Resource Guide For Installing And Troubleshooting Vista Service Pack 1



With the release of Vista Service Pack 1, for many it's either a smooth upgrade or the beginning of a long journey. Unlike previous Windows OS Service Pack installations, making sure your prepared before installing Vista SP1 can save you loads of time if something does go wrong.

To help out with upgrading, I have compiled a resource guide on how to install SP1, along with where to find help if you run into problems.





Using Windows Update (Automatic Update) To Install Vista SP1

To get started, connect to Windows Update (from the Start menu) and click on the Install updates button…


…or click on the View available updates link to verify that Windows Vista SP1 (KB936330) is in the list. 


The entire installation time from automatic downloading (80 – 120 MB) to installing the service pack can take up to an hour (depending on the speed of your computer) along with several reboots.

  • Do not interrupt the process!! Let the install run it's course.
  • For step by step screen shots of automatic update click on this link. 

Vista SP1 Is Not Available In Windows Update

If you do not see Service Pack 1 in the list, the problem could be caused by a number of reasons, some of which are:

  • The most common is that your system is not current with all prior updates. Make sure you have installed all available updates to this point. (once all updates have been applied, you should then see SP1 in the list (Ultimate versions must also include Optional updates). Click on View available updates to view and install updates.


  • A previous SP1 (beta or RC versions) exist and must be un-installed before proceeding.
  • The language you are using is not supported yet in SP1.
  • You have hardware that is not fully supported.
  • The third-party program vLite was used to configure you system, and may have removed required system components that's required for SP1 to be installed.
  • You are already running Service Pack 1 (such as you just purchased a new computer with Vista Sp pre-installed).

If none of the above reasons apply to you, check out Microsoft's knowledge base article Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is not available for installation from Windows Update and is not offered by Automatic Updates for more information.

Manually Installing Vista SP1

To manually install SP1, you can download the ISO from Microsoft Download center at the following links:

  • Windows Vista Service Pack 1 x86 (434.5 MB) 
  • Windows Vista Service Pack 1 x64 (726.5 MB) 

While the ISO images are much larger in size compared to using Automatic Update, manual installation is probably safer. You will avoid any interruptions that may occur when using Automatic updates (over broadband) especially if you have a wireless network at home (just hope nobody calls on your land line phone!)

Vista SP1 Troubleshooting Suggestions

For my test laptop, SP1 would not install. At first I tried Windows Update followed by downloading and manually installing. Both attempts failed.

I then followed Microsoft's Knowledge article mentioned above ("Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is not available for installation from Windows Update and is not offered by Automatic Updates") and performed and verified all eight resolution methods. Re-ran SP1 by manually installing it, but it failed again.

So I rebooted, tried Windows Update one more time, and SP1 installed successfully.

As you can see, you will either be successful with installing SP1 the first time, or need to wrestle with it before having a successfull installation.

Vista SP1 Changes

So what changes are incorporated in SP1? Here are some of the major improvements;

  • Much improved file copy speed (no more waiting around).
  • Reduced UAC prompts when making changes that require admin rights.
  • Better DirectX support (updated to support DirectX 9 and 10 hardware, and the  backwards-compatible 10.1 version).
  • Support for third party search solutions.
  • Power consumption improvements.
  • Security enhancements.

For a complete list, check out the following: Microsoft article. 

If you're still hesitant with installing SP1 and want more info, check out ZDNet Ed Bott's Vista SP1 FAQ.

And if after going through the trouble (good or bad) with installing the service pack, remember, if for any reason you can always uninstall from the Control Panel  – Programs and Features \ Installed Updates and look for Service Pack for Microsoft Windows (KB936330).

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Dylan Austin


Whenever I have a problem, I sing. Then I realize my voice is worse than my problem.

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