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back to article Windows XP SP3 blame game begins

Microsoft has so far failed to provide any plausible solution to Windows XP customers who have seen their PCs crippled by the install of service pack three (SP3). In the meantime, forums throughout the internet are abuzz with possible workarounds and fixes, while rumours fly that suggest the sizeable blunder only affects some …

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Gates Horns

How long before..

..MS state that affected users should update to Vista - and it won't be long before many more problems rise to the surface - somewhat suspiciously - for XP, causing people to upgrade to Vista out of shear frustration with XP.

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62 Working

62 of my companies Dell AMD machines are all working fine since SP3. A mixture of Precision M65's, Latitude 110L 120L & 131L's, Precision 370 & 360's, Optiplex GX280's etc. ALL AMD ALL 100% working on XP SP3 :)

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I may be in the minority, but...

...No problems for me when I installed it via Windows Update (well, Microsoft Update) on my Intel P4, or since then for that matter.

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Gold badge

It still doesn't make sense

"Because the image for both Intel and AMD is the same all have the intelppm.sys driver installed and running. [...] On an AMD-based computer, amdk8.sys provides the same functionality."

Windows Update is normally quite willing to replace device drivers and surely amdk8.sys is a better match to AMD hardware than intelppm.sys? If we accept the story that OEMs cut corners on their disc images, it still doesn't explain why WU didn't offer to repair the mis-match as soon as the machines were connected to the net.

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I blame Linux

I thought that would get your attention. Although on a serious note, I've installed SP3 successfully on our MD's home AMD based PC, which has the bog standard HP factory image on it (of course I tested it on a image of the PC before hand). So I wonder if the problem lies with users that have installed any of the recommend hardware driver updates within Windows Update?.

Well, f*ck me, it's nearly time for a beer, who's round is it?.

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Gates Horns

This is getting daft

"We also asked AMD to give us its views on the XP service pack debacle, however, at time of writing it is yet to provide comment"

They're probably still trimming the expletives out of it :D

What has happened at Redmond recently, XP SP3 reboot infinity, Vista SP1 reboot infinity. WTH The fix needs a fix, which will probably need a fix also ad infinitum. So glad I didn't press that install button after I downloaded it, have now pressed the delete button instead.

No explanation necessary with the icon ;)

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Alert

@Kenny and own findings

I think he meant downgrade to vista. I can't see any "up" side to a remake of the windows ME fiasco which Vista is turning out to be.

To all else, I downloaded the 500 meg ISO image and have isntalled it on both intel and AMD chipsets with no problems. The 2 AMDs I've tested on were a XP2800 Athalon and XP3200 Barton.

No spontaneous reboots or instabillaty detected as of yet.

Improved system performance and memory usage is down though which can't be a bad thing.

If you install the SP manually then I don't think you will have many problems. It seems to be the automatic update which is causing most of the problems.

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This reminds me of when I installed Vista...

I had a hell of a job installing Vista on my Intel-based laptop. It would generally freeze about 5 seconds into setup unless I started it in safe mode. That was fine except it wouldn't let you continue in safe mode after the first reboot. I can't even remember how I figured it out because there was practically no information about the problem online but disabling intelppm.sys with the help of BartPE after every reboot allowed me to finish the installation. I don't entirely blame Vista though. It was probably some fault with the machine because enabling the processor driver in Linux also caused random crashes but those only occured about once a day, not once every five seconds!

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Happy

No AMD issues, but MSN killed one!

I have installed SP3 on my own and some friends' systems, which included two HP AMD PCs, and no problems. In fact, of six systems so far, I only had one Pentium system that had an issue, and that was caused by MSN Messenger! Bizarrely, it first complained about Live Messenger being open during the update (kicked off from the Update webby), then wouldn't complete the update until I'd uninstalled Messenger completely. After that, the SP went on fine and then I could re-install Messenger. Most weird!

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amdk8.sys is not correct - its amdppm.sys and SP3 does not update it

I have an HP Pavillion Ze2000z with a Mobile AMD Sempron 2800+, and it went through the manual AU just fine.

System Information shows the power management is controlled by amdppm.sys and that file is 33k and dated 4/17/2007. A copy of it (with the same time stamp) is also in the SP3 "ReinstallBackups" area, which means its the same driver as before SP3.

A search of the hard drive found that amdk8.sys was in the Windows\system32\drivers area but that it was zero bytes long and a date stamp of 4/13/2006. A subsequent search of the hard drive found intelppm.sys at 32k in the same directory, with copies in the Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386 area and also in the Windows\SoftwareDistribution area. All intelppm.sys are date stamped 4/13/2008.

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Linux

Contact Microsoft Customer Support

My one and only attempt at contacting Microsoft support had me first on hold for 2 hours and then got me to scan disk my hard drive. A task taking over 4 hours on that particular drive before they would even try to help diagnose my problem.

The fact that I am now a happy Linux user is driectly due to the lack of support the support line gave.

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Alert

AMD driver theory is plausible, and SP3 installer might have a bug

"If we accept the story that OEMs cut corners on their disc images, it still doesn't explain why WU didn't offer to repair the mis-match as soon as the machines were connected to the net."

Windows Update didn't do the update in this case. The downloader and updater in XP SP3 did. We're also talking about a processor update. Ever hear of downloading a new driver for your CPU?!

Microsoft made Sysprep's limitations quite clear -- oh, for those who don't know, Sysprep is the utility that permits mass duplication of an installed Windows 2000 or Windows XP machine -- and an important limitation is that the target machines' processors must be the same type. This was more obvious back in the day when Windows NT supported four unique processors, but it's still relevant today when switching between Intel x86 and AMD x86 processors.

And now we know why.

Come to think of it, I always wondered why my XP SP2 image wouldn't boot on an Acer AMD laptop. To think I blamed Acer, when the fault was mine. And this had nothing to do with SP3.

As for the SP3 ISO working better than the download, I'd believe Gary's story since the "full file" kit would contain the AMD driver code by default. The online version would only download updates for files it saw, and if there wasn't an amdk8.sys file, it's not going to waste time downloading it.

Sounds like the bug is in the online version of the SP3 installer. And it seems like a simple enough fix -- make sure it downloads all processor-related drivers anyway, regardless of what files it sees.

What about the full-file installer? We see that the ISO download works. What about the huge update you'd download to install to multiple PCs, without needing a CD burner?

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Linux

It's not just AMD

It borked my Celeron based Maxdata PC this morning with the repeated re-booting problem. Luckily it would still come up in Safe Mode (although not with networking, which might be a clue?) so I was able to uninstall SP3 and get on with something more productive.

Tux cos that's the OS on all the other PCs in the house.

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Paris Hilton

Paris

Cos she's the only thing I know of that goes down more often than an SP3 update..

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Go

We'll have no touble here...

No problem on my Athlon 2600 using WU although I built it myself so there's no chance of a shonky OEM build getting in the way. Much as I like most MS products (excluding FrontPage, Sharepoint, Vista and Office 2K7), it sounds suspiciously like someone didn't do enough real-world type testing and is now hurriedly trying to wriggle out of it.

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Gates Horns

So what

Question: in light of these recent problems with Vista, it's service pack and now the XP service pack, will anything change with, or at, Microsoft.

By the looks of it there are a few folks at Microsoft needing their asses fired straight out of the door never to work again. Not least Mr Gates for letting his company name be tarnished by idiots, slackers and hangers-on.

Hey Bill, start firing people (yes firing, NOT asking to resign) big title, big salary managers first, you'll soon get the rest showing some pride in their work for a change.

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Happy

Bazza

Ummm,

Vista sales are down and lots of people and companies are holding on to XP and everyone expects XP SP3 to be good? The only reason any machines are working so well after SP3 is probably because Microsoft made a mistake :-)

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Linux

Hmmm

I downloaded the full .exe (not the .iso one), didn't use windows update because it sat there for 20 mins doing nothing (preparing to download). Ran .exe, no issues whatsoever, and no difference to speed, etc, either. I'm running an old Xp2600, a home-built machine which I won't go into the "specs" of (it was a high-end machine *ahem* years ago) so I'm guessing that either there is an issue with WinUpdate (doubtful after seeing, for example, Steve Pettifer's reply) or something is up with certain OEM installs as suggested. If it was an AMD issue, surely every AMD system would be affected? Which manufacturer will get officially named and shamed first?

(Linux Pingu since there ain't a "brown trouser syndrome" icon, as I haven't had a single issue with my Vista box, and now SP3 works perfectly. Bet I'll have a mare with a Linux install......

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What about WIFI?

My IBM T41 (only machine on Win as my wife *NEEDS* Outlook, you know those anti-IT people) worked fine till SP3. Not it drops 'Net connection after about 1-5h. I heard the same from some of my friends.

Accepting it's probably the most bog-standard laptop out there, how could it pass through Q&A?

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Works fine for me

As I was unable to get onto a WU server, I downloaded the full file (not the ISO), and manually updated. No probs at all for my venerable Evesham P4.

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Paris Hilton

Don't start worshipping at the feet of the ISO file...

I tried the update, then I downloaded the ISO and burned to disc and got a nice shiny welcome screen and a help document about SP2 (!)

At first I though I'd wasted a disc downloading the wrong file, but Micro-pull-a-fast-one-soft just couldn't be arsed to update the "read me first" file.

Anyway, after installing, same result with both the download via Windows Update and the ISO version. I am running XP Pro SP2 on an AMD powered crate with Asus MB.

XP Pro installed off a proper XP CD and update to SP2 via another proper CD , bla de bla.

(Paris - cos' she wants me)

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Flame

Why...

Why do people always blame Microsoft ....

Think of all the 3rd party software/drivers out there that interacts with the OS!!!!

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@Gordon

"Ever hear of downloading a new driver for your CPU?!"

Yup. Used to download new PowerNow! drivers for my laptop all the time. ;-)

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"affected users should update to Vista"

And is MS going to provide these users a free-of-charge upgrade key to allow that?

It's high time that doing so became the law -- and not just when an upgrade fails, but whenever a company withdraws support for any program less than 10 years old.

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Joke

Vic

Runs fine on my Vic20... Going to try it on the ZX81 next!

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Go

Nothing useful to say

My AMD PC nearly died because of SP3. At fist I thought it was because of Spybot blocking some registry change, several hours for trawling through restricted lists came up with nothing, then I noticed the blogs. D'oh. I only got away with it because my PC is so slow at booting I managed to open and activate system restore before it realised what was happening. Take that SP3 evilnesses!

Thanks for the tip off about the ISO, will be trying it. Once it d/ls.

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Linux

Ah me!

I'd just like to say that my Mandriva system is in full working order

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Linux

works fine here

Updated 4 computers with it. the P4 at work was done last week when I it came out. Still running fine. 3 of my 4 at home are AMDs (2 are dual core), and worked without a hitch. Thinking about switching my EEEPC over to windows to see how it looks, and it might get SP3 too.

Think the main issue is folks with bad installs to begin with. I've built 3/4 of the systems I work on, and the others were fresh installs *not* using OEM discs.

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OEM? Oh Yeah?

My homebrew AMD box has a MSDN sp2 install. SP3 killed it stone dead, batching spuninst.txt from the recovery console has made no difference whatsoever. Reboot city with a different bugcheck nearly every time. time to go hackintosh with this one, methinks.

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Linux

@ smug Linux users

Yes, I tried Penguin (after removing Vista nuked my XP partition and the partition tables on most of my different drives), and even got 3 of the 5 extra drives fixed with it, but Adobe have cacked up the latest version of Flash, rendering the BBC iPlayer vaguely unusable. Couple of issues with the nVidia drivers also (slight tearing when watching HD videos fullscreen) means that Linux still can't compete with XP yet.

Fresh nLite'd install of XPSP3 later, and everything is working fine, even the 2 drives that Ubuntu refused to acknowledge the existence of (other than an excessively long loading time when they were plugged in)

So yeah. SP3 good, Penguin bad, at least for the moment.

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Paris Hilton

I av zee anser.....

After many hours of secret research by my cat and aging incontinent dog I am pleased to confirm the following:

A PC that has never had an Intel CPU near it had not even a sniff of "Intelppm" in the registry pre SP3 install.

After installing SP3 and getting the bsod, we proceeded to paw in a top secret registry change after finding that the evil boffins at Micro-I-want-to-shag-your-mother-soft(ly) had added "Intelppm" into the registry during the SP3 process.

After following the top secret (you can find it anywhere) registry tweak the system has booted up into SP3.

Questions need answering as to why Micro-I-want-you-vista-longtime-soft have seen it upon themselves to contaminate perfectly happy AMD powered systems with Intelppm.

I think this is one of many possible fixes to many different problems.

If I never write again it is because the cursed thing died after the first reboot and I will be taking an axe to my research team!

(Paris - because she thinks I look good in y-fronts)

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Gates Halo

The problem was caused by...

It seems the problem was caused by not by the windows service pack, but by windows vista itself, after having the install of SP3 fail and rolling it back to SP2, i received an error message which asked me to send a report to microsoft, being an adventurous person, i click the send button. the response i got back from microsoft was helpful...

http://www.azitspecialist.com/image1.jpg

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Paris Hilton

@ Steven.

Are you sure they're all AMD? The M65 is a dual core Intel, the Precisions are P4 or Xeon, the GX280 is either P4 or dual core Intel, in fact, off the top of my head, the only one you named that I think has an AMD self destruct device^H^H^H^H^H^H^H processor is the 131L. Perhaps that might explain why the majority of your machines are reliable?

Paris. Because she doesn't know what processors in her box either.

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Gates Horns

Why does anyone trust auto-update?

The problem occurred "...within hours of XP SP3 being released as an automatic update ...". Says it all really. Why would anyone let anyone else do something this important to their machine automatically?

Let someone else go first. Unless you needed SP3 to fix a specific problem ... wait until its proved safe.

D

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Anonymous Coward

What a joke

All I can say is that the guy in the posting named "Gary" would be fired for not even reading things correctly.

Of course his ISO image install fine on systems. It's installing SP3 on a system that has SP2 on an AMD system that is the problem as it's OEMs like [it seems primarily] HP who screwed up their customers by dumping an Intel image on an AMD system - against Sysprep "rules".

BlueR@nger - See above. Only affects updating SP2 to SP3.

Gordon Fecyk - You're missing the point. HP dumped an Intel image on an AMD system. It's not Microsoft's fault that HP people are incompitent.

re: "affected users should update to Vista" - Ya right. Microsoft will give free upgrades because of Hp's incompitence. More like Hp should do so. Of course who ever originated this quote must be a good dream!

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@ Gordon Fecyk

"Windows Update didn't do the update in this case. The downloader and updater in XP SP3 did."

Yeah but my point was why WU didn't resolve the problem on these machines long before SP3 came along. Presumably it just didn't notice the mismatch.

"We're also talking about a processor update. Ever hear of downloading a new driver for your CPU?!"

A fair point. I *have* heard of motherboard upgrades, but they aren't common and I don't know if anyone ever expects to run the unmodified OS image straight off the hard disc. It wouldn't surprise me if switching between AMD and Intel hardware just isn't on Microsoft's test plan for Windows.

OTOH, if all this theorising turns out to be true, you can be fairly sure that future versions of WU *will* check for abuses of sysprep. Microsoft may not be the guilty party here, but it is Microsoft customers who are getting grief and MS generally take the view that Windows should try to work around common cases of cretinism in OEMs and applications programmers.

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Paris Hilton

will it work on AMD after slipstream?

I slipstreamed SP3 into WinXP by downloading the .exe file. I then installed WinXP-SP3 using VMware 5.5. Ran fine. I'm wondering if it will work if installed as the real OS (no vm). (I have an AMD X4)

Paris-cause anything with "service" in it's title has to be sexy!

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@ 62 Working

What kind of idiot company would apply a week-old service pack to all their machines?

I mean, what if the problem *had* affected you...?

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Microsoft is starting to remind me of Banyan...

I remember when I was a Banyan Vines engineer and when we got new patches for Banyan servers they would often create worse bugs than they fixed... It was not uncommon to patch the patch before you applied it to the server... I even remember one instance where instead of rolling out a whole new patch, we had to patch the patch for the patch for the server...

Most of Active Directory was designed based off of Banyan's Streettalk Directory which Microsoft licensed...

Banyan use to be a fairly popular network operating system... Where are they now? Microsoft might want to take note...

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Boffin

Moral of the story

1) Download and burn the ISO

2) STFU

3) ????

4) Profit

or - use WSUS.

d0rks

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Happy

Microsoft release SP3 patch

We have an exclusive on the release of a patch for Windows XP SP3 - it's only a short patch, and according to Microsoft's press release it will cure all the XP problems.

Have a read of the full story at:

http://adfundum.wordpress.com/2008/05/12/microsoft-release-patch-for-windows-xp-sp3/

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Stop

@John Stag

Hi John.

Those of us with an IQ that breaches figures normally associated with room temperature have this great trick.

It's called 'Testing'.

Hope that helps.

Steven R

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Black Helicopters

SP3 - mine now works - 4th attempt

I have a HP Pavillion with AMD chip. It went through the reboot process. I did the research (after the mandatory swearing and row with wife) and there is existing info about intelppm on the MS website - they describe it as an unsupported configuration.

Eventually I used the Recovery Console to disable Intelppm and all is now well.

So HP sold me a machine with a crap installation - they deserve all the grief they get.

Microsoft didn't bother to test on an HP machine with an AMD CPU or to put in code to check for unsupported configurations - what sort of test plan is that?

I don't think that AMD deserve any of the grief - shame that they are getting it. I bet Intel are loving every minute of it.

NO - NO stop I take it all back - Intel paid HP and Microsoft and it is all a cunning plan to increase market share - we need either proof or counter example but it is a great theory. The arrival of the black helicopters is all the proof I need.

Cheers

Andrew

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Boffin

@Walter Brown

JPEG generally is unsuitable for screenshots :-)

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Coat

Comparions of ISO and "Network" install

Just an interesting note: After checking the MD5s of the service pack's EXE in the burned ISO and the EXE downloadable for the "network" installation (316 MB exe), I found they are identical (BB25707C919DD835A9D9706B5725AF58).

Curious what the Autorun.exe on the ISO/CD is doing that the network install or Windows Update installer isn't...

Coat, because all my boxes in-house are Intel based, and now I have to go home and see if I break my AMD based PC.

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Updating the updates

Are we talking problems with clean installs? Or problems with fresh builds?

An XP SP2 PC will have over 100 critical OS updates, a variety of non-critical updates, possibly some of MSs own drivers for legacy hardware (ill-advised) and a variety of third party drivers that are probably a few revisions out of date (some for hardware designed for 98SE). There are also going to be plenty of computers with corrupt system files that havn't made themselves obvious yet.

So, it's not surprising that whacking a major rewrite of the core OS onto a old installation will cause problems for some. However, if loads of folk are having problems with fresh builds with all the latest drivers and no legacy hardware, then its open season on MS.

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Paris Hilton

OK Here...

AMD 64, Compaq machine (aka HP) - all fine.

Paris... because I'm predictable and this joke isn't funny any more....

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Emo
Happy

AMD Phenom

All ok here and on my hp6110 laptop :)

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T61P Updated

with no issue. Of course, I made full images of the program partition before I start.

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Silver badge

Why didn't they pull the plug this time?

Last time they pulled the plug on SP3 because it conflicted with an application that very few use. One could almost forgive them this little oversight because of the small userbase.

This time they screwed up far better than last time but don't pull the plug.

In the words of my Great Aunt Hattie: WTF?

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