As expected Microsoft has posted the Service Pack 1 files for Windows 7 on their download servers and you can now update your systems to the operating system update.

You have two choices for installing the update, with both being very functional and effective, but one will be much faster than the other one.

The first option is to go to Windows Update and download the update from there.  This process will identify your system and download exactly what you need.  Reports on Twitter from @edbott indicate it was less than 40 minutes for him:

Ed Bott edbott
Breaking it down: about 20 minutes to DL SP1 x64 via Windows Update, another 10-12 minutes to install, including two restarts.

Now compare that to the second method, which is the one I used last week, and the first method is way faster!

The second method includes going over to the Microsoft Download Center and getting the entire Service Pack 1 file, which is nearly 2GB in size, and installing it.  Just that download alone may take well over an hour depending on your connection speed because even with a fast connection it is also throttled by the download app that Microsoft uses to send you the file.  Now there is a benefit to that app in that it allows you to resume an an interrupted download but still the speed will be slow in comparison.

Take a look at the instructions from the download center:

Steps to take before installing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 from the Microsoft Download Center
If you choose to install Windows 7 SP1 from the Microsoft Download Center Web site, there are steps that you can take to make sure that you have a good experience when you install the service pack. This article, KB 2505743, provides some suggestions to improve your experience when you install Windows 7 SP1 from the Microsoft Download Center Web site.

So if that is not enough to convince you that the best option is to use Windows Update – check out this additional info from the download center:

Do not click download if you are updating just one computer: A smaller, more appropriate download is now available on Windows Update. The best way to ensure you get Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 is by turning on the Automatic Updates feature. You can use our step-by-step instructions or, if you prefer, let us do it for you. If Windows Update is not offering you the option to install the service pack, see KB 2498452. If you are encountering a problem when installing the service pack from Windows update, see Troubleshoot problems installing a service pack for Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

So go ahead and get out there to get your system updated to Service Pack 1 but use Automatic Updates so you save yourself some time and bandwidth.

Let us know how your upgrade experience goes.