Upgrade to Windows 7 SP1 or not?

The much awaited Windows 7 Service Pack 1 was released recently by Microsoft. It seems to have broken the record for the largest Service Pack (SP) for any desktop OS with the size of update reaching almost 1GB! Microsoft for sure has packed a ton of updates – but before you rejoice and start pushing that update on your desktops, you need to get answers to some of these questions.

  • Do I really need Windows 7  SP1? (Most important)
  • Will it break any of my applications?
  • Are there any new features/services added in the SP?

Well for starters, a Service Pack (SP) is really just a collection of all the patches that Microsoft has released for Windows 7 till date. So, if you have been keeping your systems up-to-date, then upgrading to SP1 should not make much of a difference in terms of getting latest security updates. But on a huge network of 1000+ machines, keeping all systems up-to-date is a challenging task. So, in such cases, it serves as a shortcut to get your system up-to-date with the latest set of patches.

Moreover, the Service Pack is not just about security updates, it also adds some improvements to features and services such as -

  • Better support/compatibility for HDMI audio devices
  • Better printing support using the XPS Viewer
  • Restoring previous folders in Windows Explorer after restart

None of them tempting enough for an average corporate or enterprise user, but then again it totally depends on your environment and nature of work.

A word of caution though to all the system/network administrators – Service Packs are notoriously famous for breaking a lot of applications. For example: your drivers and antivirus software are likely to be the first ones to hate the SP upgrade. If your organization is using a lot of custom designed applications, it makes sense to try update on a staging environment to iron out compatibility issues before deploying the SP. As expected, there have been some issues reported, so be sure to Google out before you go ahead with your deployment. Microsoft even offers a tool to block installation of Service Pack in case organizations have enabled automatic updates and do not want SP to be deployed automatically.

Big organizations need to do a lot of homework before they can deploy a service pack but making sure that update is uniformly applied across all machines is a different story all together! – which is where solutions like Nevis NAC really help. It allows organizations to achieve 100% patch compliance and even allows quarantine and auto-remediation of non-compliant systems. For existing Nevis customers deploying the SP, be sure to get the latest CEI updates. For details on how to enable Windows 7 Service Pack 1 on the LANsight, get in touch with Nevis Technical Assistance Center (NTAC).

Neeraj Thakar

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