Vista SP1 hits the torrent sites - who's surprised?

Vista SP1 won't be out for several weeks - officially

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 may be out in a few weeks, but that hasn’t stopped people lapping it up courtesy of their favourite torrent tracker.

Microsoft sure won’t be happy - the corporation has already stated that it wants to be cautious about releasing the update because of an issue with a small number of third-party drivers.

Once SP1 is drip-fed to people from mid-March, those with problematic drivers won’t get the update until the driver issues themselves are fixed.

However, more savvy users (those who won’t have torrented it, of course) will still be able to force an update courtesy of the Microsoft Download Center.

Free for all

Cut-and-shut research by TechRadar showed that there were 26 seeders and 97 leechers at The Pirate Bay for the 434MB update. More popular, however, was a completely patched copy of the OS - destined to be shipped with systems - at a bandwidth-crucifying 2.87GB. There were 126 people seeding, 604 leeching on that one.

A full Vista Ultimate plus SP1 download was also available at, while the SP1-only torrent was being seeded and downloaded by hundreds at at the last count.

As pointed out by some people posting on the site, the downside of the larger download is that it’s not an upgrade for your existing system - it’s a completely fresh Vista install. also points out that Windows Server 2008 was being seeded by up to 42 machines earlier. In fact it’s currently being seeded by 80. However, the site reports that this download is in fact a trial version.

Microsoft announced the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) status of SP1 in five languages on Monday.

We’ve asked Microsoft for a comment on the matter and await a response.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.