Windows 7 Service Pack 1 has been released. I normally install service packs first on my home computer (with apologies to my wife) to test their stability before I install them on my day-to-day work computer. As an IT consultant, I’ve learned that I don’t want to be without my laptop for any length of time, so the home provides a nice sandbox environment.
After several weeks, I have no complaints. All my normal applications seem to be working correctly (Office 2010, Expression 4, misc games and applications).
Though this is a simple test environment, I would recommend a more realistic test for my IT consulting clients. For the lower cost method, simply choose a subset of machines from each department to test out the service pack. If all is well after a few days, it should be safe to roll out.
For more critical environments, I suggest a more thorough approach. Larger customers that I have worked with have opted for a real sandbox environment. This can be acheived with virtual machines, though VM Player or through actual physical machines built to mimic normal department machines. Perform the rollout on the test bed to see if there will be compatibility issues on the network. Be sure to test all the applications users will access.
Reminder, if you’re using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), make sure not to approve the update until you are ready and your testing is complete!