Microsoft may kill Windows Service Packs

Everybody who has used Windows probably remembers installing service packs on their favorite version of Windows. For those who don't know, Windows service packs (or SPs) are packages that include a collection of updates, fixes, and enhancements to the particular version of Windows they are made for. They often bring increased performance and reliability. The era of Service Packs may be coming to an end, however. The number of service packs for each windows version is steadily decreasing. Below is a list of each Windows version and its service packs, going back to Windows 2000.

  • Windows 2000: There were 4 service packs (SP1 to SP4), with an update rollup after SP4
  • Windows XP: There were 3 service packs for the 32-bit versions, and 2 for the 64-bit version
  • Windows Vista: 2 service packs for all versions
  • Windows 7: 1 service pack, with no assurances on a future one being released

As shown, this number is declining, and service packs may cease entirely, if hints from Microsoft are correct. As Neowin reported recently, Microsoft is issuing an update before Windows 8 hits general availability (GA). The update itself is a whopping 170 megabytes (MB), with updates to performance, power management, media playback, and compatibility. According to PCWorld, this is the first time Microsoft has ever updated Windows between hitting RTM and release to retail stores.

Jason Miller, who is in charge of R&D at the virtualization company VMWare, has said the following:

"We've never seen them do something like this before. They're definitely changing how they do things to add more features on the fly."

Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows division, has essentially stated as much on the Building Windows 8 blog:

"During the final months of Windows 8 we challenged ourselves to create the tools and processes to be able to deliver these 'post-RTM' updates sooner than a service pack," Sinofsky wrote. "By developing better test automation and test coverage tools ... Windows 8 will be totally up to date for all customers starting at General Availability."

Some have already pegged this update as Service Pack 0.1, and it remains to be seen whether Microsoft will continue to deploy a stream of constant enhancements, instead of waiting to release a service pack. In this situation, only time will tell. However, this is a strange break from tradition for even Microsoft.

Sources: Neowin, PCWorld, and Microsoft

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I'd have no problem with that, if they provided some tools to make it dead-simple to slipstream any and all updates are available into an existing ISO image of the installation media.

Service Pack = Cumulative collection of Updates

What Windows 8 is doing is not any different.

Even if they never release a "Service Pack" iteration, there will still be a cumulative collection of updates that professionals can roll into the install image.


I think people are getting confused that a Service Pack is something OTHER than just a collection of updates available. Service Packs offer nothing new, with the exception that Microsoft has planned a few key updates that could have been rolled out like the previous updates into the SP release, so developers could check versioning for the feature.

Service packs serve two important roles which I don't see going away:
1) If you install the OS after it's been out many months and thus accumulated many "patch Tuesdays" then it's nice to download a single rolled up pack of patches that you can install on multiple systems instead of having each system go out to Windows Update and down them tons of them one at a time. In some cases you may not even have connectivity during the install.
2) I establishes a baseline set of applied patches for system requirements. In other words Application X requires Windows Y with Service Pack Z or above. Otherwise you'd have to say Application X requires Windows Y with Patch A, Patch B, Patch C... Patch N applied.

Exactly as I predicted......enjoy having to pay for your updates. Or you could dump Microsoft, since they are pretty much irrelevant these days.

Mike Frett said,
Exactly as I predicted......enjoy having to pay for your updates. Or you could dump Microsoft, since they are pretty much irrelevant these days.

Strongly doubt they would charge for updates....

Upgrades yes. But updates? Not a chance.

Irrelevant? Say that to the corporate world.

Good!!

Always thought service packs were the next closest thing a big time waste of time! What sense does it make to combine all previous patches/fixes in one HUGE update, when we've already gotten all those updates individually?

I've NEVER seen anything different as a result of installing a service pack, except for the fact I just lost an hour of time, or more, waiting to download, confirm download, preparing to install, installing, etc..........

With the stupid way updates work since Vista by going throught he control panel, sucks even more. I never once, had multiple updates install successfully on Vista, which is partially why I hated that POS OS!

One of the best things MS could do is eliminate this total waste of time!

bviktor said,
"assentially", "alredy" what's wrong with you guys.

Fixed. Slight typographical error. We all make mistakes. Thank you for your input.

We generically test Windows Updates prior to releasing them to a large-ish server estate. However Service Packs are a bigger consideration, and require more in-depth testing - and we never automatically release them to servers, but instead prefer to hand apply them just in case of unexpected problems (anyone who remembers Windows Server 2003 Service Packs will know that it changed the behaviour of the firewall, for example) - if Microsoft are doing away with Service Packs in future then in principle I think it's a good idea.

We deploy machines off templates anyway so we'd just keep the template(s) patched and up to date.

What they NOW need to concentrate on working on is not needing to reboot as often to replace certain files. Linux updates typically only require a restart of a particular service / daemon that's been patched or a reboot only when the kernel is updated.. the rest of the time the updates just apply and you carry on as before.

Hmm, may be this article is not very accurate...
For 2000 there were 4 Sp and 2 Updates Roll-up. The First Roll-up was published when 2000 has hit the end-of-life, as cumulative patch for what was relases after SP4. The second was launched only few months after, to fix some bugs in the first and a security issue.
XP and followers didn't reach yet the end-of-life support ( extended ). So, if not a SP ,an update Roll-up may come.
For Windows 7 an SP2 may came next year to include also some updates from Windows 8, as Vista had received the SP2 after Windows 7 launch.
And about updates for Windows 8 between the RTM and Public launch - all other systems have received similar updates. Just Windows 8 update seems a little bigger than usual. normally these updates contains bug fixes discovered in RC and not fixed at time to be included in RTM, and some security fixes discovered after RTM.

Updates Roll-up are not service pack!
The article is accurate, I also think Windows 7 will be left with a single service pack, Microsoft is being clear, they want this old API generation die to give space to their shine new Metro.

arseny92 said,
Why Windows NT 4.0 is not mentioned in the article with it's six service packs?

It was the only one where the number of service packs increased too, NT 3.51 just had five.

So maybe they should release a new single cumulative update every patch tuesday, recycling the one from the week before.
The only disappointment that I still have is that when you update, you should not have to reboot. Dynamically unload and reload with updated files, even if it requires you to log out, as long as you don't need to reboot.

netsendjoe said,
The only disappointment that I still have is that when you update, you should not have to reboot. Dynamically unload and reload with updated files, even if it requires you to log out, as long as you don't need to reboot.

If you unload a DLL whilst a program is using it => crash...

MsftGaurav said,
Microsoft has made no such official announcement so this is shoddy reporting at its best.

Read the building windows 8 blog. My interpretation is constant stream of updates= no SPs

Nogib said,
Why only go back as far as Win2000? Trend is even more clear if you recall that NT 4.0 went up to SP6!

I know this and I am quite aware. Just thought that going back that far wouldn't make much sense. A lot of people are on 7, Vista and XP, but there are still some on 2000. I don't know very many people who run NT 4.0 ( I run it in a VM)

I think this was inevitable. The era of media is dying and the needs and capability of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

More than less people have HSI and can always re-download their apps from the web within a reasonable period of time.

As for the operating systems. I feel that Microsoft is adopting a more “Apple” and “Linux” approach which can allow the OS to download and install from the web. If you have access to an OS and App image that is controlled by the OEM and the image bits are always slipstreamed with the latest code then there should be no reason for hundreds of updates post install.

For those with dial up and REALLY slow Internet, they are already screwed. Even if they use the latest SP Media build, there will still be 50 updates for them to download post install, per OS and APP.

As for corporations. When is the last time a major corporation installed and/or imaged machines using disc media. Today its either VDI or Thick client. For thick client installs they use jump servers that have the latest image build with all update bits rolled up. Most applications within corporations are pushed via automation…Again, with the latest patches already rolled up.

Starting this year and next year, more and more laptops and desktop will not be shipping with disc drives. When is the last time we have installed programs using a disc? Most third party applications use install managers and self-update via the web.

Should you need to do a fresh install at home…

1. Locate the OS disc, if you can. - 20 minutes
2. If you can't find it, or its scratched or it was created with SP1 and SP2 is already released…Re-download the OS with SP2 - 20 - 40 minutes.
3. Burn to Disc or make USB image - 10 minutes.
4. Install on computer. - 20-30 minutes before you get a desktop.
5. Connect to Internet and download the updates that came out after SP2. 10-15 minutes….Add 10-20 minutes to install the updates and reboot.

That's 1.5 - 2.25 hours to use the physical media and Service Pack approach. Plus you need to stand and watch the process to complete. Now install all your applications and download all the SPs and patches for those apps…..Add 1-2 hours, and you cant leave, you have to stay, watch, click “I agree” 10 times, reboot 2-3 times, etc.

With Internet only installs and constant updates and roll-ups. 1-2 hours to download the image and install. All updates already built into the image you downloaded because the image came from the OEM during install.

Since Microsoft Windows 8 and Apple OSX Lion and up have gone cloud and bind your apps to your user ID/email account. All apps and settings you had before are already known, then downloaded and installed with the latest bits. No updates required.

This is identical to a refresh of your smartphone. No SP required…

Even if this process takes as long as the manual approach, its still nice to walk away and come back later with a ready to use computer with all OS and apps installed with latest bits and not updated to latest bits.

I say…No more Service packs! Like Apple Macs….Power on, Hold Command + R. Laptop boots to recovery (5 minutes), connects to internet with Apple ID (5 minutes), downloads Mountain Lion image with latest bits per Apple keeping the image up to date (1 hour, maybe longer). OS installed (20 minutes), comes up, and auto downloads all apps from App store with latest bits….(20 - 30 minutes)…All of this with little involvement from me.

I can start this process before I go to bed, wake up and take my laptop to work with no Post Configuration needed….

Microsoft can do this too….And it is smart.


$50 less for that new computer at Best Buy because they didn't add a DVD drive to it that you will never use….Minutes and/or hours of your life back due to internet and/or remote install ability with latest bits. No updates coming back with Unsuccessful install messages, etc, etc..

Death to the Service Pack I say….Who's with me…!

[quote=Intel008 said,]...Blah Blah Blah...[quote]

The IT industry has become a nightmare primarily for this reason... the old timers among us grit our teeth, while people who comment like this really haven't a clue.

What was the purpose of Service Packs? To FIX things that are BROKEN. On the rare occasion they also added new features (XP SP2 + Firewall etc.)... but realistically those type of additions were also to fix BROKENS (i.e. Microsoft's dismal security model... an unpatched Windows XP install was generally compromised within minutes of connecting to the internet).

Goodness forbid you deal with any enterprise software.... the whole concept of "Oh well we'll just grab the latest version" doesn't work. I don't want to even remember the number of times I have reported bugs/recieved patches, and then the next version (months/years later) I find that the previous bug fix didn't even make it into a release (at least with service packs I know exactly what is/isn't included). So what you end up with is a nightmare of patchwork versions + patches that is always a moving target.

As for your cloud... let me be the first to laugh as one day you login to find your account suspended/blocked/deleted for whatever reason the cloud provider finds to do so.... "but but my data is private"... sorry... if it isn't stored locally, it isn't your data, plain and simple.

And your Lion Internet Recovery scenario... please advise me, what exactly will you do when Apple (or any vendor that subscribes to this method in the future) decides to shutdown the service/that version? Oops? You will deserve everything you get for giving up your install media.

I get your argument for enterprise organizations, which is why Microsoft and Apple have Server versions of there software that allow you to implement the remote based, constant updating methods “Privately”. The data and control of the data stay internal to the corporate network. If a patch is released, the admin has control of whether to roll it up into the install image. So any concerns of version control is mitigated.

For home users, etc…Risk vs. reward…Your data is not only on their clouds, but is synced locally. Should the service stop and/or your account be locked out for any reason…Your data is available locally. You also have the option to save local copies of your installed apps and OS. So it looks like these large companies such as Apple and Microsoft have thought of your concerns.

As for security, etc…People can make the same argument that the average home user has no concept of how to properly secure and backup their data. So the chance of being hacked at home, or attacked by virus or your computer crash and burning with that new fancy SSD drive that dies without warning….It's nice to know that user has all their stuff on Microsoft and Apple servers…

And, if Apple and MS decide to disco a major service that all their customers depend on. The companies have a good reputation of migrating you to the replacement service and/or giving you MORE than enough time to get what you want off their servers. I have a local copy of my OSX LION that I can burn to DVD any time I want…But for now. I have recovery that is far more convenient for not only me, but for Apple. If Apple kills it. I go back to burning DVDs and installing update, after update, after update, etc….OH…and rebooting 3 times…

Time for the old timers to learn some new tricks…

This is why you have the whole enterprise world going to VDI.....I work for Cisco....new technology my team has been working on....BYOD....Read up on it...I know BYOD is not specific to Service Packs....but Desktop provisioning that takes hours to do and prep work required, etc....backup users settings, restore, install, patch, patch, patch....those days are going away...

Edited by Intel008, Oct 12 2012, 6:05am :

Intel008 said,
Stuff that I totally agree with
I'm all for what you have to say and it's this old fashioned mentality and the tried and true "don't fix what isn't broken" saying is what's really holding things back. Sure these people have some good points but there sheer inability to adapt and work around problems for a time being is what's really making it hard for tech companies to try to come up with new ideas to work around and fix said problems...

Intel008 said,
I think this was inevitable. The era of media is dying and the needs and capability of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

It will still take some time to make this mainstream and drop the support for the physical media. There are many countries, like mine, which is very very expensive to get 10 Mb of download speed(1.3 Mega Bytes per second). I get myself 400 Kilobytes per second for 150 dollars.

I won't be seeing any upgrade on the next few years due costs and for the reason that they've augmented taxes drastically for telecommunications.

ok anybody care to point me how to add those 3 thousand updates you must install after every single install?

Hidr0 said,
ok anybody care to point me how to add those 3 thousand updates you must install after every single install?

Windows update, and 2 or 3 restarts is the most it takes; at least that's what I do.

eddman said,

Windows update, and 2 or 3 restarts is the most it takes; at least that's what I do.

2 or 3? are you kidding? It takes lot more than 2 or 3 restarts

eddman said,

Windows update, and 2 or 3 restarts is the most it takes; at least that's what I do.


Har har, only 2-3 restarts... If you install any .NET Frameworks or Office, expect >2-3 restarts easily.

Panda X said,
So how does this affect reinstalls? Having a pack of updates cuts the hassle of rebooting every 23 updates.

Windows 8 now doesn't annoy you with updates and it should just do them whenever you restart.

There needs to be a SP4 for XP - so many updates since SP3 that a roll up is needed before finishing off support.

sava700 said,
There needs to be a SP4 for XP - so many updates since SP3 that a roll up is needed before finishing off support.

There might be a rollup, but no service pack. A service pack garners need for official support. Since XP expires in a little over a year, there will be none.

sava700 said,
There needs to be a SP4 for XP - so many updates since SP3 that a roll up is needed before finishing off support.
For real...? That OS is done for in a year and a half... Time to let it rest in peace and move on already.

sava700 said,
There needs to be a SP4 for XP - so many updates since SP3 that a roll up is needed before finishing off support.

completely agree mantaining newly formatted xp machines its a pain and tedious just to download the updates, we need a new service pack

eilegz said,

completely agree mantaining newly formatted xp machines its a pain and tedious just to download the updates, we need a new service pack

Did you read what I said above? You can't have a new SP. A new service pack would mean Microsoft needs to support it, and they've already said no to dragging XP along further.

Eh. Service Packs nowadays don't bring a lot of interesting and/or exciting features, so one SP as a collection of previews updates and then regular updates sounds good.

I just wish updates would bring new features.

jwoodfin09 said,
Service packs just aren't all of the updates. New features are added in sometimes that the updates don't provide

That only happened with XP, and it was a mistake. Now every time a service pack comes out people start assuming new features are going to be added.

good news! service packs are too slow! however this will make it tougher to make a distinction between windows 8 and windows 9

Dot Matrix said,

I HIGHLY doubt it.


Considering 7 is supported until 2020 (maybe longer), to go this long without some sort of SP or roll-up is a joke. Can you imagine installing 7 SP1 in 2019 and being faced with 250-300 updates after running Windows Update?

ozzy76 said,

Considering 7 is supported until 2020 (maybe longer), to go this long without some sort of SP or roll-up is a joke. Can you imagine installing 7 SP1 in 2019 and being faced with 250-300 updates after running Windows Update?

Exactly. Windows 7 is the new XP for most companies. They won't be upgrading anytime soon. So a Service Pack will be imminent.

Jose_49 said,

Exactly. Windows 7 is the new XP for most companies. They won't be upgrading anytime soon. So a Service Pack will be imminent.

You might get update rollups, but a full out service pack? Doubtful. The times have changed, and even for Windows 7, you'll see faster updates, and different deployment tools. Keep in mind, service packs were designed in a different time when bandwidth was an issue, and not everyone had Internet access.

Also, you have Windows 8 to think about. Microsoft is re-aligning their business, and are in the middle of updating their services for the new OS. A service Pack 2 for Windows 7 wouldn't be anything special, as I doubt you will see any significant Windows 8 technologies backported.

Dot Matrix said,

I HIGHLY doubt it.

There will for sure be at least a roll up. Doing updates on a clean install of 7 SP1 takes a ridiculously long time.

ozzy76 said,

Considering 7 is supported until 2020 (maybe longer), to go this long without some sort of SP or roll-up is a joke. Can you imagine installing 7 SP1 in 2019 and being faced with 250-300 updates after running Windows Update?

250-300 is being optimistic... Unrealistically optimistic.

GS:mac

ozzy76 said,

Considering 7 is supported until 2020 (maybe longer), to go this long without some sort of SP or roll-up is a joke. Can you imagine installing 7 SP1 in 2019 and being faced with 250-300 updates after running Windows Update?

Windows 7 has until 2015 for a SP update. 2020 is the cutoff for extended support.

Dot Matrix said,

You might get update rollups, but a full out service pack? Doubtful. The times have changed, and even for Windows 7, you'll see faster updates, and different deployment tools. Keep in mind, service packs were designed in a different time when bandwidth was an issue, and not everyone had Internet access.

Also, you have Windows 8 to think about. Microsoft is re-aligning their business, and are in the middle of updating their services for the new OS. A service Pack 2 for Windows 7 wouldn't be anything special, as I doubt you will see any significant Windows 8 technologies backported.

Service Packs are not only about bringing new features. They are to simplify the installation process and to refresh and remove unused or obsolete updates.

Seeing the amount of updates which have come after Windows 7 SP1, I see no reason why MS would not push them.

According to PCWorld, this is the first time Microsoft has ever updated Windows between hitting RTM and release to retail stores.

Probably because this is the first time they have such a huge competition in tablet OS department. They must make sure their new OS is as robust, bug free and optimized as possible, or reviewers will tear it apart.

Raa said,
I can't say I like this idea, I rather like service packs!

I think they're going to dump the service pack cycle (once a year more or less) and push out quicker cumulative updates or update packs like they just did which are sorta like SPs in that they fix things etc but at the same time I expect them to do big feature packs which bring new things and a bump in the version number etc.

First they take away the Start Menu, now they're taking away the service pack? Goddamit, Microsoft, quit changing stuff. You're going to make the nerds hiding away in the IT closet cry. ;-)

Dot Matrix said,
First they take away the Start Menu, now they're taking away the service pack? Goddamit, Microsoft, quit changing stuff. You're going to make the nerds hiding away in the IT closet cry. ;-)

Those who embrace change will succeed.

Anyone who works in IT Strategy and Transformation knows this.

kizzaaa said,

Those who embrace change will succeed.

Anyone who works in IT Strategy and Transformation knows this.

Like Coca-Cola and New Coke?

kizzaaa said,

Those who embrace change will succeed.

Anyone who works in IT Strategy and Transformation knows this.

Seems to me most of the IT community on this website and many others are the ones most terrified of change ironically...

Synthetic said,
Seems to me most of the IT community on this website and many others are the ones most terrified of change ironically...

Just about to say that. The nerds in IT go crazy (in a bad way) over change. Something I never did understand.

kizzaaa said,

Those who embrace change will succeed.

Anyone who works in IT Strategy and Transformation knows this.

dont fix what its not broken... IT changes most of the time means problems

Dot Matrix said,
First they take away the Start Menu, now they're taking away the service pack? Goddamit, Microsoft, quit changing stuff. You're going to make the nerds hiding away in the IT closet cry. ;-)

Some people just aren't shill-ish enough to assume that all change is good. And as Razorfold pointed out this move would waste a lot of system admins time and bandwidth.

Javik said,

Some people just aren't shill-ish enough to assume that all change is good.

And thank God they don't rule the world, I for one would not want to still be running Windows XP today.

Luis Mazza said,
How to easily identify a version with lots of updates installed?

Version of what?

Windows - Right-click Computer and go to Properties or go to Control Panel->System

Wat? No just no. 2000 and XP have more service packs because they're older. Windows 7 has only been out 2-3 years so obviously it can't have 5 service packs. 2000 and XP also had giant security holes hence requiring more updates and fixes (and as a result more service packs). Vista and 7 on the other hand have been made with security as a primary focus, they've been a lot more stable and secure so less fixes and updates were needed.

Service packs just make it easier for admins and end users to quickly update their system after a fresh install with one big update instead of 100 smaller ones. They're just a collection of all previously released updates. I don't think MS will get rid of them, not unless they want a whole slew of admins mad at them.

This is not necessarily true. Service Packs on XP were released every 2-4 years. Windows 2000 was updated about every year with one service pack. Microsoft once claimed it was the most secure version ever, and that was after XP was released. 2008 and 2009 saw the release of SPs for Vista. Windows 7 will most likely have one service pack, due to Windows 8 coming out. Microsoft is increasing the frequency of updates. Admins will get used to it.

2000, XP and Vista all got services pack after the next version of Windows was released. MS has claimed every version if the most secure one ever (which is true).

And service packs have nothing to do with the frequency of updates. All a service pack is (apart from XP SP2) is a collection of all the previously released patches in one big patch. However, Vista and 7 have had less patches than XP did since its a lot harder to attack the system (ASLR, user groups, UAC etc).

Microsoft may just be moving away from calling them service packs and call them interim releases (like they do with Windows Phone 7). Windows blue is rumored to be one of those. But at the core they'll still remain service / feature packs.

-Razorfold said,
Wat? No just no. 2000 and XP have more service packs because they're older. Windows 7 has only been out 2-3 years so obviously it can't have 5 service packs. 2000 and XP also had giant security holes hence requiring more updates and fixes (and as a result more service packs). Vista and 7 on the other hand have been made with security as a primary focus, they've been a lot more stable and secure so less fixes and updates were needed.

Still, Windows 7 service pack 2 should have been released in Q2/Q3 2012 yet there are no news about it, no announcements, not even a release candidate and that seems pretty weird. It really feels like they've lost interest in releasing service packs.

-Razorfold said,

Service packs just make it easier for admins and end users to quickly update their system after a fresh install with one big update instead of 100 smaller ones. They're just a collection of all previously released updates. I don't think MS will get rid of them, not unless they want a whole slew of admins mad at them.

The deployment tools have changed a lot with Vista: you can easily integrate all the updates, drivers and applications you want and then turn that whole windows install into a new windows install DVD.

Also Service packs can save time but only if you use an install disc that already integrates them, if you install them from windows update they take a lot of time: since Vista you must install them all in sequence (you can't just install SP2, you need SP1 first) and when they finish you still have to install all the newer updates and as you can imagine it takes a lot of time and requires lots of reboots. If we didn't have service packs but just large cumulative patches like the one Apple releases you can update the whole computer in a single session without having to attend at the computer during all the time since the reboots would be very few.

francescob said,

Still, Windows 7 service pack 2 should have been released in Q2/Q3 2012 yet there are no news about it, no announcements, not even a release candidate and that seems pretty weird. It really feels like they've lost interest in releasing service packs.

If there isn't a need for a service pack release they won't release one? Like I said XP and 2000 have had a lot more patches and updates than Vista / 7 ever did. The total number of updates between XP SP2 and SP3 is something like 115 (let alone between RTM and SP2). Yes they take a lot of time to install through Windows Update but if you try installing all the updates individually they'll take even even longer.

If you have large cumulative patches...wait a sec that's exactly what service packs are. MS just needs to improve the way they're distributed (like you said you need to install SP1 before SP2). And I think they're doing that with interim releases like Windows Blue (8.1 etc). But like I said, they're still service packs just made better.

-Razorfold said,

If there isn't a need for a service pack release they won't release one? Like I said XP and 2000 have had a lot more patches and updates than Vista / 7 ever did.

I don't know if they will release one, I think they probably will but compared to Vista where you could find new service pack builds every other day things are very different now: there are no news about SP2 despite the service pack being shown months ago in previous release roadmaps. Maybe they just want to start changing things in the OS (adding features) to keep up to compete with iOS and android and having all those service packs in the way would make things much harder for them.

-Razorfold said,

The total number of updates between XP SP2 and SP3 is something like 115 (let alone between RTM and SP2). Yes they take a lot of time to install through Windows Update but if you try installing all the updates individually they'll take even even longer.

If you have large cumulative patches...wait a sec that's exactly what service packs are. MS just needs to improve the way they're distributed (like you said you need to install SP1 before SP2). And I think they're doing that with interim releases like Windows Blue (8.1 etc). But like I said, they're still service packs just made better.

Yes but service packs are released after years, if instead they started grouping the older and already tested smaller patches in roll-ups packages and releasing them often (like they started doing for Internet Explorer or this first Win8 patch) I think it would be just as good, certainly better than the current windows vista/7 or office service packs system (office updates cannot be integrated but only appended after the setup, installing office 2007 now has become a nightmare).

Service packs were very important before Vista came out because they fixed performance and other kind of issues but since Vista they started releasing those kind of fixes as official updates (Windows 7 gets those pretty regularly) so now they're not really that important like they used to be.

Well before Vista / 7 service packs were mainly meant for security reasons. XP and 2000 had huge amount of security flaws that needed to be fixed. But like I mentioned security has drastically improved since Vista and the number of patches have gone down.

Maybe MS just doesn't find it cost-savvy to release SP2 for Windows 7 because the amount of patches since SP1 hasn't been all that much (at least nowhere near the XP days). Thousands of hours of testing, build releases etc go into a service pack release and if there aren't enough updates to warrant a release they won't do it.

Small individual patches make sense when the number of updates are low, so yes MS may be delaying their SP release timeframe but eventually they will package them into something. I mean could you imagine installing all 400 updates (just an assumption since I don't know how many updates were released between RTM and SP2 just that 115 were released between SP2 and SP3) in one sitting after a clean install? The amount of time and restarts that would take would drive someone insane. However they may no longer call it SP1 and instead to go with names like Blue (or in wp7 case, nodo, mango and tango) but they're still SPs since the NT version hasn't changed. That seems the more likely option judging how MS is trying to simplify stuff and give their software "nicer" "cooler" names.

If Blue will be some sort of small free upgrade to compete better with android/iOS it will likely include all the previous updates but Windows 7, on the other hand, will certainly need a service pack or some sort of roll-up package though, because when you install large groups of updates it still takes exponentially more time than just installing them in small groups (every time a new update is installed it has to check all the previous reboot operations of the other pending updates so the more updates you install at once the slower it gets). With 200-300 updates it's going to be a real nightmare.

I think that if Microsoft simply released some monthly/yearly repackaged Windows 7 ISOs that included all the latest updates people would be just as happy: the way the Vista/7/8 patching system works is much different from XP's so it doesn't matter if you integrate the updates before or install them later, the result is identical (no dreaded "winrot" effect like on XP). The current updated Windows Vista/7 discs are like that, simple repackaged Windows 7 installs where the service pack was added, so it could be easily done even with groups of small updates and make sysadmins and end-users happy without much effort.

-Razorfold said,
Wat? No just no. 2000 and XP have more service packs because they're older. Windows 7 has only been out 2-3 years so obviously it can't have 5 service packs. 2000 and XP also had giant security holes hence requiring more updates and fixes (and as a result more service packs). Vista and 7 on the other hand have been made with security as a primary focus, they've been a lot more stable and secure so less fixes and updates were needed.

Service packs just make it easier for admins and end users to quickly update their system after a fresh install with one big update instead of 100 smaller ones. They're just a collection of all previously released updates. I don't think MS will get rid of them, not unless they want a whole slew of admins mad at them.

If there's one thing that's became clear it's that Microsoft seem to have stopped caring about power users with Windows 8.

I say good.

Waiting years for a cumulative pack of fixes is a waste of bandwidth every time you install Windows.

Plus it's about time those hidden KB became public much sooner.

Digitalfox said,
I say good.

Waiting years for a cumulative pack of fixes is a waste of bandwidth every time you install Windows.

Plus it's about time those hidden KB became public much sooner.

You still have to get the patches some how. Also, Service Packs have just been update rollups for the most part, so it's no different.

I think there will always be at least 1 SP for each release..

One of the big reasons for releasing a SP is for when when the next version of Server comes out, to ensure that both make the most of eachother.. So unless MS wants to release Server and Desktop at the same time, which I doubt they do, there will always be a SP to bring the Desktop up in line with Server..

That or MS releasing a new OS every year.. and I don't see that happening..

Ryoken said,
That or MS releasing a new OS every year.. and I don't see that happening..

I think that could happen. I think they will synchronize the Windows release cycle with that of Windows Phone. But, that would not happen for Server. So a SP for Server 2012 next year.

Expect Windows 8.5 and Windows 8.5 to be ready in time for the holiday season 2013

Ryoken said,
I think there will always be at least 1 SP for each release..

One of the big reasons for releasing a SP is for when when the next version of Server comes out, to ensure that both make the most of eachother.. So unless MS wants to release Server and Desktop at the same time, which I doubt they do, there will always be a SP to bring the Desktop up in line with Server..

That or MS releasing a new OS every year.. and I don't see that happening..

The server and desktop versions of Windows are already synchronised and have been since Windows 7.

francescob said,
As long as the patches are cumulative nothing wrong with that.

but if they make u pay for the update?

still1 said,

but if they make u pay for the update?

If the base cost of the OS is less like Windows 8, okay then. I pay update if update gives me utility in return.

DClark said,

If the base cost of the OS is less like Windows 8, okay then. I pay update if update gives me utility in return.

I think in that case it would be called an upgrade rather than an update.

DClark said,

If the base cost of the OS is less like Windows 8, okay then. I pay update if update gives me utility in return.

that would be insane. release a product, find out issues, fix it and charge people for that? that's mind boggling

nekrosoft13 said,

thats what apple does

Bullcrap, name a single update that cost money - btw 10.X.0 don't count as updates, 10.X.Y are updates and are free. Trolls like you should be banned on the first post.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Bullcrap, name a single update that cost money - btw 10.X.0 don't count as updates, 10.X.Y are updates and are free. Trolls like you should be banned on the first post.

Wat?

Upgrade from OS 9 to OS X (OS 10) costs money. ( US$129)

Upgrade from OS 10.7 to OS 10.8 cost money. (US$19.99)

Updates like 10.8.1 to 10.8.2 are indeed free.