I got this question from Nick who co-writes a blog called Nick’s Technology Blog:
“I heard that I could get sp1 through windows update in mid-April. is this true?”
The answer is yes and no. Let me explain.
The key thing is how Windows Update is set up on your computer. If you have Windows Update set up to simply notify you of updates or you manually check for updates, you can get Vista SP1 today (assuming you don’t have something on this list that prevents it from showing up). That’s the “no” part.
The “yes” part goes something like this. If you have Windows Update set up to automatically download and install updates (which by the way is NOT a setting I recommend for ANYBODY) or simply download and notify (another setting I don’t recommend), then you will not see Vista SP1 until “sometime” in April. I suspect Microsoft is doing this so that they can see what problems that people in the first category have before they really open the floodgates. It makes sense to me why they might do that.
How did I figure this out? Well, Microsoft hasn’t officially said anything but I read this article and decided to do an experiment. I cloned my pre SP1 Vista virtual machine on my MacBook Pro (another reason why running Windows on Macintosh using Parallels is better than running Windows on real PCs). I set one to automatically download and install updates, and the other was set to simply notify that updates were available. If I manually had the latter virtual machine look for updates, it would present me with SP1. The former didn’t present me with SP1 for the 24 hours that I left it running. So it seems that the article was accurate.
Alternately if you want SP1 now, you can simply download it from the links I referenced in this article, but my warnings from previous articles still apply. I’d wait until any issues that may appear with SP1 surface and those issues are fixed.