Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is Ready for Download

Artwork: Chip Taylor
Bug fixes and security patches don't make for the most exciting Windows update, but they're the high points of Windows 7 Service Pack 1, now widely available for download.

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is now available from Microsoft's Website for download, or via Windows Update, and by ordering an installation DVD. Windows 7 SP1 takes roughly 30 minutes to install, and you'll have to restart the computer halfway through. System requirements and detailed installation instructions can also be found on Microsoft's Website.

Here are the most notable changes in SP1:

*     A bug fix for HDMI audio devices that stopped working after restarting the computer

*     Corrected behavior when printing mixed-orientation XPS documents

*     Changed behavior of the "Restore previous folders at logon" functionality so that all folders are restored to their previous position, rather than in cascading order based on the most recently active folders.

The service pack also includes all previously released security, stability and performance updates for Windows 7. Like I said, not very exciting.

But there is one interesting nugget to note if you're an enterprise user: Microsoft is no longer saying that you'll need Service Pack 1 to install the final version of Internet Explorer 9, whenever it's released. If you don't have the service pack installed, IE9 will take the liberty of installing additional operating system components that are already part of SP1. With IE9's release candidate now available, that's good news for IT pros who may have been reluctant to upgrade in lieu of the service pack.

If you're going to update, Microsoft recommends backing up your computer to an external hard drive, DVD/CD or network location. Don't worry; Windows 7's built-in backup feature is actually decent.

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