If you've been waiting to install Windows 7 SP1 on your users' machines or hesitating about installing SP1 on your own PC, you might want to wait a little bit longer. There have been a few -- remarkably few -- identified problems with the Service Pack and some additional unconfirmed reports that warrant your attention. Here's what you need to know.
Microsoft's TechNet blogs contain detailed explanations of a handful of identified, fully dissected problems. In particular:
The Remote Server Administration Tools don't work with SP1. If you need RSAT, it's safest to simply hold off on installing SP1, although there's a work-around posted on the TechNet site. Microsoft promises a fix next month. The RSAT tools have been implicated in failed SP1 installations with error code 0x800f081f.
TechNet has detailed instructions for coping with installation failures with these error codes: 0x800f0a12, 0x8004a029, 0x800f0a13 or 0x800f0826, 0x800f0904, and 0xC000022. The causes range from obscure Registry settings to a third-party utility to wayward antivirus products. There's another error on installation, 0xC0000034, that hasn't been nailed down as yet; it seems to be quite rare, though, and it (or an error just like it) also afflicts Windows Vista. There appear to be open questions about errors 0x80004005 and 0xC000009A. TechNet even has an admonition about running SP1 on Windows 7 systems that have most or all of the Language Packs installed.
( Update: Microsoft has changed the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) package, as described in KB 894199. The KB article notes, simply, that SP1 "Packages have been updated to address a known issue. Packages have changed, but binaries have not changed." In other words, SP1 itself hasn't been changed, but the installer has. In typical Microsoft fashion, there's no indication of specifically what has been changed or why, but conjecture among the cognoscenti is that Microsoft may have finally figured out how to fix the 0xC0000034 bug. Before you install SP1 using WSUS, check the new thread on 0xC0000034 to see if there's any breaking news on the "torn state." Thanks to Susan Bradley for the heads-up.)
Microsoft also has a list of application programs that have problems with SP1, in Knowledge Base article KB 2492938.
Those are the well-known issues. I've heard from several people who tried to install SP1 and encountered a smorgasbord of problems. Usually, disabling security software, updating the system BIOS, or replacing the hard drive knocked things loose.
One reported problem continues to bother me. I've had several people write to say that after installing SP1 their machines booted much slower than they used to. The advice offered by Microsoft is to reboot the machine five times and try again. Five boots are necessary to reset the ReadyBoot RAM cache. That advice has worked for some of the victims, but not in all cases. The mystery continues.
Bottom line: Windows 7 SP1 has rolled out exceptionally well. (Almost certainly a big part of the success of the rollout is due to the fact that Windows 7 SP1 doesn't do much.) If you haven't yet installed SP1 on your company's Windows 7 PCs, it's time to start thinking about it.
This article, "What you need to know about Windows 7 Service Pack 1," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.