When I spotted a headline called “What You Need to Know About Windows 7 Service Pack 1”, I was certain it was a mistake, where someone had inadvertently posted something to the RSS feed from about 6 weeks ago. I took a moment to look further, and saw that the date on the article was today’s, so I gave it a short perusal, to find that apparently I was one of the lucky ones, as all manner of problems have cropped up for people trying to upgrade to this first Service Package for Windows 7.

It looks as though many in corporate environs have been waiting to install, as they got early word about the problems occurring for otherwise solid systems when attempting to upgrade.

The fact that I no longer have a subscription to TechNet is against me when it comes to this news, as it is explained that there are not many, but a few, yet recurring problems with the installation of a wide variety of different machines, and for most of the problems, as yet no solution.

Not good Microsoft.

The first problem outlined is that the remote server administration tools that were designed for Windows 7, no longer work after the SP1 install. Oops! That could be a big problem for some.

There are also a significant number of machines that are consistently failing upon the attempt to install the service package, resulting in no less than 9 different error codes which seem to have no solution at this time. Also mentioned is that machines which have many language packs installed (something I would wonder about in most instances – except where one might be setting up a kiosk at an international airport…) are frequently unable to complete the upgrade.

Though we were told that there would be some programs which would not work correctly after the upgrade, it was not totally clear how many there might be. Microsoft has a list of application programs that have problems with SP1, fully detailed in Knowledge Base article KB 2492938.

Many problems are the same kind as were found in past updates, many times being as simple as stopping the antivirus program, but in other instances, a BIOS flash was needed. In another scenario, difficulties with hard drives were had, as shown when one variety was replaced with another, and no other changes being made, allowed successful completion.

Still others have had a problem with molasses-like boots after the installation of the service pack. For those people, the fix was stated to be five quick reboots, as that would re-initialize ReadyBoot RAM Cache. The problem is that said advice does not always work.

Then, in a total non sequitur, we are told that the rollout has been mostly without incident – yet I cannot remember an update to Windows being so plagued with problems that a month after the release people were still anxious about the installation. ( I clearly remember all the programs that Windows XP SP2 broke, but the system was not broken, all that was needed was to remove the offending programs, or update them as the supplier sent out updates. People that did not want to have problems with those programs did not install the service pack, until the fixes were in hand. )

I also am aware of my own problems, totaling two, neither of which is going to kill my use of Windows 7 Ultimate x64, but it is a long time to wait for fixes that have been there since day one, and one of them being error messages telling me that my system is low on memory resources, something I have not experienced since Windows XP was originally released – and then I saw it much less than now. In ten years, Microsoft has forgotten how to get the virtual memory working without incident, because after Windows XP SP1, that problem disappeared, and did not reappear until October 2009, when I installed Windows 7 RTM.

Microsoft is run by humans, and humans make mistakes, but humans should also have the incentive to fix those mistakes, and this is not what progress looks like. ( I also wonder what the long beta cycle for the SP was all about – it did not serve its purpose… Oh, and work on Windows 8? Perhaps we should get Windows 7 completely right, as it would be the first time in the history of Windows, and possibly change the slow [downward] slide that Microsoft faces right now.)