Windows 7 SP1 is out, and showing up in Windows Update now. I won’t be installing it right away, as my system has actually worked for the last couple of weeks or so. If you’re not having problems, waiting a month or so isn’t a bad idea.
The reason is that even though service packs get tested extensively, it’s not uncommon for problems to surface in the real world once they’re released. Sometimes the problems are minor, and sometimes the system becomes unbootable, such as with Vista SP1. Installing a service pack right after it comes out is pretty much an act of desperation. I’ve been there recently, but I’m beyond it now.
I’ll give it about a month, keep watching for reports of problems from the field, and if I don’t see anything significant that seems to affect my configuration, then I’ll jump.
There aren’t a lot of significant changes with this service pack–it’s pretty much a rollup of bug fixes. It’s more a political move than anything else. Gartner tells organizations not to deploy Microsoft operating systems until Service Pack 1 comes out, so Microsoft feels compelled to deliver something it can call Service Pack 1 by the time an operating system reaches 18 months of age or so, whether it’s really necessary or not. That way, once the big initial consumer push is up, they can get the revenue from corporate rollouts going.
If you’re a Microsoft shareholder that’s a big deal, since so many corporations skipped Windows Vista. I suppose it could be a big deal if you own stock in large OEMs like Dell and HP too, since many companies held on to aging Windows XP PCs and will opt to deploy new hardware along with Windows 7.
But from a user perspective, after the Windows XP service packs, which really caused that venerable OS to come into its own, Windows 7 SP1 feels like something of a letdown. At least initially.