BOOT CAMP 518 (01/04/08) – Vista Service Pack 1, part 2
Service Pack 1 is coming to a PC near you; if you have bought a PC in the last
few weeks you may have it already, otherwise it will be delivered to your computer
over the next few weeks as an ‘important’ automatic update.
evidence so far SP1 deployment should go reasonably smoothly for most users.
However, if like me you remember the trouble caused by Windows XP Service Pack
2 then you might want to wait for a week or two, and see if there’s any fallout
after several million users have put it through the mill (see also this week’s
Top Tip). To do that go to Search on the Start menu and start typing the word
‘update’ and within a couple of keystrokes Windows Update appears on the list.
Click on it and the Update Centre opens. In the left hand pane select click
Change Settings and so that you will know when SP1 has arrived, select either
‘Download updates but let me choose whether to install them’ or ‘Check for
updates but let me choose whether to download…’, then click OK.
there are any major glitches with SP1 you will hear about it quite quickly in
the media, and you can keep up with what’s happening by Googling ‘vista sp1 problems’. If there are no
significant issues relevant to your setup you can switch Windows Updates back
to automatic and go ahead with the installation.
don’t have to rely on automatic updates to get SP1. If you want to take charge
of the process you can download a copy from Microsoft and install it directly
or burn to a CD, if you need to update a number of PCs. If you can’t download
SP1, either because you are not connected or have a dial-up connection, then
you can get Microsoft to send you a copy of SP1 on CD, though at the time of
writing there were no details of when it will be available, though it should be
have chosen to install SP1 manually make certain that all of your backups are
up to date, and it won’t hurt to set a new System Restore Point. SP1 should set
one but if you do it yourself beforehand this will confirm that System Restore
is actually working. Incidentally, if you participated in the Beta or RC1 tests
of SP1 these must be removed before you proceed. The last pre-install job is to
defrag your drive. It could help speed things up, especially if you haven’t
done it for a while.
most systems the whole process should take between and forty and ninety
minutes, depending on the PC’s specification, and whether or not your PC has
been receiving automatic updates. Once the install Wizard has started there is
no need to stand over it and you don’t have to do anything other than to make
sure that ‘Automatically restart the computer’ is checked. From the start you
will see a message that tells you not to turn off the computer whilst SP1 is
being installed. Take heed of this warning, as there have been reports of
serious crashes that render Windows unbootable if the installation is
interrupted. This is even more important for laptop users who should ensure
their machines are running from the mains adaptor. If your mains supply is
unreliable then I seriously suggest that you don’t install SP1 unless your PC
is connected to a UPS.
installation your PC may seems a little slower. This is quite normal and due to
SP1 deleting prefetch data. These are files and shortcuts that Windows uses to
speed up program launches, however, the slowdown is only temporary and a new
prefetch cache is automatically rebuilt within a few days.
installation appears to have failed give it at least two hours, three if you
can spare it, before calling time. If the PC has frozen the only thing you can
do is switch off and reboot. In most cases SP1 will resume where it left off
but if it fails a second time don’t try it again and if any error messages
appear see if there’s any help on Google. If it has gone horribly wrong and
your PC will not boot then you may be able to get it back up and working
without too much trouble.
your PC came with a Vista installation disc you can boot the PC from the disc
and carry out a Repair Install – this option appears on the first menu. This
will reinstall Windows and your data, programs and configuration settings
should all be safe. If you have a manufacturer’s Recovery Disc they you might
have a problems. You can use it to reinstall Windows from a protected partition
but you may end up loosing your programs and data, which underpins the
importance of keeping your backups up to date.
if you have installed SP1 and it is causing problems, or you simply want rid of
it then it can be uninstalled, though some components will remain. Go to
Programs and Features in Control Panel. Click ‘View Installed Updates’ in the
left hand Tasks pane, select SP1 from the list and click Uninstall.
Next Week – Internet TV and the BBC iPlayer
Section of a hard disc drive set aside for Windows installation
Release Candidate 1, the theoretically final version of a program
or update, ready for distribution though in practice final tweaks are still
Power Supply -- battery power unit, designed to keep your PC working during a
power cut, to prevent data loss and to enable it to be safely shut down
SP1 is by no means compulsory
and there are plenty of individuals and companies that for various reasons do
not want to install it straight away, or at all, but still want to receive
regular security updates and patches. Microsoft has foreseen this eventuality
and developed a utility called the Windows
Service Pack Blocker Tool, which stops SP1 from installing for up to 12
months. This doesn’t affect other critical updates, which will continue to be
downloaded and installed automatically.
Don't forget, there's a
full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at www.pctoptips.co.uk
© R. Maybury 2008, 1203