Microsoft has announced that service pack 1 for Windows 7 will be released on Tuesday to the general public. Microsoft has completed working on their first major update to their Windows 7 operating system and will begin sending the update out on February 22nd via their Windows Update service.
Microsoft recommended that end users use Windows Update rather than downloading the service pack. MSDN and TechNet subscribers have had access to the release service pack (SP1) for Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 since Thursday. There are a number of behind the scenes technical updates, The first of the two is RemoteFX, a standalone product that requires Windows Server 2008 R2 to be used. RemoteFX allows users to watch high-quality video and interact with 3D applications over a remote desktop session — this will change the way Virtual Machines are used, as they have had limited display capabilities until now.
The firm also recommends that users back up their PC to an external location such as an external hard drive, optical discs or to a network location. Microsoft also suggests that device drivers be up to date before the installation. Many of the leading Calgary IT support firms have had the luxury of testing Windows 7 SP1 through their membership in the Microsoft Partner Program. From what many have reported, there are no user interface changes, no real performance boosts and no other cool stuff to talk about.
The second feature is an update for HyperV in Windows Server 2008 R2 called “Dynamic Memory”. The feature is as simple as it sounds — it dynamically allocates memory to virtual machines as required and is able to remove memory from virtual machines when others need higher resources. You can read more about the new features over on the Windows Server Team Blog.
To install the update to your existing Windows 7 PC will generally take no less than half an hour (not including download time), and probably more on older hardware (think single-core processors) and netbooks. It doesn’t take forever, but you’ll definitely want to have a book or something handy. A clean install from a DVD will take almost exactly the same amount of time as a clean RTM install will – on my midrange Dell Latitude E6410, the non-interactive portion of a Windows 7 SP1 install took 16 minutes and 11 seconds to run, and on the same laptop the RTM install took 15 minutes and 58 seconds.
Following installation of service pack one, 640MB of service pack backup files can be removed from via the Disk Cleanup utility although Microsoft recommends doing this “a few weeks after” the upgrade. The service pack will be pushed out through Microsoft/Windows Update, and will be made available as a stand-alone download.