Microsoft has released the standalone versions of the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2 for 32-bit and 64-bit systems.
Standalone in this regard means that the update is downloaded to a local system from where it can be executed or distributed. Standalone packs are available as executable files or ISO images that can be burned to CD or DVD for distribution.
The advantage over downloading the service pack updates via Microsoft's Windows Update service is that they only need to be downloaded once.
If you maintain a network with x computer systems, you would have to download the updates x times if Windows Update is used for that.
If you are only updating one computer, it is suggested to use Windows Update instead, as the downloads will be much smaller in this case. The core reason for this is that Windows Update only downloads the language version of the update installed on the computer, while the standalone distributions download all language versions.
If you are downloading the standalone files, you can run the update as soon as the file has been downloaded to your system.
The ISO images on the other hand need to be mounted, extracted, or burned to CD or DVD first before they can be used for that.
All Windows Vista Service Pack Download links
Learn how to install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) - A detailed guide that explains who you can install the service pack on your Vista system. It provides you with information on how to find out if a service pack is already installed, and how to automatically or manually install the service pack on your system. In addition to that, it highlights how to uninstall the SP1 again.
Windows Vista SP2 Deployment guide - Lists various deployment options to install Vista SP2 on computer systems.
Hotfixes included in Windows Vista SP1 - If you want to know what is included in the service pack 1 for Vista, check out this Microsoft TechNet page. It lists all the updates that are included in the service pack.
Hotfixes included in Windows Vista SP2 - Lists the same information for the second Vista Service Pack (SP2)
Clean up files after the installation of Windows Vista Service Packs - You can remove files that have been updated and are no longer needed to free up disk space on the system.
Windows Vista Service Pack guide for Professionals - A document for professionals that provides in-depth information about the service pack.
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