Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Tips


Service pack 1 (SP1) for Windows 7 has been out for a bit now and perhaps you have installed it. If you are happy with it, I have a tip for you. But then again maybe you are not so happy with it.  In that case, I also have a tip for you.

Free up some space by removing Windows 7 SP1 backup files

When you install Windows 7 SP1, backup files are created to be used in case you have problems with the update and want to get rid of it. These files may take up as much as several GB of space and eventually you may want to delete them. It may not make much difference if you have a terabyte drive but these days many operating system volumes are fairly small. If you have been using SP1 for a while and everything seems to be working properly, here is how to remove the backup files.

Note that once these files are removed, you won’t be able to uninstall SP1. As a matter of good practice, make an image of your system before installing service packs so that you can have an alternate way to return to your original setup.

Use the system tool Disk Cleanup to remove backups

One way to remove the backup files is to use the Windows Disk Cleanup accessory. There are various ways to open Disk Cleanup in Windows 7 but an easy path is to enter “clean” (without quotes) in the Start menu Search bar and select “Disk Cleanup” from the list. You’ll have to go through several steps (see this link for pictures).

  1. Open Disk Cleanup
  2. Click the Button “Clean up system files”
  3. If necessary, select the drive or volume where your operating system is located (normally C:)
  4. In the dialog box, click the tab “Disk Cleanup”
  5. In the list that opens, find “Service pack backup files’ and put a check by it
  6. Click “OK”
  7. Click “Delete files”

Use the command line to remove the backups

If you are a command-line aficionado, there is a quicker way to delete the backup files. Open a command prompt with administrator privileges and enter

   DISM /online /cleanup-Image /spsuperseded

How to uninstall Windows 7 service pack 1 from the Control Panel

If SP1 makes you unhappy for one reason or the other, you can uninstall it (assuming you didn’t apply the tip above first). 

  1. Go to Control Panel-Programs-Programs and Features. The easy way to get there is to enter “uninstall” in the Start- Search bar and choose ”Uninstall a program” from the Control Panel list
  2. Click “View installed updates”
  3. Click "Service Pack for Microsoft Windows (KB 976932)"
  4. Click “Uninstall”

How to uninstall Windows 7 SP1 from the command line

Open a command prompt with administrator privileges and enter 

   wusa /uninstall /kb:976932

Don’t you just love how simple the command line makes things?

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs a Windows blog called The PC Informant and also operates a computer education website.

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