What to Do if You Cannot Get Windows Vista Service Pack 1

According to the Microsoft support website, there are 8 causes for Service Pack 1 update problems. Don’t be disappointed. You’ll be able to find the 8 possible causes here as well as the solutions for each one. The causes are numbered in order from least complicated to most complicated. Also don’t forget that the Windows Update isn’t the only place you can download the Service Pack, although you will be downloading a 450MB standalone rather than a 65MB update. The download links are below.

Update: Seems like Microsoft is offering free support for SP1.

The MOST common cause for SP1 not showing up as an update is because your updates list is old.

  1. Open Windows Update (You can do this by opening the Start Menu and typing Windows Update in the search bar)
  2. Click “Check for Updates” in the sidebar

Then give the Update Manager a minute or two to refresh its contents. Once its finished, Service Pack should be available as an update.

As you can probably see, there are MANY causes for Service Pack 1 becoming unattainable. If you’re doing this solely because you cannot find it, I suggest that you only try up to Step 4 (Step 5 if you don’t mind the amount of work). After that you may choose to download the standalones:

Download Windows Service Pack 1 Standalone (32-bit based systems) 435MB
Download Windows Service Pack 1 Standalone (64-bit based systems) 727MB

Now for the other causes…

Table of Contents:

1) You’re using the wrong language pack
2) You’ve already installed SP1 before
3) You see a bunch of updates but no Service Pack update
4) You’ve tried step 3 but there are no important updates
5) You’ve previously or recently encountered Windows Update errors
6) A hardware or device driver caused problems after installing Windows Vista Service Pack 1
7) You used vLite to accidentally remove something you weren’t supposed to

1) The language pack you are using does not support Windows Vista

Windows Vista SP1 currently supports only one of the five following language packs:

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • German

If you’re not using one of these language packs, it’s possible for you to switch to these language packs. I’m not too sure whether the service pack will still be in effect if you switch back to the unsupported language – I doubt it will. You can switch by going to Start > Control Panel > Regional and Language Settings. Get to the third tab that says Keyboard and Languages, and choose one of the support languages in the drop down Menu.

If you don’t have one of these language packs, you’ll have to wait until Microsoft makes a second release later in 2008.

2) You already have a version of Windows Vista SP1 installed

How do you check? Simply press Start, right click Computer, and choose Properties. Look under Windows Edition.

If you don’t have any mention of Service Pack under Windows Edition, then you don’t have the Service Pack. If you do, then make sure that it is the final release of SP1, and not an RTM or Beta. If it is, you’ll have to uninstall it first.

Uninstalling previous versions of Service Pack 1:

To do this, open your Start Menu and type in Windows Update. Click on Installed Updates in the bottom left corner. Then look for the Service Pack under M.
Right click it and choose Uninstall. It will take some time but after you Uninstall, open Windows Update. Make sure to click Check for Updates and you should be able to install the Service Pack.

3) You see one or more updates when you run Windows Update, but there is no sign of the service pack

If this is the case, you will have to install all the updates indicated as “Important.” Check these updates, download them and install them. Once that is complete, the Service Pack update should be listed. Make sure to press Check for Updates to refresh the Updates list.

4) There are no updates listed as Important

Press “Check for Updates” in the sidebar and wait for a minute for Windows Update to refresh update its list of updates.

5) Window Service Pack Blocker Tool is blocking the delivery of Windows Vistas SP1 from Windows Update

When Windows Update fails to update properly, it blocks the user from updating and installing service packs. CheckSUR will fix these problems. If you are or have encountered numerous update errors in the past, you should follow these instructions to fix the problem. If you think this may be, simply download this file

CheckSUR Registry Fix

You then need to open it as administrator. You can do this by right clicking and choosing Run as Administrator. When you run it, it will make two registry changes that allow your computer to run CheckSUR. Once applied, you will need to download CheckSUR from the Microsoft website:

Download CheckSUR for 32-bit Windows Vista
Download CheckSUR for 64-bit Windows Vista

When you’re done downloading the file, install and run CheckSUR.

6) A hardware or device driver caused problems when attempting to install SP1

In order to ensure a smooth update, Windows Vista Service Pack 1 won’t be made available to you if you use one of the drivers listed below. What you need to do is to make sure that you update these drivers to their latest versions. My first recommendation would be to just run Windows Update to ensure you’ve updated all your drivers from there. If the problem still persists, you’ll need a way of finding out if you are using these conflicting drivers. First, open the Start menu and type in system information then push enter. Once you push enter, you’ll be able to view the driver information of your components by selecting the appropriate category in the sidebar. For this example, I’ll use audio.

I’m using hdaudio.sys so I’m OK since it is not a conflicting driver. Use this window to check for any drivers that may match the ones indicated below.

Audio drivers
Realtek AC’97

For x86-based computers: Alcxwdm.sys – version or earlier
For x64-based computers: Alcwdm64.sys – version or earlier


For x86-based computers: Sthda.sys – version 5.10.5762.0 or earlier
For x64-based computers: Sthda64.sys – version 5.10.5762.0 or earlier


For x86-based computers: Stwrt.sys – version 6.10.5511.0 or earlier
For x64-based computers: Stwrt64.sys – version 6.10.5511.0 or earlier

Creative Audigy

For x86-based and x64-based computers: Ctaud2k.sys – version or earlier
For x86-based computers: P17.sys – all versions (This was originally a Windows XP-based driver.)

Conexant HD Audio

For x86-based computers: Chdart.sys – version or earlier
For x64-based computers: Chdart64.sys – version or earlier

Biometric (Fingerprint) Sensors

AuthenTec Fingerprint Sensor with the Atswpdrv.sys driver file – version or earlier
UPEK Fingerprint Sensor with the Tcusb.sys driver file – version or earlier

Display drivers

Intel Display

For x86-based computers: Igdkmd32.sys – versions between and including driver and
For x64-based computers: Igdkmd64.sys – versions between and including driver and

Other drivers

Texas Instruments Smart Card Controller with the GTIPCI21.sys driver file – version or earlier

Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 with the Watcher.exe application – version or earlier (This application is located in the AirCard 580 Program Files folder.)

Symantec software driver for Symantec Endpoint Protection and for Symantec Network Access Control clients

For x86-based computers: Wgx.sys – versions 11.0.1000.1091 or earlier
For x64-based computers: Wgx64.sys – versions 11.0.1000.1091 or earlier

Note Apparently Symantec is aware of this problem and is working on it. Visit this link for more information on how to configure your software to receive the latest updates. http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index.jsp

Source: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=948343

Once you are done checking, it’s time to update those drivers. Open Start Menu and type Device Manager, then press Enter. Once at the device manager, open up the appropriate device tree, right click the device, and choose Update Driver software.

Sometimes this does not always work. So you’ll have to manually update the driver by visiting the vendor or manufacturer’s website and updating it from there.

7) You’ve used vLite and accidentally removed the required components for a Service Pack Upgrade

Vlite seems to have a full section dedicated to this problem here.

Hopefully you’ve been able to get Service Pack 1 by now. You can check out this article for a list of the most important changes made with SP1, or a full list by Microsoft here. Still need help? Check out our new forums where you can get an even faster and better response!