Your questions: is there free support for Windows Vista SP1 installation? In a word, yes
I woke up today and logged on to mail to find not one or two messages, but more than a few questions about support from Microsoft on SP1...
"Is Microsoft helping customers with SP1 installations?"
"If someone went to [Windows Update] last week and downloaded SP1 to a machine that person bought from an OEM, is MSFT providing free support if they need it?"
"where can i get help for Vista and how do I install it?"
"Can I get some help with getting the new service pack on to my computer?"
In a word, yes.
An article on Computerworld noted...
"Microsoft, however, has done little to broadcast news of the free SP1 support. The home page for the Windows Vista Solution Center, the operating system's help and support starting point, makes no mention of it, nor does Microsoft's main Windows Vista SP1 site."
Well... good feedback, point taken, and I forwarded that suggestion to the support team just moments ago. But IMHO, I think that the Vista support team is responding quite well to the feedback as it comes in.
For the story on support in the US, visit Windows Vista Service Pack 1 support page, where you'll find the following notice...
Unlimited installation and compatibility support is available at no charge until March 18, 2009.
If you call in for support, listen carefully to the options on the line as you wait and navigate for support. When you speak with an operator, be sure to tell the customer support agent that you would like support related to the installation of Service Pack one (or "SP1") of Windows Vista. I've also seen the wait time drop from 30 minutes for individual chat support to less than 10 just in the last few minutes.
This shouldn't be a surprise, as Microsoft has previously provided free support on service pack installations (as noted in this Live Search). But IMO it's important to be clear and ensure that the message is out there. I recall when I first moved to Redmond and we rolled out Windows XP SP2: Microsoft offered free, direct from Microsoft support for the service pack. No matter the policy or how ubiquitous the message, we can always do more to get the word out, just as we've found on other areas (er, like daylight saving time and time zone changes ;).
For no-charge support requests for SP1, call (in the States) (866) 234-6020. The number for TTY/TDD help requests is noted on the same page.
[added 032408, 10AM PAC] For more information on updating Windows Vista, please visit the Windows Vista Solution Center. If you need more help, click on the link at the bottom of the page...
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