Your questions: How do I get the latest Service Pack for Windows Vista?

Windows VistaKeith asks today…

"I am still running Vista on my home computer. It works well for me. How do I get service packs on it? I want the latest version!"

Glad you asked.

For our operating systems, every now and then we distribute what we call service packs for our Windows operating systems and other products. These packs, or SPs as we call them, include a collection of past updates for the software, which may include updates for system reliability, program compatibility, security, and more (as noted in the linked page). What we do every so often (the schedule varies from product to product) is roll these updates into an individual bundled package for easy downloading and installation. In fact, we even do most of the work to update PCs for consumers and other users may their when you use Microsoft Update (more info at

Now a word from Microsoft Knowledge Base article 935791, which looks at how service packs can help keep your installation of Windows Vista current – as well as for other Windows OS releases like Windows 7, when they’re available – and how they extend and update the functionality of your computer.

Please note: Support for Windows Vista without service packs will end on April 13, 2010. Learn how to download Windows Vista SP2 now.

According to KB 935791

"… there are three step-by-step methods that you can use to obtain the latest service pack for Windows Vista. However, before you select the method that you want to use, please make sure that the following conditions are true:

  • The service pack is not already installed on your computer.
  • You are logged on to your computer by using a user account that is a computer administrator.
  • The computer on which you want to install the service pack is connected to the Internet.

"If you are not sure that all these conditions are true, please see the "Before you try to download the latest Windows Vista service pack" section. Otherwise, select the method that you want to use to download and install the service pack."

Methods to download the latest service pack

As I’ve said before, make sure Automatic Update (‘AU’ around the office) is turned on to get the latest service pack on once it goes live to AU. Your computer will automatically download and install the latest updates: this is by far the easiest approach for individual users to get SPs and other updates. Overall, AU helps ensure you receive software updates from Microsoft when they are available. You can configure Automatic Updates to download and install your updates automatically (as I do at home, to run after I go to bed), or you can set AU to download them and then prompt you to install them yourself.

Consumers and small businesses that rely on Microsoft to provide and install these updates can use visit Windows Update (WU) or visit the Microsoft Download Center to get the latest service packs and updates.

For those of you who have PCs manages by your organization (likely using Windows Server Update Services, aka WSUS), your IT Pro or sysadmin will manage the distribution of these updates to your system.

By the way: do you have Windows XP on a PC somewhere at home? Get Service Pack 3 installed! Please run Windows Update as we recommend customers this as the best way to install the latest service pack for XP, SP3. (NOTE: As noted in the article on SP3, there is no Service Pack 3 for the 64-bit version of Windows XP. If you are running the 64-bit version of Windows XP with Service Pack 2, you are on the latest service pack and will continue to be eligible for support and receive updates until April 8, 2014.)

Does this help?


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