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Vista SP1 prerequisite updates cripple (some) machines

It seems that Microsoft began feeding Windows Vista users last week updates to prep PCs for next month’s release of Service Pack 1. These updates have crippled some machines, according to messages posted to the company’s support site.

Last Tuesday, Microsoft started sending Vista users two final prerequisite updates that are required before SP1 can be installed in March. The updates to the operating system’s install components were delivered via Windows Updates, which automatically downloaded and installed them on the majority of Vista machines. Looking at the feedback on the support site, it appears that users were quite unhappy and they have every right to be.

In many instances, users reported that the final update hung while displaying the message “Configuring Updates Step 3 of 3 – 0% Complete,” which was followed by a reboot of the PC. Which was followed by another reboot, and another. “[It] reboots ad infinitum,” said Frank Melk on the Microsoft support newsgroup. A smaller number reported a different problem: After the update, their computer refused to boot normally.

Trying to boot into Safe Mode did no good, users said; the reboot loop cranked up then as well. “I am unsure as to what to do, because entering Safe Mode gives the same screen,” Melk said. “Furthermore, I have no restore points saved, so going back to a known previous good config is no good either!”

Users are posting situations they’ve experienced:
“The first two restore points available to me failed,” noted another user, pegged as phazedoubt. “I had to go back 3 days before I found one that worked.”

Some users who posted messages to the same newsgroup said that they had managed to regain control of the computer by booting from their Vista install DVD, and selecting the “Restore from a previous restore point” option.

“Apparently, so Microsoft says, my machine was restarted thinking it had downloaded an update, but really the update hadn’t been downloaded,” said user bicksbah on the support newsgroup. “So, upon reboot, it couldn’t find the update and Vista kept trying to install it endlessly.”

Messages left on the newsgroup indicate that Microsoft is aware of the problem.

6 Responses

  1. If anyone has any advice on how to correct this problem please share it. What a frustrating issue to be encountering!!

  2. There seems to be a lot of discussion about it on the MS support forums. Have you taken a look at those yet? I haven’t viewed it myself, but many are heading over there to see if there are any options for them right now.

  3. As the article said, if you can’t boot to safe mode, then you need to either repair or recover off of the DVD. I wish the post had just said that at the top, rather than burying it in the middle with “some people from the newsgroups say…”

    If you have a problem with Windows (any version) try Safe Mode. If Safe Mode doesn’t fix it, the next step is booting off the DVD/CD. In order:
    * Try recovering to a restore point
    * Try a repair with a backup disk (read the help file on how to create the prerequisite backup disk)
    * Try a repair without a backup disk

    It is a very straightforward procedure, just walk through one at a time until you get a working OS again.

    If you are unlucky enough to be using an old nForce 4, 3 or 2 board using the nForce chipset and nForce RAID BIOS (in either mode), you’re screwed in that nVidia doesn’t support that configuration. It is possible (I’ve done it) to make a recovery off of such a system, but it really sucks badly.

    Note that the reason restore points are +++ in this scenario is because they are fast. The issue with the other techniques is that they can take hours, depending on your system (it takes about 4-6 hours to run a recovery on my Vista box, but it should be faster than that on more recent hardware)

  4. I fixed mine by going and reinstalling the update, so if you download and save the download, reinstall it
    I had mine in the recore the update option of vista, so I restored it and reinstalled it and now my computer is fine.

  5. Yep, had a bad install of SP1 myself.
    At first when I noticed it had finally appeared in my Windows Update on my laptop, I thought, Great cause my configurations must be fine and ready to update to SP1. But upon downloading and trying to install it gave me a KB936330 error. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong but I had previously downloaded the Stand Alone installer of SP1 a few days before just to have it ready. So I ran that and it seemed to be working. After a couple of restarts during the second or third restart at the configuring update screen it said that some updates could not be applied or something and that that it was reverting these changes and going to attempt to update after a restart. But after restarting the laptop I got a black screen with the error message that windows could not start and that I was advised to Launch Recovery something, cant remember exactly, or to boot normally. None of these options would work for me and I was left in a continuous loop of not booting into windows. My only solution was to connect my external dvd drive and use my recovery dvd to get my Windows back to factory setting. First attempt failed me but luckily after about 5-6 hours I recovered my laptop back to factory state and managed now to update Windows up to SP1 point. I have that update now waiting in my Windows Update but am not sure whether to download / install it. Any suggestions?

  6. Yes this seems to be a fairly common problem. I have had to do quite a few repairs on systems that went down because of related errors.


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