A build of Microsoft’s Windows 7 Service Pack 1 has leaked onto the Web, allowing users to download it from a torrent site. According to reports, the service pack has been downloaded “thousands of times.”
Microsoft can’t be happy that its service pack has leaked. The company is notoriously tight-lipped about updates to its software. But the fact that it’s available should make some wonder if it’s even necessary for users to install it before they start using Windows 7.
In the past, waiting until a service pack was released was typically the best move when it came to Windows. Windows XP was substantially improved when Microsoft delivered the first service pack. Windows Vista enjoyed similar results when its service pack was released.
But Windows 7 is a different story altogether. It doesn’t have the kind of issues that XP and Vista did when they first hit store shelves. It’s a robust operating system that can be relied on even before the first service pack is released. Simply put, users who are on the fence about Windows 7 shouldn’t wait for Service Pack 1.
Here are the reasons why:
1. It’ll be a small update
According to Microsoft, Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 will be a small update. That’s rather interesting news. In previous versions of Windows, the company has released substantial updates to the software that addressed major issues with how the OS performed. Because of that, most folks believed (rightfully so) that it would be a better idea to wait for the first service pack before they jumped to the new operating system. But all that has changed. As the company pointed out in a recent blog post, Windows 7 Service Pack 1 “includes only minor updates.” In other words, it won’t mean much.
2. Windows 7 is quite secure
Some users like to wait for a service pack because of the inherent security woes a Windows installation suffers from at launch. But in an unlikely departure from past events, Windows 7 is actually quite secure when compared with its predecessors. In fact, the operating system boasts most of the security features found in Windows Vista, plus some extras thrown in. It’s widely considered one of the most secure operating systems Microsoft has put out. Service Pack 1 will undoubtedly deliver security improvements, but Windows 7 is secure already.
3. Windows XP mode
A key feature in more capable versions of Windows 7 is Windows XP mode. If users are concerned that Windows 7 doesn’t have all the security fixes that they’re looking for and they trust Windows XP more than any other Windows installation, they can opt to run a virtual install of Windows XP right in Windows 7. It’s one of the better features Microsoft has added to its operating system in a long time. And it substantially improves Windows 7’s attraction to those who plan to wait for Service Pack 1.
4. It’s not Vista
Microsoft has made it abundantly clear, both in its marketing and the design of its software, that Windows 7 is nothing like Vista. When Windows Vista first hit store shelves, it made sense for customers to wait until Microsoft ironed out its issues with Service Pack 1. But Vista was also rife with compatibility and security issues just don’t apply to Windows 7. Although Windows 7 isn’t a perfect operating system by any means, it does provide a far more robust experience than Vista. As troubling as its predecessor was, Windows 7 shouldn’t be feared the way Vista is feared.
It Won’t Pay to Hold Out for Service Pack 1
5. Microsoft was smart this time
Microsoft made an extremely smart move with Windows 7. Rather than release an operating system that it knew would need to be substantially fixed after its release, the company spent more time on the launch version of the operating system. By doing so, it ensured that Windows 7 would be a more capable and reliable operating system than previous versions of the software. It’s easy to rail against the many mistakes that Microsoft makes, but the company did a fine job of ensuring that Windows 7 was ready for the entire market at its launch.
6. It arrived ready for enterprise use
In the past, the main Windows holdouts were enterprise users. Companies that were content with their current operating systems shied away from deploying a new version of Windows until it was properly patched with the first service pack. But once again, Windows 7 is different. The operating system is ready for enterprise customers. As mentioned above, it provides full compatibility with most legacy products, thanks to Windows XP mode. And with the help of some of the extra security and encryption features built into the operating system, it’s a fine choice to use right now.
7. Waiting with Vista isn’t a good idea
Windows Vista is still a nightmare for users. The operating system suffers from awkward design quirks, security problems and compatibility troubles that plague enterprise customers and consumers. And although Windows 7 hasn’t been bolstered with its first service pack just yet, it’s still a better bet than Vista. At this point, no Windows user should be advised to stick with Vista over Windows 7. Microsoft’s latest operating system improves upon Vista on far too many fronts for it to be considered a more viable software solution. If users are opting for Vista over Windows 7, it’s a mistake.
8. Keeping XP running too long isn’t good either
Windows XP is undoubtedly a reliable operating system now that it’s running Service Pack 3. And it’s still in wide use by companies and consumers that have yet to make the leap to one of Microsoft’s newer operating systems. But that doesn’t make it a good move. Windows XP computers are starting to get old and unreliable. And due to the success of XP, malicious hackers continue to pelt the old operating system to find holes that would help them exploit users. Although conventional wisdom suggests that users should stick with the current operating system until the first service pack is released, Windows 7 is different. And XP owners need to remember that.
9. The Windows 7 deals are going away
From a purely financial perspective, sticking with an older operating system could be expensive. Microsoft works with vendors to offer deals at the beginning of an operating system’s availability to drum up demand for the new OS. But as time wears on and folks have no choice but to opt for a new computer featuring Windows 7, all those deals go away. Many of those offers are gone now, but some can still be found on different vendor sites. The sooner users can capitalize on those deals, the better. After all, if the user knows that they will be switching to Windows 7 eventually, why not save some cash?
10. The past is gone
If Microsoft has shown us anything since Windows 7’s launch, it’s that the company is finally serious about delivering an operating system that people will want to use out of the box. It seemingly realized that Apple was doing a better job at delivering an operating system that people are looking for. And to fix that, it followed suit. In the process, it has delivered an operating system that doesn’t require users to wait until Service Pack 1. After far too many miscues in the past, Microsoft finally got this one right at launch.