running Disk Cleanup and clicking on the “Clean up system files” button and checking “Service Pack Backup Files” to free up space. See below screenshot.


We recommend only doing this a few weeks after installing Windows 7 SP1. Please note that once you do this you will be unable to remove Windows 7 SP1 from your PC.