Microsoft To Begin Windows 7 SP1 Automatic Rollout This Week

Microsoft customers still using the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 7 will begin automatically receiving Service Pack 1 (SP1) via Windows Update on Tuesday.

SP1 of Windows 7 has been available for about two years, and requires about 750 MB to 1050 MB of free disk space. Users with Windows Update activated will get SP1 pushed down to their desktops, according to Microsoft's notice. The announcement is mostly of interest to consumer users. IT organizations might typically control the delivery of service packs using Windows Server Update Services, System Center Configuration Manager or some other management software.

SP1 is getting pushed to users because Windows 7 RTM will be losing support on April 9, 2013. Windows 7 RTM was released in October 2009, but Microsoft's product lifecycle support policy indicates that "support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases."

Microsoft released SP1 for Windows 7 on Feb. 22, 2011. Consequently, that 24-month period has already passed.

With SP1 installed, Windows 7 will stay under "mainstream support" until Jan. 13, 2013, and then it will be covered under "extended support" until Jan. 14, 2020. The extended support product lifecycle milestone is mostly important for organizations running Windows 7 as they lose hotfix, design-change and some free support services at that time. The all-important security updates continue to be delivered, at no extra cost, throughout the mainstream- and extended-support phases.

Last week, Microsoft released a hotfix rollup for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, which adds some performance improvements that were available after SP1 was released. That hotfix rollup is mostly intended for IT pros maintaining a computing environment.

Microsoft has not indicated whether it will release SP2 for Windows 7. It's rumored that Microsoft isn't planning to release any more service packs beyond SP1 for Windows 7. In contrast, the venerable Windows XP operating received three service packs from Microsoft over its lifecycle.

According to a 2012 Register story, which doesn't cite named sources, Microsoft will release monthly updates to Windows 7, instead of releasing a new service pack in the future. So far, Microsoft hasn't confirmed those plans.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.