Some users find XP SP3 upgrade not so smooth

When the third service pack for Windows XP went gold, News.com reported that the upgrade process would be a "quick, painless" affair for most users. Not always so, according to InfoWorld, which says SP3 drew "hundreds of complaints" from users within mere hours of its release on Windows Update earlier this week.

Indeed, a quick look at Microsoft’s official Windows XP message group shows a considerable number of threads about numerous problems with SP3. Users claim the update has caused their computer to crash, fail to recognize external drives, enter reboot loops, or stop booting altogether. InfoWorld quotes one user who calls himself "Doug W." as saying, "After three attempts [to install XP SP3] with different configurations each time, System Restore was the only way to get me out of deep s**t."

InfoWorld blames conflicts with already-installed software and drivers for these snags. However, considering Microsoft seems to be pushing SP3 through both Windows Update and Automatic Updates, some of the aforementioned users may not have had a chance to double-check program compatibility before installing.

Comments closed
    • d0g_p00p
    • 11 years ago

    I don’t seem to have encountered any issues and I work at a radio station with custom software and wonky audio apps. I did heavy testing and pushed the update via WSUS to 100+ machines. So far all seems well. I am fearing the Office upgrade more.

    • charged3800z24
    • 11 years ago

    Weird.. I have it on both MCE 2005 boxes and my work laptop. I actually had a choice in installing it to. All network drives work.. no rebooting freezing etc.. everything is running great so far….

    • Mystic-G
    • 11 years ago

    It’s a service pack…. there are obviously going to be problems.

    • Mavrick88
    • 11 years ago

    Summary:

    Me: Never had any problems doing SPs. Always keep up with current OS and changes.

    Happening: Dell work laptop. Upgraded to SP3. System reboots. Blue screen: “Missing GDI32.DLL” so it will not load into Windows at all. Restart. Safe Mode. Blue screen “Missing GDI32.DLL.” No boot into safe mode. Use Windows recovery off SP2 disc. Boots fine. Install SP3. No blue screen. Instead: “Hal.dll missing or corrupt, reinstall it.” Boot Windows SP2 disc, no repair option, no Windows install detected. Cried for 2 hours. Googled “Hal.dll.” Installed Winows SP2 in a different directory, copied boot.ini and hal.dll to old windows directory, changed boot.ini file to boot old windows directory, booted, saved. Phew. Working SP2 again. Installed SP3. Worked. 3rd times a charm? Yay me. No work data loss. Reminds self why backups are important. Backs up files. Done. Go me go. Finally on SP3 baby.

    • Saber Cherry
    • 11 years ago

    It turned me into a newt!

      • Krazeee
      • 11 years ago

      A Newt!?…

        • ludi
        • 11 years ago

        She’s a witch! Burn her!

        • grantmeaname
        • 11 years ago

        It got better…

          • Mavrick88
          • 11 years ago

          Witches are made of wood. What also floats in water?

            • Kurlon
            • 11 years ago

            …Churches!

            • elpresidente
            • 11 years ago

            …Very small rocks!

            • ludi
            • 11 years ago

            A *[

            • Saber Cherry
            • 11 years ago

            Who are you, who is so wise in the ways of service packs?

            • UberGerbil
            • 11 years ago

            Three is the number of the Service Pack, and the number of the Service Pack is three.

            • DrDillyBar
            • 11 years ago

            One, Two, Five! [three sir] Three!

    • Lucky Jack Aubrey
    • 11 years ago

    Wow, Microsoft has been on a roll with their service pack releases recently.

    A quote from my company’s IT service desk:

    /[

      • Logdan
      • 11 years ago

      I’m assuming your end users have the rights to install the Service Pack?

        • toetag
        • 11 years ago

        Never underestimate what a user can, or might try, to do.

        • Lucky Jack Aubrey
        • 11 years ago

        Some do, some don’t.

        I have the rights, but I chose a “wait-and-see” approach, mostly due to experiences shared by my fellow gerbils over the years.

    • Madman
    • 11 years ago

    Bad XPSP3 makes XP baad and Vista good, Vista sales go up, it’s all good 😀

    But if seriously I much rather use slipstreamed version + clean install. Upgrade process is always long and often painful.

      • maxxcool
      • 11 years ago

      Yup slipstreamed with winnt.sif file for unattended install + slipstreamed drivers.

      <3 sp3

        • bthylafh
        • 11 years ago

        SP3 slipstreamed with some unattended stuff activated, then driverpacks.net slipstreamed in. Works like a charm! It’s about a gig large, so needs to be burnt on a DVD.

    • PerfectCr
    • 11 years ago

    MS strategy to move people to Vista?

    Nah.

    • Meadows
    • 11 years ago

    Ha! Take that, Ecks Pee!
    <villainous laughter>

      • VILLAIN_xx
      • 11 years ago

      hey…

      thats my laugh.

      • Voldenuit
      • 11 years ago

      My approach to service packs is always to download, slipstream, image my current install, format C:\ and then do a clean windows install.

      Paranoid? Yes.

      Effective? You betcha.

        • UberGerbil
        • 11 years ago

        You da man. If the entire computing universe was that cluefull and painstaking, the world would be a much better place (and a lot of consultants, product support, and antivirus people would be out of work).

        Unfortunately, it’s human nature to be lazy, stupid, and greedy, so many people take shortcuts and seldom think about the implications until it is too late.

          • flip-mode
          • 11 years ago

          Really? It takes 8 hrs minimum to do a clean image for one of my company’s computers. It’s a hell of a lot of lost productivity to tell the whole company to go bog off for 8 hours while I image your old and then do a clean install. If only the whole world had the time to spare to be so paranoid.

            • zgirl
            • 11 years ago

            How about building a base image. That can be modified on the side. Then used to re-image entire boxed in less the 10 minutes. Not to mention application packaging to aid in application deployment the same way.

            This is what products like Ghost Enterprise Console, Altiris, SMS, and Landesk are for.

            How else do you think I have 3 techs manage 6 – 9k machines in school district?

            • BKA
            • 11 years ago

            Thats what we use for the campus I work at, Ghost. We can push an image out to a machine and have it up and running with all the required software in well under an hour. We have a basic image and then ones that have special needs according to room or office. If we needed 8 hours per machine on campus, I could never leave to go home.

        • swaaye
        • 11 years ago

        aye. tis the way of things.

      • Krazeee
      • 11 years ago

      I agree. Rarely do we hear people say “Hey, that’s a real nice product you got there! Good job!” More often than not we hear from all the people who don’t like it for whatever reason, some legitimate, others downright silly.

      I actually had everything install without any issues. Just went to the website, downloaded it, followed the prompts, reboot. Haven’t seen any major changes or anything, except there’s a new MSN Messenger icon on my desktop. Meh.

      • PeterD
      • 11 years ago

      You wrote: ” Well, as usual, we’ll hear about 100% of the people who have problems and 1% of the people who don’t.”
      I think that’s a load of bullshit.
      And why?
      Because you don’t know in which pack you will end up before you start updating!

        • UberGerbil
        • 11 years ago

        What? The vast majority of people we hear from are those who have attempted an install, and the vast majority of those only post if something went wrong.

        Although I suppose there are some people who haven’t installed it who will post that it ate kittens and caused global warming, just because it’s from “M$” (cue P-A cartoon)

    • gohan
    • 11 years ago

    It wasn’t quick but was painless enough. no crashing or anything ons Dell laptop yet…….

    • BKA
    • 11 years ago

    I bet a lot of these issues are from people who have systems that were already exhibiting issues and hoped installing SP3 would solve them. But only made things worse.

    I installed it on one of my work PC’s that has to stay on XP for our VOIP and it went through fine. Of course this was on a clean install also. Which should be the recommended way to do it if not slipstreaming it into a XP CD and re-install the whole OS. Not really an option for you average user that has been running the same installed OS since they bought the PC back in 2002.

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah, and on which they’ve installed some hodgepodge of drivers for old hardware they no longer have, and multiple antivirus apps together with their drivers, and who knows what other crap. Not to mention the people with failing memory that only bites them when you run a particularly large application — like a game… or the SP installation.

    • hans
    • 11 years ago

    No problems on either my home custom or the Dells at work, so far.

      • bthylafh
      • 11 years ago

      Apparently that’s only for HP systems, because HP used a unified image.

      • PeterD
      • 11 years ago

      How can a processor lead to a MISSING FILE?
      Get real!

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        The same way a heavy processor overclock (or RAM, while we’re at it) can lead to blue screens and disk access faults and perceived file errors.

          • ludi
          • 11 years ago

          That’s simple data corruption, which isn’t the apparent cause of this problem.

        • ludi
        • 11 years ago

        Read the article. Reportedly it’s because HP mistakenly was deploying an image that only includes the power management file for Intel-based systems.

      • tdkx89
      • 11 years ago

      Wish I could have known that before I tried to install it on my HP with an AMD processor.
      I’m gonna go hang myself now.

    • Kent_dieGo
    • 11 years ago

    I have done 3 computers so far and “quick and painless” would be a good description.

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