| By Susan Bradley |
Any service pack can be problematic, but Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) provides some extra-special challenges.
Vista SP1 offered clear benefits, including better performance, but with Vista’s second service pack you may just want to hold out for Windows 7’s release later this year.
Don’t be in a hurry to install Vista SP2
Microsoft recently began pushing Service Pack 2 to Vista users via Windows’ Automatic Update service. However, a few days ago I learned that MS seems to have backed off on offering SP2 to everyone. I’ll track the status of this and report on it in a future column.
Meanwhile, if you have Automatic Updates enabled, you may at any time see SP2 among the updates you’re offered — if you haven’t already. This service pack suffers from a few problems. In his June 4 Known Issues column, WS technical editor Dennis O’Reilly described some of the problems that early Vista SP2 adopters have reported.
As most of my readers know by now, I usually recommend setting Automatic Updates to download new patches but ask before installing patches. This gives you an opportunity to uncheck “Vista SP2” until we’re relatively certain that all the bugs have been worked out. (For instructions on adjusting your Automatic Updates settings, see today’s article by Scott Spanbauer and Scott Dunn’s Aug. 14, 2008, Top Story.)
I think you should be very, very careful whenever you install a service pack. While Vista SP2 supposedly doesn’t make any overt changes to your system, installing the service pack is still risky. The dreaded “Stuck on update 3 out of 3” issue that we saw with Vista SP1 — documented in Microsoft Knowledge Base article 949358 — can occur as well when you apply Vista SP2. This problem is discussed in the Yahoo forum and elsewhere on the Web.