Windows 7 and you: Wait for the service pack?

Is the conventional wisdom about waiting for the first Service Pack before installing a new OS still valid?

For many, the official release of a new Microsoft operating system--such as Windows 7--is just the starting of a clock. They will not buy the new OS until Service Pack 1 is released.

Why? Microsoft has a reputation for releasing buggy software. While Windows 7 has been widely tested by real customers, history presents the likelihood that one or more major "gotcha's" will appear.

With previous operating systems, these were usually fixed in a service pack that followed the release of the new OS. Windows Vista, for example, is currently on Service Pack 2 (SP2), while Windows XP is on SP3.

In the case of Windows 7, Microsoft has said the first service pack is likely to be issued about 12 months after introduction, meaning a year from now, in October 2010.

If you are happy with Windows XP and leery of Windows 7, maybe this timing makes sense. Or maybe you'll go ahead and upgrade regardless.

Either way, it is important to realize that Windows service packs are not what they used to be. There was a time when service packs were the primary vehicle for delivering fixes for Microsoft operating systems.

That has changed. Today, Microsoft issues a stream of patches throughout the product's lifetime, with service packs used to "roll-up" all of the fixes into a single piece of software that will install all the patches released to-date. Service Packs may also install new features and upgrade old ones.

Gartner, the big IT consultant, has urged its clients not to wait for SP1 to begin testing Windows 7. Part of this is because Windows XP is already on what Microsoft calls "extended support" which ends in 2014. It is also, I think, recognition that Windows 7 has been thoroughly tested and Microsoft will quickly issue patches as they are required.

Finally, it may also recognize what some have already suggested: The Windows 7 not so much a new OS as it is Windows Vista Service Pack 3.

My take: While I am am not planning to upgrade (Vista) or migrate (XP) my own machines to Windows 7, it is because I am planning to purchase new hardware instead. I am not terribly concerned about showstopping bugs in Windows 7, so I am also not waiting on the Service Pack to begin using the new OS in my home office.

David Coursey tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 7

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Coursey

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender’s best-in-class security solutions have been awarded Product of the Year. Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?