The Ghacks blog has a nice hack which allows you to download and install Vista SP1 via Windows Update. Essentially, one has to run a little batch file which adds two registry keys.

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Then, you have to install three patches. When I tried it the updates didn't show up at first. Only after I enabled Microsoft Update was the first patch displayed. However, I don't know if this was just by accident. Sometimes I had to click on "Check for updates" several times until the required updates would finally show up.

After I installed them, Vista SP1 was indeed displayed in Windows Update. In my case, the size was 51.9 MB. In the beginning the download was quite fast, but then it hanged for some time after 90%. I suppose, there are now many trying this hack.

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It is really interesting to see how easy it is to bypass Microsoft's security mechanism that protect the beta of service pack 1. They could have just offered it as public download.

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