Microsoft recently made available the second Service Pack for its flagship desktop operating system Windows Vista. I recently restored my Windows Vista SP1 Complete PC Backup image and decided to update it to SP2 and find out what’s new. With the release of Windows NT SP3, Microsoft had defined service packs as a collection of updates for a Windows operating system that were rolled into one file post RTM that made it easier for IT Professionals to update their systems without having to download all the updates individually on each system. With the release of Windows Vista, the definition of Service Pack was updated with a different meaning:
A software update that combines new security and performance enhancements with existing updates. Unlike update rollups, service packs can contain new features or design changes for a product.
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit with Service Pack 2 installed.
Before updating to Windows Vista SP2, I had to install a pre-requisite file KB955430. The purpose of this file is to assist with the performance of the Service Pack 2 installation which can take some time. After installing the update you can proceed with the installation of the Service Pack itself. My install was done through the Standalone installer for Windows Vista SP1 64-bit. Because some persons might have band width issues, Microsoft provides a (Five language package) full copy of the Service Pack, which weighs in at about 577 MB’s for 64 bit and 348 MB’s for 32 bit. If you are on a fast connection and regularly receive Windows Updates, you probably have the KB955430 file already installed and Vista SP2 will be presented you as a 56 MB update.
Installing the pre-requisite update
Note: You must have Service Pack 1 for Vista already installed before updating to SP2. The reason for this change in servicing relates to size constraints that would make it impractical to combine both SP1 and SP2, making it a chore to download. Vista SP2 contains post SP1 updates (meaning all Windows Updates that have been released after SP1).
Installing Service Pack 2
Always remember to create a system restore point before installing critical software such as SP2 that will make significant changes to the operating system. According to the Service Pack wizard, installation will take an hour or more. Your computer will restart several times during the installation. I must say, it’s an uneventful experience that does not require much of your time and you can leave your PC while it updates. The installation took approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes for me.
Whats new in Vista SP2?
- Spysweeper and ZoneAlarm, now work with POP3 e-mail accounts
Hardware ecosystem support and enhancements
- SP2 adds support for the 64-bit central processing unit (CPU) from VIA Technologies, which adds the ID and vendor strings for the new VIA 64-bit CPU.
- SP2 integrates the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, which contains support for Bluetooth v2.1 and Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration. Bluetooth v2.1 is the most recent specification for Bluetooth wireless technology.
- SP2 improves performance for Wi-Fi connections after resuming from sleep mode.
- SP2 includes updates to the RSS feeds sidebar for improved performance and responsiveness.
- SP2 includes ability to record data to Blu-Ray Disc media.
Operating system experience updates
- SP2 includes Windows Search 4.0, which builds on Microsoft’s search technology with improved indexing and search relevance. It also helps find and preview documents, e-mail (including signed e-mail messages), music files, photos, and other items on the computer. The search engine in Windows Search 4.0 is a Microsoft Windows service that is also used by programs such as Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Office OneNote 2007. Autotuning Diagnostics in SP2 now interprets current network conditions when implementing Windows scaling. This feature includes full netsh support.
- SP2 improves Windows Media Center (WMC) in the area of content protection for TV.
- SP2 removes the limit of 10 half open outbound TCP connections. By default, SP2 has no limit on the number of half open outbound TCP connections.
SP2 also includes a Service Pack Clean-up tool (Compcln.exe) which helps recover the hard disk space by permanently deleting previous versions of files (RTM and SP1) that are being serviced by SP2. The Service Pack Clean up tool can also be run offline while creating slipstream images to reduce the size of the image.
Windows Vista SP2 is a significant update that further improves the end user experiences and technologies built into the OS, while also showing Microsoft’s commitment to always improve Windows.
Download Windows Vista SP2 32 bit HERE
Download Windows Vista SP2 64 bit HERE
Update for Windows Vista for x64-based Systems (KB955430)
Update for Windows Vista (KB955430)
Previously released compatibility updates
Hotfixes and Security Updates in Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Vista SP2
Up Next: Windows Vista SP2
Windows Vista Year in Review
Information about Windows Vista Service Pack 1