Vista SP1 vs SP2

TestFreaks Data
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So… Service Pack 2 arrived with not a lot of celebration, not much has been really mentioned about it at all anywhere. Being who I am though I like to know things, so I decided to run a whole bunch of tests before and after the upgrade and compare them to see just what, if anything, might have changed.


According to Microsoft here’s what’s in Service Pack 2:

Windows Vista‌ Service Pack 2 (SP2) is an important update that includes support for new types of hardware and emerging hardware standards, and it also includes all the updates that have been released since SP1. You’ll find information about the specific changes and improvements included in SP2 below. For more information about installing SP2, see Learn how to install Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2).

Here are some of the improvements in SP2:

-Program compatibility. Microsoft works to ensure that your programs work seamlessly on Windows Vista. We also work with our partners to improve the reliability and compatibility of non-Microsoft programs. So, SP2 includes previously released updates that are available to you when you use Windows Update, and it also includes new compatibility fixes for individual programs.

-Hardware support. Among other improvements, SP2 provides you with additional support for Bluetooth wireless technology and improved performance for Wi-Fi connections after the computer resumes from sleep mode. Additionally, you can now record data to Blu-ray Disc media

– General operating system updates. SP2 includes Windows Search 4.0, which has improved indexing and searching capabilities. SP2 also includes fixes that can improve recording TV using Windows Media Center.

You can find more information with more links HERE

As you can see not much has really changed overall… The addition of Blu-ray burning is nice, if you can afford a Blu-ray burner and the media. Improved indexing and searching can be a nice thing as well, I know I use the search quite often as I’m always forgetting where things are. Media Center improved TV recording, I think most people have DVRs at this point, but fro those of us that don’t it’s a nice feature I guess. The description really doesn’t tell us about that many changes made the the operating system, one way to find out if anything changed is of course test it, and that’s what I spent all day doing… fun-fun

Service Pack 2 weighed in at 577Mb when I got it, so it’s rather small for a ‘Service Pack’ , to me a service pack is a major upgrade, but this doesn’t seem to be really.


For my testing I used the standard stuff, Cinebench10, 2dMark06, CrystalMark and SiSoft Sandra 2009 SP3, and I also threw in some benchmarks from Crysis Warhead as well just to round things off a bit.

First off here’s my basic system specs:

-Intel C2Q9650 at 3ghz

-EVGA NF680i motherboard

-8 gigs of OCZ Fatal1ty DDR2 PC2-6400 Ram

-Diamond 4870 1gig video card

-Vista Ultimate X64


CrystalMark 2004R3

CrystalMark 2004R3 is a 32bit total benchmark software.

Crystalmark might seem old but it’s a nice suite of tests to get an idea of the performance of your computer, both separate components and overall. Yes I run Vista X64 and this is for 32bit, but the majority of the stuff we run on X64 is still 32bit.

Here’s the overall scores of both service packs compared:


As you can see the overall score actually dropped a bit when moving to Service Pack 2.

Here’s the individual scores:

crystalmark sp1 crystalmark sp2

Across the board everything dropped except for the ALU CPU benchmark, not sure what happened there.


CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer’s performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real-world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).

I used the 64bit version of Cinebench of course.



Like Crystalmark we see a drop in the CPU performance when going from SP1 to Sp2, but the OpenGL performance went up a tiny bit.

For a drop across both single core and multiple core rendering something had to change obviously, even though nothing was listed among changes to the core of the operating system.

SP2 release notes mentions ‘Hardware Support. Among other improvements.’ I’m guessing this has something to do with that, something is a bit off with how the OS handles my CPU now.



Don’t think this needs much of an introduction. Yes it’s an older benchmark, but it has it’s place especially for CPU intensive testing, and of course graphical testing as well.


Here we see an increase in performance, yes not much, but it’s an increase either way.


Crysis Warhead

-Resolution: 1680×1050

-2x AA

-Gamer Settings

-3 runs averaged out


-Catalyst 9.5


crysis warhead

With Crysis Warhead you can see we dropped a bit for the average and maximum frame rates when moving to SP2, the average though is still more than playable. We see the minimum frame rate went up just a teeny bit, nothing that would even be noticeable in gameplay I’m sure…

SiSfot Sandra 2009 SP3

Now I’ve got SiSoft Sandra 2009 SP3 testing with many of the included benchmarks for memory, video and CPU processing, let’s see how it looks now.


Processor Arithmetic

Benchmarks the ALU and FPU processor units. Shows how your processors handle arithmetic and floating point instructions in comparison to other typical processors.

Results Interpretation
Dhrystone (MIPS) – higher results are better, i.e. better integer performance.
Whetstone (MFLOPS) – higher results are better, i.e. better floating-point performance.


sandra processor arithmetic

Here again we see a drop in processor performance when moving to service pack 2, a very slight drop but still a drop. That’s one thing nice about Sandra, it can see very small differences between tests. Would this small difference be felt in the real world? probably not..



Processor Multi-Media

Benchmark the (W)MMX(2), SSE(2/3/4), AVX processor units. Shows how your processors handle multi-media instructions and data in comparison to other typical processors.

Such operations are used by more specialized software, e.g. image manipulation, video decoders/encoders, games.

Results Interpretation
Multi-Media Integer (Pixels/s) – higher results are better, i.e. better integer performance.

Multi-Media Single/Double Float (Pixels/s) – higher results are better, i.e. better floating-point performance.


sandra processor multimedia

There’s no doubt that our lives are very multi-media centric, we love our TV, movies and games, and this test is an important one for all of us I think.

Here we actually see a jump in scores when moving to service pack 2, this is a good thing of course, but again it’s so small that you most likely will never notice it in the real world.



Multi-Core Efficiency

Benchmark the multi-core efficiency of the processors. Shows how efficient the processor cores and their inter-connects are .

The ability of the cores to process data blocks and pass them to another core for processing (producer-consumer paradigm) of different sizes and different chain sizes is measured. The efficiency of the inter-connect between cores is thus benchmarked; however, the number of cores (and processors) also counts as more data buffers can be processed simultaneously (aka "in flight").

True multi-core processors that have shared L2/L3 caches will thus perform much better than cores that have separate caches and are connected by the traditional FSB.

sandra multi-core efficiency

Here we see no difference at all..


Video Rendering

Benchmark the graphics performance of the video adapters (GFXs). Shows how your graphics processors handle rendering in comparison to other typical graphics processors.

Such operations are used by all graphics software, image manipulation, video decoders/encoders, games and modern operating systems.

Results Interpretation
Float Shaders (Pixels/s) – higher results are better, i.e. better single (32-bit) floating-point performance.

Double Shaders (Pixels/s) – higher results are better, i.e. better double (64-bit) floating-point performance.


sandra video rendering

Here we go again with one related to multi-media things, but this is more graphics card related.

Got a mixed bag this time, with some going up and some going down, but again the differences as so small there’s likely to be no impact on the real world performance.



Graphics (GPGPU) Processing

Benchmark the graphics performance of the graphics processors (GPGPUs). Shows how your graphics processors handle instructions and data in comparison to other typical graphics processors.

Such operations are used by specialised software, e.g. scientific software, image manipulation, video decoders/encoders, games that make GPU performance pretty important.

Results Interpretation
Processing Float (Pixels/s) – higher results are better, i.e. better single (32-bit) floating-point performance.

Processing Double (Pixels/s) – higher results are better, i.e. better double (64-bit) floating-point performance.


sandra gpgpu processing

Here’s another Graphics card based test, here we see the scores going up when we  move to SP2, but not by any real discernible amount.


Graphics (GPGPU) Bandwidth

Benchmark the bandwidth of the memory of the graphics processors (GPGPUs) and the bandwidth of the bus that connects them to your computer. Shows how your graphics processors’ memory bandwidth compare to other video sub-systems in terms of bandwidth.

The speed at which the data can be sent to the GPGPUs, internally processed and the results sent back is as important as the processing power of the GPGPUs. The benchmark is based on the well-known STREAM memory benchmark, as implemented by the CPU memory benchmarks.

Results Interpretation
Internal Memory Bandwidth (MB/s) – higher results are better, i.e. faster internal memory bandwidth.

Data Transfer Bandwidth (MB/s) – higher results are better, i.e. faster data transfer between the GPU and computer.

sandra gpgpu bandwidth

So we have the last graphics test, this one is how it handles the graphics memory, and we see a slight drop actually when going to SP2. Again it’s not really relevant to much of anything in the real world..


The last two test I have are memory related test, I did them just to see what the differences might be if any..

Memory Bandwidth

Benchmark the memory bandwidth of your computer. Shows how your memory sub-systems compare to other computers in terms of bandwidth.

The benchmark is based on the well-known STREAM memory benchmark.

Results Interpretation
Integer Memory Bandwidth (MB/s) – higher results are better, i.e. faster memory bandwidth.

Float Memory Bandwidth (MB/s) – higher results are better, i.e. faster memory bandwidth.

sandra mem bandwidth

hmm.. looks the same to me…


Memory Latency

Benchmark the latency (response time) of processors’ caches and memory. Shows how your processors’ caches and memory sub-systems compare to other computers in terms of latency.

The latency of caches is measured in processor clocks (i.e. how many clocks it takes for the data to be ready) as it is dependent on the processor clock speed.

The latency of memory is measured in nanoseconds as it is typically independent on processor clock speed.

Latency is lower = better

Speed Factor is higher = better

sandra mem latency

again look about the same….. oh well, satiated my curiosity anyway..



So, what have we learned here today?

Well I learned really that I think I wasted a good 20 hours messing with this stuff…

I’ve also learned that not much changed in terms of performance really between service pack 1 and service pack 2. Sure there are drops in performance in a lot of the tests, but they’re so small that the average user will never notice any difference. The tests that improve with the move to SP2 are the same way, they’re negligible differences really.

Is it worth it to upgrade to service pack 2?

That depends, most likely yes it is worth it for the hardware and software compatibility improvements, and of course any security benefits as well and the few new additions.

  92 comments for “Vista SP1 vs SP2

  1. owq
    May 28, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I guess, you saved 20 hours for us

  2. LM
    May 28, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Hey thanks for doing this article! I was curious about what the impact would be. Great article!

  3. Daniel
    May 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Useless.. I thought I would be reading comparison of Wifi panel and such, not numbers that we know would have been the same.

  4. Kristofer
    May 28, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Daniel, hmm… do you own comparison then… (why do people post useless and rude comments I wonder?)

    • Kunalrajyaguru
      November 16, 2010 at 7:32 pm

      can u help me ?
      shoul i go for service pack 2 or not n if I install it my current data on my laptop will be removed or stay as it is ?? plz help me as soon as possible my email id is

  5. G-Man
    May 28, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    great! thanks for taking the time to look into this.
    Guess it was the placebo effect for me

  6. Someone Else
    May 28, 2009 at 7:17 pm


    While testing SP2 did you do any optimization? Specifically defragmenting?

    I can imagine that a Service Pack wreaks havoc on the filesystem’s storage of important Windows files. While NTFS doesn’t suffer the same defragmenting issues as FAT is’ still something to consider considering some your numbers are only 1-2 points lower.

  7. J. Donner
    May 28, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    After finding the same old performance comparison between Vista Sp1 and SP2 RELEASE CANDIDATE that showed redicous results for SP2 that I didn’t trust for one moment, finally someone who compares with the final version. Your results make a lot more sense. Thanks!

  8. Dad 3.1
    May 28, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks, I appreciate the effort that went into this. It’s a shame that SP2 isn’t much more that a collection of updates most people already have.

  9. Kristofer
    May 28, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    I defragged the hard disk last week actually, I try and do it once per week if possible… no I didn’t defrag it right before and after installation. The average person is not going to do that, the average person is likely to defrag maybe once per month… so I tried to come close to what the average person might expect in performance.

  10. Mikey
    May 28, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Actually, the average person isn’t going to defrag at all, ever, so your method of just “upgrading and testing” is the one most people will experience.

  11. May 28, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Hey thanks for doing this article! I was curious about what the impact would be. Great article!

  12. Martin Lorentsen
    May 29, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Performance still isn’t as important than bugfixes. I’ve had my share of problems with Vista, and HEY… I’m just glad to get a more stable system. However, I AM going to buy Windows 7 Ultimate x64! OFF TOPIC: I own an HP dv7-1095 laptop, and HP locked the BIOS, so only Vista (or newer) can be installed. That sucks big time and is a new low for HP. The HP Support sucks too. My computer crashed when I was installing Vista SP1 x64 on the first day, I had it. The laptop was badly assembled with sharp plastic edges, a squeeky touchpad, DVD-writer locking up and a faulty LED. I had them pick it up and fix it, but when I got it back after 2 weeks, they ONLY changed the touchpad for another squeeky one and totally ignored all the other failures. Then I ordered the recovery disc set. I’ve received the 32-bit version instead of the 64-bit… TWICE!! (Still haven’t got the 64-bit one yet). They are totally incompetent! I will never buy HP ever again.

  13. Michael
    May 29, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I have a lot of respect for people like you. I can see a lot of work went into this article, and the testing process of the 2 systems. I think I will hold back on SP2 for the time being.

  14. Miroslav
    May 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I know this is a little bit off topic, but when you see these results, I suggest Windows 7, I have it and it is very satisfying, and not even final….By the way I had vista both x86 and x64, worked good but this is better.

  15. Haroun
    May 30, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Hello , thanx too much man for what you have done , I am thanxfull !!

    thanx god there is such a person here 😉

    Microsoft don’t know how to fix their situation and I think they should find new things and open their ears for us!! not their pockets ….. !!!!!!

  16. Erik
    May 31, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Thanks for taking the time to do this article. It saved me the trouble of figuring out whether or not to upgrade to SP2 (I decided to stick to SP1 for now, since there are hardly any improvements overall). The comments I’ve been able to find from users who’ve installed SP2 either said it worked for them or it went all BSOD (which wasn’t really helpful at all), but these figures really helped me decide. Awesome work! 🙂

  17. Rich
    May 31, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks for the insight to this update. I have a Dell XPS1330 that came with Vista Ultimate. I got it in late 2007 and have done all updates as they came up including SP1. I have tried twice to install SP2, but both times it eventually comes back and says “Service Pack did not install. Reverting changes”. This whole process takes about 1-1/2 hours so its not a trivial exercise. I have closed all programs, even Windows Live OneCare virus protection. Although I may not find it all that useful, I still like to be up to date, especially when security issues may be involved. MS website hasn’t been helpful so far.

  18. John Doe
    June 1, 2009 at 6:57 am

    I found a performance increase myself in a direct x 10 game. The load times were faster, and when opening and closing the game, there was no short “freeze” that there was in SP1.

  19. Gary
    June 3, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Kristofer , thanks from me also, a great review – I’ve installed SP2 (32-bit) and all appears fine so far (for once!). Off Topic too: But to Martin Lorentsen, I too have bad experience with HP and will never touch their consumer kit again. Two dv6190 laptops, one totally failed at 1yr6weeks, HP say out of warranty tough (After they ignored emails), then after I buy a replacement (Sony VAIO this time) they decide to extend warranty to 2-yrs and do fix this PC at 1yr 8-months (Only 4-more to go then- wow!), then the second PC fails at 2-Yrs 5-months exactly same problem (Motherboard failure) as first one. After much calling HP basically their Customer Services dept. repeat the mantra – Hard luck out of warranty – HP, Never again for me, poor kit backed up by worse service – beware.

  20. Phat
    June 3, 2009 at 5:10 am

    Thanks for the Article
    I agree The HP Support very suck. They wont talk to you at all. won’t answer any question. Even a very simple question until you have very think setup with them. HP Sucks

  21. Mike Dallos
    June 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you for an informative article!
    Be well………


  22. Aaron
    June 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Now I recently got a new computer from Gateway, and I too have Windows Vista SP1 (Home Premium for how much it’s worth). I personally like Windows Vista so far, but like many others I am waiting for Windows 7. Now between the SP1 and SP2 differences, just get SP2 sure performance drops SLIGHTLY but nothing that anybody will notice (unless you have his software above and run tests). Truth is I would rather have bugs fixed, although I haven’t had very many problems with Vista if any at all.

  23. Aaron
    June 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Oh, and also, Thanks for doing this article! I wasn’t sure whether to upgrade or not, and after seeing this I probably will 😛

  24. Zen
    June 8, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    what i liked about SP2 is that they removed the limited half open connections into unlimited.makes BT more faster than ever

  25. Ronaldo
    June 9, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Thanks for the article, you save my time a lot. I’m using Windows 7 now, but because I use VMWare a lot, and there still a problem with NAT mode on Win 7, I decide to switch back to win vista. A little bit disappointing with MS, because they should increase the win vista performance at SP2

  26. Jim
    June 12, 2009 at 5:40 am

    Installed SP2 on vista business, no visible change, no improvement in reliability? Was it worth it? Beats me??

  27. Grace
    June 12, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Question: Read the pasted in copy from Help that is below my question too.
    What I was writing the question about derives from the below Help Instructions regarding SP1 vs. SP2 and it gets long, but if Help says SP 1 backs up EFS files and SP 2 doesn’t ? but EFS Files ARE NOT included in Windows Vista itself or does the Help mean that EFS files are just not included in Windows Vista BACKUPS with SP 2 ? I am confused.

    I wondered if the Help was telling me to download and install SP1 IF I want to include EFS Files in my backups, or to forget downloading SP1 as my version of Vista doesn’t have those kind of files to back up anyway, or if the Help means to download SP 1 if I want to back up EFS files? i am going in circles as the HElp part seems unclear as to me.

    Hi I came across the choice of downloading Service Pack 1 in the Windows Help and Support area and it mentions that SP 1 backs up EFS Encrypted File System files, but that EFS is not included in :

    QUOTE: ” Note
    If you are running Windows Vista Service Pack 1, EFS encrypted files are included in backups. EFS is not included in Windows Vista Starter, Windows Vista Home Basic, and Windows Vista Home Premium. For more information about installing Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), see Learn how to install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).” UNQUOTE

    and it starts off with the below blurb


    “Back up and restore: frequently asked questions

    It depends on the number of files you create and how often you create them. If you create new files every day, you might want to back up weekly or even daily. If you occasionally create many files—for example, if you save a lot of digital photos from a birthday party or graduation, back them up right away. It’s best to schedule regular, automatic backups so you don’t even have to think about it. You can choose to have your files backed up daily, weekly, or monthly. You can also back up manually between automatic backups.

    The ability to set up automatic backups is not included in Windows Vista Home Basic; however, Windows will periodically remind you to back up your files.

    What file types are not included in my backups?
    The Back Up Files wizard backs up the most common file types. The following files are not included:

    Files that have been encrypted using Encrypting File System (EFS)

    If you are running Windows Vista Service Pack 1, EFS encrypted files are included in backups. EFS is not included in Windows Vista Starter, Windows Vista Home Basic, and Windows Vista Home Premium. For more information about installing Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), see Learn how to install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).”

  28. Shahin
    July 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Great comparison. Thanks.

  29. Caegan
    August 9, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Thanks for doing this. I appreciate your efforts and your willing to share your results. Will pay it forward when I can.

  30. Squayle
    August 21, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Helpful, I Suppose, Glad Someone Spent That Much Time Doing This, But Is It Worth An Hour Offline Time To Make My Stats That Tiny Bit Worse?

  31. Marc
    August 21, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Looks like MS must have just pushed this out with Windows Update.

    Thanks for saving 20 hours for everyone Googles about it!

  32. Ferret
    August 24, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    I’d like to join the others in thanking you for this. Regardless of what some may say, testing the basics is always important for an OS update because, as we all know, neither Microsoft nor anyone else always tells us everything. I’m happy to see that, for once, they didn’t impact system performance in a way they didn’t announce. I’m still not going to install SP2. Windows 7 is just too close and the effects of the service pack too negligible.

  33. David
    September 1, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks for taking the time, I half-way expected these results, but it is good to know. Still will hold off on the SP2.

  34. Ngozi
    September 14, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Thanx a lot! 🙂 Was undecided about whether to update, I probably will wiat for a bit b4 doing so just to be on the safe side. Thans again, u saved us all a lot!

  35. Sam
    September 16, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Hey Kristofer!

    Thanks SO much. I’ve got a nagging little shield icon that keeps bugging me about sp2. I’ve been stung before with MS sp ‘improvements’ so I went looking for others’ opinions.

    Your hard work and review read very fairly and balanced. Nice, thorough spread of tests there.

    Vista is the first O/S (going right back to 3.1) that I have had to spend ENORMOUS amounts of time on tweaking and registry tweaking etc etc. It’s like a fussy Little Princess. I just don’t fancy going through a whole week of hunting down fixes cos our Little Princess found a pea in her bed!!

    So, this is great. I won’t bother with VistaSP2 until it becomes crucial. By which time I’ll be gratefully on W7 I hope and can ditch the LP!


  36. Pat
    September 18, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I really laughed at all the people who tried to make you feel better for having wasted 20 hours of your life. 🙂 That’s why we look at technogog in the first place! We have neither the time, ability nor obsessive/compulsive personality to see something like this through, but at the same time, Microsoft is never going to fess up about this stuff. Yeah, good work, and thanks.
    Looking forward to your review of W-7, retail version.

  37. Island
    September 24, 2009 at 4:41 am


    Thank you so much! I love that you have the tenacity and interest to commit to something like this. People like you make my life so much easier. I’ll stick to SP1 for now.

  38. Isaac
    September 24, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    I appreciate your hard efforts in comparing the 2 service packs, I’ll be holding off on the update.

  39. Brent
    September 24, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    You’re a great man. Thanks!
    Oh Microsoft, you don’t know what you’re doing.

  40. lummy
    September 27, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Wel Kristofer,
    Must add to the list of compliments that you did a great job! Been at that same junction of either to upgrade to sp2 but with all these i guess i will hold back for now until it becomes very crucial. Hopefully i would switch to win7 already!!

    Good Job!

  41. Josiah
    September 30, 2009 at 5:07 am

    hmm. so thats what the update was. what a waste of time on my computer. good article btw

  42. Sean Anderson
    September 30, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Very useful article. Thanks a lot 🙂

  43. Sammy Sam (UK)
    October 1, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Nice on fella, Excellent work!
    Was really straining my brain to see if it was the worth the potential hassle to upgrade to SP2 on a Dell vista home basic machine, with already strained resources.

    Dont trust Micrsoft to testbed anything correctly after my recent upgrades on recent machines & the subsequent grief encountered. Will hold fire with SP2 now until it beomes an imminent neccessity.

    here Krisotfer Brozio – Have Some LOVE !

  44. Mike
    October 16, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    How is that even possible? Looks like microsoft is focusing only on windows 7 now, as for windows vista it’s as good as forgotten. It surprises me that today every single os is worses then xp. Thank’s for the article!

  45. Edward
    October 19, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    “you saved 20 hours for us” x2

  46. October 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Hey, Sorry about the 20 wasted hours, but thank you for doing that so I didn’t have too.. You are an Hour saver and I do appreciate the nicely formatted benchmark’s on a page.. You are a good man! Thanks again!

  47. Marco
    October 26, 2009 at 8:59 am

    I think the only really interesting benchmark would be about indexing speed, not sure if any exist though.

  48. October 26, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    If I understand correctly, you do not need to get SP2 for Vista if you use Windows Update to get all the latest important updates. I do but never accept the optional recommended ones.

    I always wondered if it was safe to decline a new service pack under these circumstances. Is there any way to stop SP2 from being included in the update notices? Thanks.

  49. Wally
    October 28, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I have had Vista Home Premium Service Pack 2 (X64 8gigs of Ram and now Core 2 Q9650 @ 3GHz nVidia Geforce 9800GT 512MB) for 8 Hours. I have noticed that my fans inside the computer have actually started working and my DX10 and OpenGL Performance have gone up quite a bit since this install. The computer I own is a Dell Studio 540. It no longer hibernates to the point of windows having to resume (now sleep mode) and also noticed my start up is almost twice as fast as it were with service pack 1. As for recommended updates for those who think they aren’t important, that itself is what kept my system running fast and now faster. Any benchmark done on an intel chipset with an ati video card is going to be lower because of firmware issues, Keep in mind that ATI and AMD merged so AMD chipsets work only best with ATI cards.

  50. EliteTK
    November 2, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    I found a difference, the “related” folders icon changed!!!
    LOL XD

  51. Mark
    November 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks for this info and your testing. I installed SP2 which disabled the sound on my computer. I did a system restore rather than diving into troubleshooting mode. I was wondering if I could get along without SP2 and you’ve answered that question for me. I’d still like to find some pointers on fixing the sound issue if it becomes necessary to install SP2… something more specific than ‘check the drivers’ since I don’t do this everyday. Thanks again.

  52. Boni
    November 9, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    And it disabled my sound too, and after reading that SP2 had no significant improvements in my system either, I rolled back to SP1 too. At least my sound works again. I read some horror stories of rolling back to SP1 where the sound never came back. Glad that was not my case. Thanks again for your hard work! And as the poster before me said, I’d also like to find a way to fix the sound issue if I attempt to try SP2 again. Kind of reminds me of reasons not to attempt to upgrade to Windows 7 just yet even though I purchased it a few weeks ago.

  53. Tina
    November 12, 2009 at 3:18 am

    I was able to bring the sounds back when I installed sp2. All I did was to do a windows update and there was an update for the Realtek audio, (I had this notice for months now with my sp1 and tried installing it, but then it gives me a notice that the driver i had with sp1 was better but I guess this was really for sp2.) I’m not sure if my post would help you out guys. I am thinking of rolling back to sp1 because I couldn’t use my EsetNod32 Antivirus. 🙁

  54. Steve
    November 15, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Great review…It’s nice to see before I take the jump to the new pack.

  55. M. D. McGinley
    November 16, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Ever since I installed Windows Vista Service Pack 2, I seemed to have lost something, whether it was compute cycles, tasks, available RAM and overall system efficiency. Every now and then, my system would take two or three minutes to shut down, and sometimes four or five minutes to power up. When I had my computer in the factory condition with the Norton Antivirus turned off, everything was so much more efficient involving powerup and powerdown, and so it began to feel like I had to many unnecessary bells and whistles with SP-2 on Vista (home basic).

    My thinking is that of essential systems only. I have Themes turned off and I have my system tweaked to deliver maximum speed and performance and minimal decorations. I don’t like fluff, I like performance. All this on a Compaq Presario 5601 dual-core AMD K6 at 2.2Ghz and 1Gb SDRAM and 250Gb hard drive.

    So a few days ago, I backed up all my data files to DVD and did a clean reinstall to factory condition. I don’t know about you, but there is something appealing about that, something desirable. “Clean install.” So, off came SP2 and all those (seemingly unnecessary) hotfixes that seemed to do nothing more than eat up my computing cycles and memory, and all the factory software was reinstalled. I immediately put on the most up-to-date downloads with Search and Destroy (Spybot) and let only the Windows Defender update, leaving all other hotfixes and “recommended” updates off, even the ones they called critical. My system has never worked better. It’s faster, it’s more efficient, and I haven’t had a program crashes since I rolled back to SP-1. (I play “Tank Universal” which requires gobs of memory, and under SP-2 it would crash about every 5th time).

    So, yeah–if you are thinking about rolling back to Vista SP-1 from SP-2 in lieu of Windows 7, I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have a system that is older than one year. I just had a feeling I wouldn’t need SP-2, and my suspicions were confirmed. Also, when I reinstalled, I had the option to turn on or off the factory-included Norton Anti-virus and I took the “no” option, and again, I have pure performance now without all those unnecessary sentinels scouring my system and eating my precious compute cycles. It’s a good feeling.

  56. M.D. McGinley
    November 17, 2009 at 3:42 am

    I forgot to mention that since most of the updates included in SP-2 involve media handling and the ability to burn Blue-Ray discs, which is something I don’t do, that SP-2 seems like more of a luxury than a requirement. But hey, when has Microsoft ever come out with an operating system or program that was truly ready for the market, and didn’t need constant patches and fixes and new versions?

  57. Josh
    December 13, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Good Job man. Cheers

  58. Ahmed
    December 19, 2009 at 7:01 am

    Thank you so much for the article……GOOD JOB man

  59. Jan
    January 2, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks a lot for sharing this info with us. I want to go back to SP1. Do I have to reinstall the original Vista or is there a shortcut?

  60. Simon
    January 3, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Cheers mate for taking the time to do this, had a couple system problems and was thinking maybe the upgrade would solve it.

  61. pf camp
    January 14, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Excellent article – many thanks.
    Just now considering the SP2 upgrade (due to persistent MSoft nagware). Thanks to your work we’ll pass on SP2 and perhaps do Win v7 (or switch to a MAC).
    Again – sincere thanks.

  62. Maggie
    January 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to do this, and to put it out there for everyone to read.

    I’ll probably stick with SP 1 on the basis of this, but you helped me make my decision.

    Much appreciated.

  63. Polar Bear
    January 20, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Thanks for the hard work! I have an old laptop running XP home (sp3), a desktop running Vista Home Premium, and a new laptop running Windows 7 64bit. So far I have to say that Windows 7 is the most stable. I also like XP. I am not really a big fan of Vista. I don’t even bother to install SP1, not to mention SP2. Your article just reinforces my decision not to install SP2. SP1…I will think about it. Again, your article is much appreciated!!

  64. January 28, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    good article. made a lot of sense .
    I guess i will stick to my sp1 for now I upgrade to W7.

  65. darryl
    January 31, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks for you’re efforts, and interesting read while i installed SP2, on my new vista 64 (upgraded from 32).

    Ofcourse, SP’s are not all about performance, if a few extra CPU cycles are spent on extra security, garbage collection, or stability, then that is acceptable for me too.

    I would not leave upgrading to the last service packs based on performance alone, im sure there is alot “under the hood” that would be of benifit.

    So it’s installed now, without a hitch, but with a reboot.

  66. mikeyboy
    March 1, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Thanks for your update,I only wish I read it earlier, I had installed service pack 2 as a microsoft update, really wish I had not bothered, it played havock with my system, & for some reason the uninstall was anything but straight forward, then there was the issue of no sound after the install & uninstall , eventually got that sorted, in my opinion it is not worth the so called update. Leave for now is my advice ,unless you have been advised otherwise..

  67. March 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    When I had service pack 1 the safari browser did’nt work.
    Now I have changed my windows vista to service pack 2 and the safari works fine.
    It’s great. Thanks for this article

  68. Andy
    March 8, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Much appreciated, thank you!

  69. Oldmainframer
    March 16, 2010 at 12:08 am

    In all my years playing with computers, going back to building the MITS Altair and the IMSAI 8080 I’ve not seen such a thorough wringing out of an OS. Commendations! As I’ve gotten older I’m less inclined to be an OS pioneer, usually waiting for a new OS when I get a new computer. So now I run a Vista Home Premium X64 desktop and a VHP x86 laptop. I finally got them both tweaked to my satisfaction after a lot of headaches. I got my wife a new laptop with Win 7 installed and I really must say it may be much richer in features but it has much less intuitive UI than Vista. So even though I got the Win7 family pack, I’m holding off touching my two Vista machines for a while.

    PS: I nearly forgot the IBM 701…….System/390

  70. ron earl
    April 8, 2010 at 12:50 am

    if i have service pack 2 do i need service pack 1

  71. Ryan
    April 12, 2010 at 7:50 am

    @ron earl
    Yes u do
    btw this is legit thanx!

  72. LaptopsRepaired
    April 19, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    thank you. doesn’t look like many wireless fixes are in SP2, so will install SP 1 on a customer’s machine, and STILL advise him to upgrade to windows XP. that’s right. upgrade to XP. who’d da thunk it? MS, you are garbage.

  73. div
    May 12, 2010 at 5:24 am

    but vistaultimate will support all xp progs,rite?

  74. vistafail
    May 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    i have had bad experiences with vista sp2 running on a hp pavilion dv6552ea (bad laptop to start but it gets worse) i then read the updates and the one that caught my eye was wi-fi. after long laborious update my hp wireless assistant notified me with :WLAN disabled when ussaly i get (you geussed it) wlan enabled. with that i switched my wireless and it still regretably told me wlan disabled i then got the infamous black screen, boot up failure and a further usb driver recognition failed so backup was an inevitable fail. i resorted to full system restore losing everything. Ms have failed and windows seven proves to be but a pittence of an apology (an apology none the less) but whatever you do DONT update to sp2 stick with sp1 and upgrade to 7

  75. Zaq
    June 14, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Thank you very much im glad you did this so i didnt have to 😀 I think i may upgrade to sp2 now and get these vista issues gone again thank you VERY VERY much!

  76. jinx
    July 1, 2010 at 7:45 am

    hi..i have a query..

    before i installed the upgrade, i had 3 gb left from my hard disk..after the install, i had 39gb free space..i’m so happy and amazed..but is that normal?i’m a bit worried..i do hope, nothing’s wrong with my pc..

  77. all vista bashers
    July 18, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    i had an old laptop that had win xp, my hardware had a tough time with it,explorer.exe used to crash for no reason in fresh installs. I finally had enough and installed vista in it. It is working great now. I seriously dont know how so many people hate vista 🙂

    • Jerinjs546
      March 11, 2011 at 6:22 am

      Vista is slower than xp nd has sum compability issue’s

  78. saimohan maddula
    August 8, 2010 at 6:07 am


    HATS OFF……..

  79. someguy
    August 24, 2010 at 8:52 am

    going from xp to vista to win 7, I ve come back to vista and decided to stick with it . I ve come to realize that if you ve the physical resources to support Vista, windows 7 isnt really essential. I find windows vista better anyways – the classic theme with vista functionality is just epic, also, I think windows Vista ( like XP ) has better audio support – for some reason, my experience with audio editing on Windows 7 turned out be very glitchey , and on a variety of different machines too ( but then again I may be wrong ) . I appreciate your efforts to compare SP1 to SP2 – article is great, thanks again good man .

  80. JASPAL
    August 26, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Nice testing…great efforts from you. I had SP1 and 3 days back installed SP2. I believe that SP2 should be installed as it will have atleast something good. And it will be easy to step to SP3 if you have SP2…

  81. andrews
    October 20, 2010 at 1:34 am

    adding to the list of compliments in here :-). am in the process of upgrading vista-32bit to windows 7 and wondering if an SP2 upgrade was really even necessary. having already spent 5 hrs in the process of installing, uploading new updates, and fixing various bugs, etc am happy to have it confirmed that it isn’t.

    am in renewed appreciation of you having spent in 20 hrs to help us all out. thanks a lot buddy!!!

  82. Steve
    October 27, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for putting this together. You may think you wasted your time (based on the results), but you certainly saved a great deal of mine. I was going to move to sp2 because of graphic card/rendering speed, so your tests were exactly what I was looking for to make a decision. Thanks again. Steve

  83. Carlos Eduardo
    December 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Tio el Service Pack 2 tiene mejoras y soporte para hardware y software, y alguna que otras cosas, es lo mismo que el Service Pack 1 pero con unos añadidos y ya esta; sólo se mejoró el rendimiento en los gadgets de la Sidebar que se comían mucha RAM y dejaba lento a ordenadores que contaban o cuentan con 1GB de RAM; los hace un poquito más ligeros y nada más además la mayoria de las mejoras de este Service Pack (el 2) son de seguridad para internet lo que tu buscas ya se instaló en el primero asi que no sigas bscando más que no lo encontrarás.

  84. Phredderik
    January 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Thx for your efforts in this… I just use my Vista run laptop for basic stuff, and now I see that I really don’t need to spend the time updating… if its workin, why mess with it? peace

  85. February 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    GUYS! Let me remind you that Windows Vista SP2 are the first windows version able to run (Internet Explorer) IE9. There is also an other disgussion for gamers: Windows Vista SP2 , since 2011 , are the minimum requirement of an operating system to run those new fresh hot games like Crysis 3. Time change , so it’s time to decide between those two. I can totally determine the really usefulness service pack 2 for windows LongHorn *(Vista)*

  86. anthonysr
    June 8, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I have Vista with Sp2.I am asked to download up dates but thay are for Sp1 and will not install .I keep getting error code 656.What can I do,because I can not download anything .

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