General guidance before installing Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2

Now that we’ve had the service pack available for a couple of weeks, I wanted to post a quick note for those of you who have not yet rolled out the service pack to your environment for things you can do before installing Service Pack 1 that might alleviate some headaches during your installation/deployment.

  1. Remove any unnecessary language packs from your system.  We’ve seen a lot of issues where customers have installed all of the language packs and are hitting issues installing the service pack because they run out of resources on their machine.  Long story short, if you don’t need the language pack installed, remove it.  Information on these errors is here: . Update:  This has basically been fixed if you install the following KB beforehand:
  2. If you have a dual boot installation, make sure that your Windows System Reserved Partition is the ONLY active partition when you do the installation.  This has been a pretty common issue as well.  Dual boot installations with any Linux derivative seem to hit this the most often, you can alleviate this ahead of time by ensuring that Windows is the only active partition at the time of install.  For these, check here:
  3. If you’ve used any third party tools to “clean” your system you are most likely going to run into issues installing.  For these, run the latest CheckSUR tool (KB947821) and make sure that it is at least clean.  It wont find all of the issues caused by these tools but it can find some of them.  If your CheckSUR report is not clean, do NOT attempt to install the service pack until you have those errors resolved.  Info for these is here:
  4. If you have third party intrusion software, make sure its disabled prior to installing the service pack.  This can cause the service pack to have issues when copying over files.  Re-enable this after you have installed SP1.  One of these is documented here:
  5. If you have group policies locking down specific directories in your environment, make sure that you don’t have them set on the component or driver stores in Windows.  I have seen this a number of times now where there are policies active on the machine that lock down the component store (\Windows\winsxs) or the driver store (\Windows\system32\driverstore) and this causes issues with getting the service pack installed.  Usually you can catch these because you will see an ACCESS DENIED error during installation in the CBS.log.
  6. If you had ANY pre-release version of the service pack or any Microsoft OOB tools installed, remove them before attempting the service pack.  We’ve seen this a lot and it causes all different kinds of errors during installation.  Make sure you get these old beta/RC versions off your machine before installing the RTM bits.  Lots of content on these, but the main two are: and
  7. If you have a lot of network filter drivers, uninstall some of them or increase your limit for them using the tips outlined here:
  8. Last but not least, just check the state of your machine before installing the service pack.  You can look over the CBS.logs for any stand-out errors.  Review your system event logs for any issues that you might see.  Run the CheckSUR utility on the machine to make sure we don’t have any known issues that show up. 

As always, rant here if you need to Smile.