PCs loaded with Windows 7 SP1 due in early April

HP and Lenovo will to start shipping PCs with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 in April

Laptops and desktops from Lenovo with the upgraded Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) will become available starting in early April, with Hewlett-Packard planning shipments of business PCs soon after, the companies said.

HP will also ship consumer PCs with the service pack around mid-June, with other back-to-school products, a company spokesman said.

Dell did not respond to requests for comment.

PCs with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 will include patches and fixes issued by Microsoft since the OS was released in October 2009. Users could otherwise spend hours manually installing patches and Service Pack 1, which became available for download in mid-February.

The upgrade could also reduce the strain involved in patching new client PCs in enterprises. Dell CEO Michael Dell in the past has said that PCs with Intel's Sandy Bridge processors and Windows 7 Service Pack 1 could boost the client PC refresh cycle.

Specialist PC maker Falcon Northwest is already shipping PCs with Windows 7 SP1, but the company is manually patching PCs before shipping them, said CEO Kelt Reeves. The patching process takes hours, Reeves said.

The company has not yet received the Windows 7 installation media with SP1 and Reeves wasn't sure when Microsoft would start shipping that to PC makers.

Reeves said there is an issue in SP1 related to waking up PCs from sleep, but Microsoft should patch that problem at some point.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment on when it would ship Windows 7 SP1 media to PC makers.

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