Updating Windows Service Packs

How to check for and update Windows Service Packs. A Windows Service Pack (SP) is a large collection of updates (including performance improvements, fixes and security updates) bundled into a single ‘pack’.

Windows requires your intervention to install a Service Pack (because it is a major upgrade and can take up to an hour to download and install) so you should check whether your computer has the latest Service Pack installed.

How To Check in Windows XP – XP should have Service Pack 3 (no further packs are planned). To find out what you have – click Start, right click My Computer then click Properties to open the System Properties window at the General tab as below:

servicepack1

You should see your version of XP listed and underneath it which Service Pack you have (it is SP3 in the example above). If you only have SP2 orĀ  less you need to install SP3 as soon as possible.

How To Check In Windows Vista – Vista should have Service Pack 2 (no further packs are planned). To find out what you have, click Start, right click My Computer then click Properties to open the System Properties window. Under the ‘Windows Edition’ heading at the top of the page you should see your version of Vista listed. Underneath that you will see which Service Pack you have (if any). If none is shown then you need to install SP1 first and then SP2. If SP1 is shown then you just need to install SP2.

How To Check In Windows 7 – Windows 7 should have Service Pack 1 (no further packs are planned). To find out what you have, click Start, right click My Computer then click Properties to open the System Properties window. Under the ‘Windows Edition’ heading at the top of the page you should see your version of Windows 7 listed. Underneath that you will see which Service Pack you have (if any). If none is shown then you need to install SP1.

How To Install A Service Pack – The easiest way to install a Service Pack is to let Windows Update do it for you. Make sure you have set Windows Updates to Automatic (see our article on keeping Windows up to date automatically) and it should prompt you to install the next SP for your computer.

If it doesn’t then you can force the check manually: Click Start, click All Programs, Click Windows Update. Now select ‘Check For Updates’. When the check has finished, click on ‘View Available Updates’ and select the Service Pack update.

Alternative Way To Install Service Packs – An alternative (useful if installation via Windows Update fails) is to download the whole Service Pack in a single program file (saving it on your computer) and then run the file to install the Service Pack. Follow the simple instructions during the process and do not use your computer whilst the installation takes place – this may take up to an hour and will restart your computer during installation.

You can download the relevant service packs from Microsoft:

XP SP3 32-bit version – download from here

Vista SP1 32-bit version – download from here
Vista SP1 64-bit version – download from here

Tip: See our article on how to tell if Windows is 32-bit or 64-bit if you are unsure which version yours is.

Vista SP2 32-bit version – download from here
Vista SP2 64-bit version – download from here

Windows 7 SP1 – download from here (you need to validate your copy of W7 and choose the windows6.1-KB976932-X86.exe file for W7 32-bit OR the windows6.1-KB976932-X64.exe file for W7 64-bit).

1 Response to: "Updating Windows Service Packs"

  1. ronald01 says:

    Ta for the info, i’ve had mine for 7 sitting there for a wile waiting. Never new if i should install it or not!
    Nice site guys, keep it up