Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 to the public this week, two weeks after declaring it released to manufacturing (RTM) and one week after delivering the update to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. I've already written about Service Pack 1 a few times--there's just not much going on here for Windows 7 users, in terms of new features--but today I'd like to quickly describe a few ways in which you can snag the update and discuss a few issues to consider.

Windows Update

Most users should simply install Service Pack 1 via Windows Update. If you have Automatic Updates enabled, you'll be notified to install SP1 after its downloaded in the background. Otherwise, you can manually run Windows Update (Start Menu Search, windows update). You'll see Service Pack 1 listed.

Microsoft Download Center

If you'd rather download the service pack manually, you can do so via the Microsoft Download Center, which notes that SP1 works for both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (which it does). There are a number of downloads listed on this page, so don't be confused. The ones you are most likely concerned with include:

DVD image with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of SP1. The file named 7601.17514.101119-1850_Update_Sp_Wave1-GRMSP1.1_DVD.iso can be used to create a DVD that includes an interactive Setup routine that will install SP1 on both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) versions of Windows 7. This file is 1.9 GB in size.

Interactive installer (32-bit). The file named windows6.1-KB976932-X86.exe can be run on any 32-bit version of Windows 7 to upgrade that system to Service Pack 1. This file is 538 MB.

Interactive installer (64-bit). The file named windows6.1-KB976932-X64.exe can be run on any 64-bit version of Windows 7 to upgrade that system to Service Pack 1. This file is 903 MB.

Note that Microsoft recommends that you follow the instructions in a KB article before you install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 from the Microsoft Download Center. The important bit here, from what I can tell, is to ensure that Windows Update KB2454826 is installed first. If you install SP1 via Windows Update, it will check to ensure this update is installed first automatically.

Other issues to consider

A few issues related to Service Pack 1:

Disk space requirements

You will need enough free disk space to install SP1. The installer should check for this and prevent the install if there's not enough space, but you can check yourself using the following conditions:

You're installing via Windows Update. SP1 requires 750 MB of free disk space for 32-bit systems, or 1050 MB for 64-bit systems.

You're installing via an installation DVD (which you may have created using the DVD image noted above). SP1 requires 4.1 GB of free disk space for 32-bit systems, or 7.4 GB for 64-bit systems.

You're installing via downloaded interactive installer. SP1 requires 4.1 GB of free disk space for 32-bit systems, or 7.4 GB for 64-bit systems.

Uninstalling SP1

If you need to uninstall Service Pack for some reason, Microsoft provides two sets of steps for removing it (if you installed it yourself) and some troubleshooting material if that doesn't work. Note that if you received SP1 integrated with Windows 7, you will not be able to remove SP1.

Slipstreaming

A number of readers have asked me whether I'll be creating a slipstreaming guide for Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. Traditional methods for slipstreaming service packs into Windows haven't worked since Windows XP, but there are of course ways to get to the same place. I'm going to discuss this issue with Microsoft and see whether it makes sense to provide such a guide. My guess is that for such a guide to be truly universal (and easy to follow), it will require a third party tool.

I will check into this. But what I'd rather see is Microsoft offer integrated Windows 7 + SP1 install DVDs (or DVD images) to the public, as it does for its volume licensing, MSDN, and TechNet subscribers. This would negate the need to manually slipstream the two together.

Post-install

Once SP1 is installed you will see the text "Service Pack 1" appear in the Windows edition section of the System window. (Windows version, or winver.exe, will also note this.)