Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh

Microsoft released a “refresh” to the Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate. I’ve been running the original release candidate in a VMware virtual machine on my MacBook. They released the update back on January 11th but I didn’t get around to starting the upgrade for another week. The update isn’t automatic, even with the original RC installed. The update was problem free, despite requiring several hours.

The original release candidate had to be uninstalled prior to the upgrade. This was done by going through Control Panel in the Windows Update/View Installed Updates section. It took about an hour and included a couple reboots but once it started I could just walk away. According to the instructions from Microsoft even after the uninstall was finished I needed to wait an hour for things to settle down. Sure enough, checking the logs after the uninstall showed that the installer was still cleaning things up.

After I did the uninstall, Microsoft’s automatic update installed the regular Windows Vista security patches that had been released since I installed the SP1 RC. They weren’t sent to the release candidate. At this point I had killed an evening and decided not to install the refresh right away.

The installation of the refresh used the same process as the original release candidate. I again installed it through automatic update so I downloaded the file that modified the registry to have automatic update get the update. It downloaded and installed the two prerequisites without a problem. A third prerequisite is needed by some, but I didn’t need it. Even though I kept checking the refresh didn’t appear even after getting the prerequisites and I again gave up as it got later than I wanted to start the 2+ hour process.

The next night the SP1 RC refresh was waiting for me. The install took about two and a half hours, including the download and a couple reboots. I haven’t noticed any real differences or problems. But then again, I don’t use this instance of Vista for very much and if I did I probably wouldn’t risk a release candidate on it. The time required to do the update would also be a killer if it wasn’t in a virtual machine that allowed me to keep using my MacBook while the update happened.