If you haven’t yet moved to Windows 8, and you haven’t installed Service Pack (SP) 1 for Windows 7, you can get the SP1 update automatically installed as of March 19 through Windows Update, according to a Microsoft manager. Essentially, enabling Automatic Update in Windows update will keep mainstream (free) support from Microsoft going for you through July 13, 2015, whereas Windows 7 RTM, with no service pack installed, will no longer be supported as of April 9 of this year.
“Windows 7 SP1 was previously available on Windows Update but required user action to install,” wrote Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft’s communications manager, in a blog post. As of March 19, though, “the installation will be fully automatic with no user action required for those who already have Automatic Update enabled.”
Microsoft plans to release SP1 “gradually over the coming weeks” to all Windows 7 RTM customers.
SP1, the only service pack ever released for Windows 7, brings together previously issued security, performance and stability improvements, along with enhancements to features like printing using the XPS Viewer, connecting to HDMI audio devices, and restoring previous folders in Windows Explorer after restarting.
SP1, of course, will take longer for Automatic Update to install than smaller updates, although LeBlanc gave no estimates as to how long.
To make sure that SP1 is installed successfully, users should check for sufficient free disk space, according to LeBlanc. Microsoft has previously estimated the amount of free disk space required for installing SP1 through Windows Update at 750 MB on x86-based (32-bit) systems and 1050 MB on x64-based (64-bit) systems. If extra space needs to be freed up, Microsoft recommends the use of the Disk Cleanup tool to delete unneeded files.
Notebook PC users should also make sure that AC power is present, LeBlanc said.
If installation of SP1 gets interrupted, the update will try to reinstall after the next system restart.
The update applies strictly to Windows 7 consumer PCs, as opposed to business PCs which are managed and updted by systems administrators through Microsoft management tools like Systems Center Configuration Manager or WSUS.