Windows 7 SP1 will be distributed via automatic update

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 19, 2013
Updated • Jun 9, 2014
Windows, Windows 7

The end of support for the original version of Windows 7 is near - it ends on April 9, 2013 - and Microsoft as a consequence decided to distribute the first service pack for the operating system via Windows Update as an automatic update. You are probably wondering why support is ending. Microsoft has a policy in place that specifies that support for a product ends 24 months after the released of a service pack for it.

What this means is that support for all versions of Windows 7 will run out in the beginning of April since Windows 7 SP1 was released two years ago. Support for the service pack version of the operating system continues however, with the mainstream support date set to end on January 13, 2015 and the extended support date ending January 14, 2020.

The differences between both support phases may need explanation as well. When a product enters its extended support phase, it will receive security updates as usual. It won't receive other hotfixes and users can't use no-charge support programs anymore.

You can download the Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 here if you do not want to wait until it is automatically distributed. Most Ghacks users who run Windows 7 have probably upgraded a long time ago anyway. Microsoft plans to roll out the service pack to all users of the operating system who have not upgraded yet over the coming weeks. The company notes that this update will only be applied to consumer PCs and not PCs that are managed by a Microsoft management tool such as SCCM or WSUS Server.

What happens if you fail to upgrade to service pack 1? You won't receive any security updates or other updates anymore after the support end date as confirmed on the Microsoft Support Lifecycle page:

Both the Mainstream Support and Extended Support phases for software require a product’s supported service pack be installed to continue to receive full support (including security and DST updates).

Security updates released with bulletins from the Microsoft Security Response Center will be reviewed and built for the supported service packs only.

If you do not install the service pack for Windows 7, your PC will not receive these updates anymore after April 9, 2013.

Microsoft recommends that you make sure that you have sufficient free disk space on your system before you install the service pack for Windows 7.  The service pack requires about 750 Megabyte of space on 32-bit systems and 1050 Megabyte of space on 64-bit systems if installed via Windows Update.


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  1. Teiji said on March 20, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Haha just realized. My Windows 7 is already SP1 integrated.

  2. DW said on March 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    System Recovery? Is (or was) SP1 updated to the recovery partition? If not?

    1. DanTe said on March 20, 2013 at 7:46 am

      Honestly, if you have to ask this question, you really shouldn’t bother with downloading it. If problems occur, just do your recovery and than allow it to do automatic Windows Update.

  3. Teiji said on March 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I’m using Windows 7 Ultimate x64. Which file(s) should I download in case I need to reformat my harddrive in the future?

  4. DanTe said on March 19, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Thanks for the info. I download the Service Packs for when I need to do installs at a later date on other systems or a reinstall. it comes in handy.

    1. DanTe said on March 20, 2013 at 7:45 am

      Woops. Just realized, I’ve downloaded this last year already.

  5. Robert said on March 19, 2013 at 9:38 am

    750 and 1050 megs hard drive space is fairly hefty. Are those the sizes of the service packs themselves or is it the service pack size plus additional work space required on the hard drive for installation?

    1. Dan said on March 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      I’ve used SP1 since February 2011; it’s always been huge to download/install, usually takes up to an hour start to finish in Home Premium, sometimes frustrates with “installation failed” after long wait (re-trying a time or two as per fail codes always works); but SP1 creates about 500MB of its own backup files which…once SP1 is properly installed and playing well on system…are ready for deletion via Windows native Disk Cleaner utility or disk cleaner of your choice (CCleaner has always removed the SP1 backups first time cleaner is run after installing).

  6. Andreas said on March 19, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Because of this news, I downloaded the Win7 SP1 32-bit installation file today.

  7. ilev said on March 19, 2013 at 5:07 am

    “consumer PCs and not PCs that are managed by a Microsoft management tool such as SCCM or WSUS Server.”

    Those PCs already received Hotfix rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
    something that home users probably won’t get.

    ..An enterprise hotfix rollup is available for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

    “This article describes a hotfix rollup for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)-based and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1-based computers. This hotfix rollup contains 90 hotfixes that were released after the release of SP1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. These hotfixes improve the overall performance and system reliability of Windows 7 SP1-based and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1-based computers…

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