What should you do:
1- Your HP comes equiped with a utility for checking system status and application updates. I know this for a fact because I helped my syster buy a HP system in Dec. 07.
2- Some HP's come with Audio Drivers from Realteck and could cause a problem with the SP1 update.
Her machine is set to download updates automatically from Windows Update, but the SP1 had not been downloaded to her machine as of July.
I was also concern that the Realteck drivers had something to do with it, so I kept waiting for it to be fix by the HP utility.
One afternoon I set out to check for any updates with the HP utility and there was non, so I initiated a Windows Update Scan manually and sure enough the SP1 Patch was listed.
I proceded to update her machine and everything went well.
But again I can't stress enough that you should check with the utility or HP website for driver updates for your machine before you procede with anything else.
3- It is a good idea aside from what you have read or heard to upgrade to SP1 since it brings better performance, security and compatabilities with older applications. It also speads up the boot up process.
You didn't give details of your pc, so for the purpose of this information, I am going under the assumption that you have a machine with a dual core cpu and at least 2GB of ram. Your video Card should have at least 128MB of Memory.
4- HP's come loaded with application that launch at windows start up, I noticed this on my syster's machine and decided to disable some of them that are useless.
5- Before you upgrade to SP1, download Rivo Uninstaller from Cnet Downloads, it is free and it is a very useful application, the latest ver. is 7.0.
Launch it and the default view is the applications installed on your computer, at the top you will see bottons such as Tools, click on it and the first choice on the left pane will be Windows Starup.
When you click on this you should be able to see all the applications that you are currently loading with the operating system.
Highlight one of them and right click on it, this gives you several choices on how to lookup the application online and give you an idea if you need it or not. Deselecting the box will keep this application from loading the next time you start windows, but you will still be able to launch it from the start up menu or shorcut on your desktop or simply use Revo and check the box for the appliation you deselected before, it that simple. This is necessary because many people complain about how slow vista is but in reality HP tends to allow a lot of applications to load on starup instead of letting the user decide.
Read about revo, I highly recomend this utility when uninstalling applications from your computer it does a great job at freen up space and unstalling a lot of entries in the windows register that the original application does not uninstall on its own.
If you are asking yourself why I am going into the above topic, is because it helps clean your machine, as the register becomes bloated with entries left on your machine, your machine begins to slow down.
Although, Revo Is not necessarily a Register Cleaner, it is great an tracking down entries that other appliations leave behind.
For a Good Register Clenaner you can download CCleaner from Cnet also read about it and it will help you keep up with the maintanance of yor pc.
6- Your HP computer has a hiden partion, this partion contains all the applications and the operating system as when it was brand new.
This hidden partion although visible to vista is not touch by the updrade to SP1, hence you should not be concern about upgrading and not being able to restore it to the previous state. Do not use Restore points created by vista or any other program if you want to reverst to pre SP1. You would have to restart the computer and when the first HP bootscreen appears you should be able to see an F12 or other F follow by a number corresponding to the action you want to take, for example F12 will cause the boot procees to go into the restore mode, the machine will then be re-store to its previous steps from the hidden partion, of course you have to follow the instructions presented to you on the screen.
I WORD OF CAUTION. DO THIS STEP BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE.
Your HP computer has a utility to create a copy of the hidden partion onto DVD's. Go into the HP utility forlder there should be an application with the name similar to Create Restore Disk.
You are only allowed to do this once.
Buy DVD + R Media and buy more then 3, my syster's pc took only three disks but in the process it fail one, the application is smart enough to know that the last copy was not finished and it will start where it left off, which is the reason why you need more then 3 disk even if the applications tells you that you only need 3.
ALSO, very important, when you create this disk make sure you turn off suspend mode or the screan saver, this would absolutely cause the copy of the hidden partion to fail and you could end up with the appliation being confused and telling you that you already made a copy of the operating system. Even if this happens, not really a worry since HP allows you to buy the Operating System Restore Disk from their webiste for about $19.00 depending on your machine.
to turn off screen saver - Right click on the desktop select Personalize, select Screan Saver and set the box to none.
to turn off your suspend/sleep mode, - Click on start, Control Panel on the right pane, For Laptops the Battery setting is under Mobile Pc
click on Change battery settings, click the change plan setting, I am assuming you are connected to a external power, set the timings for 5 hours or more for both the screan and the sleep time, click save changes and then close all open windows.
You can restore this changes later to their defaul using the same procedure.
WHILE SP1 does not touch the hidden partion you could get a virus that may replicate onto the hidden partion and destroy your operating system copy, this is why is essential to make a copy of the hidden partion as soon as you get your machine.
REMEBER, these disks, will contain only what the machine came with, so if you added programs, files, photos, music videos etc. you must back this first since restoring the pc will not restore any of these files.
Explore your pc or laptop and have fun.