More Vista SP1 answers

More Vista SP1 answers

Summary: Earlier this week I posted a FAQ on Windows Vista Service Pack 1. In the Talkback section of that post and via e-mail, I got a few additional questions. In this follow-up I explain why you don't need a product key and why slipstreaming a copy of SP1 into your existing Vista installation media is (almost) impossible. I also show how to reclaim disk space used by the backed-up copies of your old system files.


Earlier this week I posted a FAQ on Windows Vista Service Pack 1. In the Talkback section of that post and via e-mail, I got a few additional questions. Here are the answers.

Does SP1 need a product key?

The service pack doesn’t require any product key and it doesn’t have to be activated. If you install an integrated copy of Windows Vista with SP1, you’ll need to enter a product key before you can activate Windows.

Can I uninstall SP1?

Yes, provided you haven’t removed the backed-up pre-SP1 files to reclaim disk space. Go to Control Panel and use the Search box to find View Installed Updates. Open that window and look through the list for Service Pack for Microsoft Windows (KB936330) and then click Uninstall.

How to uninstall Windows Vista Service Pack 1

Can I remove the backed-up files?

If you’re absolutely positive you won’t want to uninstall SP1, you can recover the space used by your old, pre-SP1 system files. To accomplish this task, use the Vista Service Pack 1 Cleanup Tool, which is installed with the service pack. Click Start, and type vsp1cln in the Search box to located the cleanup file. Click the file to open a Command Prompt window, type y to confirm that you really want to remove those files, and press Enter. The removal process is quick and does not require a reboot. On an x64 installation of Windows Vista Ultimate, I ended up with 1.5GB of extra disk space. With a 32–bit copy of Windows Vista Business, I reclaimed 600MB of disk space. Remember, though, this procedure is irrevocable.

Is it possible to create a slipstreamed DVD of Windows Vista using my original RTM media and SP1?

The short answer is no. For the longer answer, see this detailed explanation by Kevin Remde. The even longer answer is that there are hacks that will reportedly allow you to create the functional equivalent of a slipstreamed disk. For details, see the Vista SP1 Reverse Integration Guide at For corporate deployments, you’ll need the new Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit and the Windows Automated Installation Kit, both of which are documented in the official SP1 Deployment Guide. Volume license customers can order installation media with SP1 integrated, and OEMs should soon begin shipping PCs that include integrated SP1 disks.

I have an MSDN subscription. Will I be able to download SP1?

Yes. Microsoft has announced plans to make SP1 available for MSDN and TechNet Plus subscribers before the end of February 2008. 

I'm on dial-up. Will I be able to order a CD?

Microsoft has not announced any plans to release SP1 on physical media, but historically, Microsoft has offered service packs on CD for free or for a nominal cost (you can still order Windows XP SP2 on CD). You might have better luck finding a friend with a high-speed connection, downloading the standalone service pack installer on that PC, and then copying the files to a USB flash drive or CD.

Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • A bigger question needed to be answer,

    Where can I download it now? I have searched and google, but could only find reviews and release notes, but not where I can download it. I do not want to wait until march.
    • Follow the link to the first part of thist story

      The answer you're looking for is at the end of page 2:
      Ed Bott
      • The link at the bottom of page 2

        only takes to a forum talking about SP1.
        • Read the text

          Look at the dates under When will Windows Vista SP1 be available? It will be posted for download in mid-March.
          Ed Bott
          • I knew the march date,

            however I keep hearing and seeing people downloading it anyways. But not worry I just found out the, my agency can download it for me. So I am waiting for them.
          • Technet, MSDN

            It's in those places as of today.
          • Its also on...

            The volume licensing download site, as is Windows Server 2008.
    • Doesn't matter if you want to wait or not

      You get it when MS releases it.
  • Vista Ultimate x64 SP1


    I just downloaded the x64 version of SP1's 743.888 MByte file. Now this is considerably bigger than the x86 version.

    Is there any data, reviews from you labrats? I am just wondering. I went ahead and made an image of my system before installing it. I noticed after the 45 minute process that my system is much more responsive and it seems faster that XP x64 so far.

    It would be interesting to read about the x64 version since that is the incoming status-quo. Unless I missed it somewhere, it would be nice to read more about the x64 side of the house in regards to the SP1 which I am really getting into.
    • I have x64 running on a clean install here

      Working beautifully with SP1 after one small configuration hiccup (which I'll write about a little later).
      Ed Bott
      • Thanks Ed!


        That's what I did was a clean install. I also took care of the AHCI setup in my bios for both my SATA II identical 300Gbyte hard drives. You may know of the benefits of AHCI and Windows Vista has no problem installing. The necessary drivers are right out of the box unlike the former versions. Speed increased was noticeable and appreciated when I installed Vista x64 processes.

        That tidbit of information may be worth something, and I do not know if those that already have Vista installed can later go back into their bios and change the SATA configuration without having to reinstall.

        Also I've noticed my 4 Gig Readyboost drive is a whole heck of a lot more active than ever before, and I feel that may be just the simple fact that my machine is running like a greased-down raped ape due to the remarkable overall performance increase of the OS.

        For me Ed, this was well worth the time and energy of the upgrade. My Adobe CS3 Master's suite, everything opens, closes, and operates more stable and far less sluggish and these, as you know, are x86 versions. Adobe Premiere is the most noticable performance gain in rendering out viseo, editing, and transcoding tasks.

        I work with Photoshop CS3 in designing album, book, and media designs for the traditional printing that requires 1200 DPI, and the average book design is right around 4.5 Gigs per layered file. The save/load I\O proceedures seemed to unbearibly drag on especially across my network and that's a 1000Gbit. Now, it rivals XP' x64's best day.

        Ripping a music CD using the latest from WinAmp's latest verion, and yes, it has album art now! Used to take utilizing the FLAC Codex with zero compressing on a 550 MB CD took 3 minutes now only take 1.28 minutes. Codex transfer to my ipod used to take about 7 minutes to dial down to AAC 320Bit about 8 minutes has been reduced to five. Some may say that isn't much but I am reformatting all my music from scratch from 1932 albums in this FLAC Lossless non-proprietary format to my 500 gig external seagate hard SATA hard drive(s). I have two on the ready and they are on my server. So if we simply do the math, I am saving "Days" of time.

        So, I say to those out here, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose in updating Vista x64.

        I cannot speak of the x86 version of Vista, I have stopped using x86 architecture a couple of years ago when I needed XP x64 for a workstation. I will say, Vista x64 blows the doors off of XP x64 in setting up peripherals and software. Third party drivers are more plentiful than ever IMHO than previously.

        With this particular system, an HP m7463w (and far from stock) is like a new machine. My Windows Vista x64 report gives my machine's performance a 5.6 and that is sweet enough for me!

        Keep up the hard work Ed, and if I find anything at all with the operating system, SP1 x64, I'll let you know!
    • Much the same here...

      I also have Viata Ultimate x64 SP1 runing on a dual boot machine with XP MCE 2005.

      Followed Ed's procedure for getting SP1 into the updates list. My download was 121M which installed clean in less than an hour.

      Vista seems to boot faster. I must be the only one who never felt that Vista was a slow as most indicated. My original Vista install was on a 1G 2.2 CPU machine triple boot development machine and Vista beta 2 and RC1 really ran fine. I did Vistal Studio development work without an issue!

      Which is why I went for Vista Ultimate. Money down the drain!

      On my core 2 X6800 machine Vista is unstable! Can't allow the machine use sleep mode, even after SP1. Vista never shut the fans down after the initial boot so I always had to boot XP first then boot Vista. That is fixed by SP1! The killer for me is that Vista appears to slowly corrupt the raid-5
      environment. Maybe it is a dual boot issue but I have read accounts from others with raid corruption with only Vista.

      My wife's Vista HP desktop Pavilion is also unstable out-of the-box! She was watching my SP1 install and seen most the the same problems return. Nothing to look forward too!
  • Slipstream != Offline Installation

    Kevin Remde discusses "offline installation" of SP1 for prestaged images. You can still use the /integrate switch to apply SP1 to the RTM bits and then create your own bootable DVD.
    • Go read some more

      No, you cannot use the integrate switch with Vista and SP1. Go read the deployment guide, which is explicit on this issue.
      Ed Bott
  • RC1 Uninstall Problems

    I am trying to uninstall RC1 of SP1 and it is not showing up in my installed updates list, nor are the files for it in my temp folder. Kind of hard to uninstall when Vista doesn't think it is there. I know it is because I have the evalutation copy text on the bottom of my screen.

    I sure hope I don't have to format the HD.
  • RE: More Vista SP1 answers

    Is SP1 a roll-up of all previous updates? I have a brand new HP pavilion with OEM Vista Home Premium. I just went through the original machine install. Should I do all Windows updates first or can I just install SP1 over the basic OEM initial install? In other words, does anyone have experience installing SP1 on a brand new machine that has not yet been updated/patched?
  • RE: More Vista SP1 answers

    My install went very well. But when it came back up for the final time, I had NO Start button and NO Taskbar whatsoever. Even after uninstalling it and going back to my previous state, I still no longer had the Start button nor the Taskbar. VERY long story short, I had to do a complete re-format of my entire system, then a reinstall of Vista. Right now, Updates is telling me that SP1 is important for me to download and install, but I'm not touching it.
    If anyone has any advise as to how to re-do this and still have my Start button and Taskbar, I'd appreciate it. My e-mail is . And, thanx.
  • RE: More Vista SP1 answers

    Well, it's April 19 and still no SP1 in my auto update. As far as I know, all my drivers are up-to-date. Could using an unsigned video driver from LaptopVideo2Go be preventing me from receiving the update?
  • Missing task bar fix...

    If anyone else is missing their taskbar after SP1...
    On my machine it set the external TV-out to the primary monitor. The task bar was showing in my TV instead! I disabled the TV out monitor, and it came back to the main monitor...