Introducing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (BETA)

I am a BETA Nutcase and it seems to be that time of the year where I get to go crazy, with betas for for Microsoft Windows Live Essentials and Windows 7 out, I thought, its time to start playing around with some of these goodies. Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 is the first major maintenance update for the latest Microsoft Windows operating system. It mostly consist of a rolled up collection of updates that have been released for the OS since it went RTM (Released to Manufacturing) in July of 2009. Users should not expect anything new or different with this update, which again are just the same updates you can get today from Windows Update.

Still, many IT environments use Service Packs as a milestone to determine in their own right when its fit to start migrations from a previous version of Windows. This is a old interpretation that is more linked to the days of Microsoft’s HCL (Hardware Compatibility Labs) in the 90’s when you had to carry the book included with your Windows NT Workstation package to determine whether your hardware was ready or not. Also, Service Packs were convenient for a period when all that seem to exist were dial up connections. An IT Pro had to manage deploying updates to hundreds of machines. Microsoft has resolved this since the advent of Windows Update service introduced in Windows 98 which simplifies getting the latest updates for your computer and devices along with having the latest version of Windows on your PC.

Personally, I find the offline Windows 7 SP1 installer very handy for my setup, since my Internet connection is unreliable and I have a few machines to update, if I need to reinstall Windows 7 RTM for some unknown reason, I don’t have to download every single update for the machine. I have managed to work around even such a situation by keeping recent in tip-top shape system images of my system to avoid doing such as thing. System Imaging is now included in all editions of Windows 7 and I find it very handy and convenient.

Today, I just want to take a quick run through of the install experience. My machine is running Windows 7 Ultimate RTM 64 bit with the latest updates, regardless of this, the Service Pack 1 install took about 1 hour to complete. This is the offline installer of by the way. Before I even installed SP1, I made sure I backed up Windows 7 RTM installation as a system image and stored it safely on a external hard disk, you can refer to my article about how to back up your Windows 7 installation if you want to try out SP1. Another important thing I did after backing up and install SP1 was to change the machine name, since your SP1 install can overwrite the RTM install on the backup drive if you decide to create a backup during your testing of SP1 beta.

Setup wizard for Windows 7 Service Pack 1

Accepting the End User License Agreement

The installation started off smooth, but I did encounter one small issue during the initial phase of setup when it was preparing my computer. It seems Microsoft Security Essentials is not compatible when its already installed. So, I had to remove that, reboot, then run the setup again. I was able to reinstall and use Microsoft Security Essentials without any problems. Just to be safe, I downloaded MSE from the web to make sure it’s the latest version and installed it.

Users of Microsoft security utilities should remove them before attempting to install SP1 beta.

So the installation went along its merry way without any issues, and the installer was correct too, it took about an hour to complete, about 45 mins before the restart itself. This might vary depending on factors such as processor and memory speed, also remember that this is still a beta.

Installing Windows 7 SP1 beta

After this portion of installation was complete, the Service Pack installer automatically restarted the computer.

Configuring the Windows 7 SP1 beta on shutdown

After restarting, the Windows 7 SP1 beta boot up experience went through a series of configuration and update of System files, about 103,973. Don’t worry, this process goes by fast.

Updating System Files.

The final phase is another configuration at the Welcome Screen and that was it.

After logging in and reaching the desktop, I was informed that Windows 7 SP1 was installed.

Successful install of Service Pack 1 for Windows 7

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 beta installed (click to enlarge).

There is not really any significant difference, the build number has been incremented from build 7600 to build 7601. Windows Vista SP1 was incremented from build 6000 to 6001 (SP2 to 6002). I do sense a bit of optimization in areas such as Resume from Sleep, although that’s just an unscientific guess. My applications and devices are functioning just fine, able to Bluetooth, and publish this post. So, expect a smooth experience, although its still beta, so if you discover an issue, definitely send it in. If you are using Windows Server 2008 R2 though, which is Microsoft’s Network Operating system, you will see a lot more in new features and functionality such as a Dynamic Memory Manager and Remote FX. Microsoft has not provided any information about when the final release will be available, but I would like to implore again, a lot of what you will see in SP1 is already available to you through Windows Update. Windows 7 RTM today is a great release, so if you have not upgraded to it, its definitely the right time.

Checking out Windows Vista SP2
My Early Preview of Windows Vista SP1 BETA

Virtualization Updates at TechEd

Creating a Backup of your Windows 7 Install

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