Microsoft rolling out automatic Service Pack 1 updates to Windows 7 PCs

Microsoft will begin to roll out its Windows 7 Service Pack 1 to users today, as it approaches the April 2013 end of free support for Windows 7, the company announced on its Blogging Windows blog.

The process will be done automatically via Windows Update for all Windows 7 users who are using the release-to-manufacturing version of the operating system but have not installed Service Pack 1.

"Starting [19 March], the installation will be fully automatic with no user action required for those who already have Automatic Update enabled. SP1 will be released gradually over the coming weeks to all customers on the RTM version of Windows 7," read the blog post.

"The service pack will take slightly longer to install compared to other updates. To ensure Service Pack 1 is installed without issue, customers should check for sufficient free disk space and that AC power is present on a laptop. If additional space needs to be created, we recommend using the Disk Cleanup tool to delete some files so that the service pack will install. If the service pack installation is interrupted, it will reattempt to install automatically after the next restart," Microsoft added.

PCs running Windows 7 that are managed by Microsoft tools such as System Center Configuration or Windows Server Update Services will be excluded from the automatic update, allowing administrators to test the service pack to their satisfaction.

In February, Microsoft said that it would no longer provide support to versions of Windows 7 RTM that do not have the service pack installed by 9 April 2013. The firm will continue to offer free support for Windows 7 SP1 until 13 January 2015. Users can access paid support for the software until 14 January 2020.