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back to article Windows 7 customers hit by service pack 1 install 'fatal error' flaws

A brace of "fatal errors" is hampering Windows 7-based computers that have been updated with Microsoft's first service pack for its current operating system. In fact, since Windows 7 SP1 was released late last month, many users have been grumbling on forums about problems with the install of the update package. Similarly, The …

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Gates Horns

Problem with W7 SP1 Hibernate

<raises hand> I've had problems too although thankfully not as bad as those cited in the article.

I'm running Win 7 Ultimate (non-OEM). I waited a couple of weeks after release before I installed SP1 just to see if the zero day adopters hit any major problems. Having not seen any big problems reported (not an exhaustive search for problems I admit!) I went ahead and installed only to find that Hibernate no longer worked on my desktop machine. If Hibernate was selected the machine shut off almost immediately, rather than taking 30-60 seconds to save the current state to disk first.

Luckily I was able to wind back to the restore point created when SP1 was installed, and the problem was solved. The commentard cited in the article is right - SP1 does seem to remove all earlier restore points when it installs. Well, at least my experience concurs with theirs.

Big fail (Again) M$FT.

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Joke

Ooooh...

Looks like Windows 7 and WinMob 7 really are closely related!

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Happy

Reinstall?

Best way to avoid it is to install Ubuntu!

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Linux

As an ubuntu user since version 5.10....

...and various BSDs before that, I'd like to point out that all operating systems have bugs, even Linux. In the case of Linux, if it doesn't work it's not necessarily the fault of the developer. It can be the hardware manufacturer or the user that is to blame, but this hardly makes Ubuntu the answer to all software problems. If a user is left powerless by a service pack update, Ubuntu is just going to give them harder problems to solve.

I'm a big fan of choice and having the right tool for the job. Sometimes, and for some people, Windows is the right tool.

Simon

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Anonymous Coward

re: all operating systems have bugs

but at least if you're running a *nix system you can usually boot another instance and hack the config to sort it out.

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Def
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FAIL

Linux - the people's OS?

If any piece of software has a bug it's the fault of the developers. The end. You can't push the blame on to hardware manufacturers because it wasn't tested sufficiently, or on users because they're allowed to do things they shouldn't.

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@Def

"If any piece of software has a bug it's the fault of the developers. The end. You can't push the blame on to hardware manufacturers because it wasn't tested sufficiently, or on users because they're allowed to do things they shouldn't"

Utter bollocks. Any compatibility and stability problems endemic to Linux are overwhelmingly caused by manufacturers not releasing proper (or any!) specs for the hardware, and kernel devs having to take a reverse-engineered "best guess".

Most device drivers for windows are written in-house by the manufacturers themselves and simply cross-signed with a Microsoft certificate. Free software seldom has that luxury.

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Boffin

Read the KB Article linked

That is exactly what the KB article tells you to do, you boot from the install media and modify the registry.

OK The registry is ugly in principle, but in practice for this particular error it's not any harder than with a *nix box.

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"boot from the install media"

What about all the lucky people with an HP or equilvent with only burn them your selft restore DVDs. Same problem they had since XP asked them to instert their CD.

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@bill 36

I've had perfectly ordinary Ubuntu installations self destruct after installing perfectly ordinary automatic updates. Took some serious hacking to sort out, and was way beyond what an ordinary user could be expected to do. Not very impressed.

MS have had, in my personal experience, fewer update problems.

Considering how important the ability to automatically update is to the adoption rates of an operating system, it's amazing how badly they go. An OS with a reliable update mechanism will gain a reputation for continued improvement, and things can only get better. An OS with a reputation for not getting successfully updated will be deeply unpopular because users know they'll get left high and dry. This never used to be a problem in consumer land - bugs meant crashes that customers just fixed by turning off/on. But as functionality increases the power cycle fix becomes less acceptable.

MS will get this one right sooner or later; they have generally done so in the past for mainstream windows. MS also have to get WP7 updates right too. Apple are just b*****ds because they use updates as a mechanism to piss off customers with older kit by leaving bits out for no sound technical reason, and even then they don't always get them right. Android is an update joke.

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Paris Hilton

(OEM) install media?

Whats that then?

<reaches for Lenovo "Recovery Disk">

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Linux

Linux user since Red Hat 4.0

I agree that it's a horses for courses market out there, and for some people, Windows is the Right OS.

Sadly though, Windows being the proprietary soup that it is, it makes it damn near impossible for the end user to debug.

I don't envy Microsoft's position here. They've got literally thousands of reports, all with various device drivers and user applications, many of which were developed in secret, most of which were developed in isolation. All of which can be interacting in strange and unwanted ways.

Yes, the hardware abstraction layer is designed to address some of these needs, but it still makes it one big mess for them to maintain. It's like the numerous medical specialists prescribing various drugs to a patient, leaving them with a cocktail of pills no one is sure about. I'm not surprised that things break.

I guess Microsoft have more power to coerce co-operation with the companies involved, but I dare say it does sap a lot of time and resources simply because the industry are used to behaving like proverbial cats.

The open-source solution to the problem isn't perfect either, and some companies run a mile from it, but I think the more open and collaborative approach is helping in this regard. I haven't had a breakage on a Linux machine that has seen me having to completely reload in a very long time.

Windows on the other hand, I've had installations spontaneously develop faults that have taken days to rectify.

Linux costs me my time to maintain it. Windows seems to cost both my time, and significant money, thus for me it's an easy choice.

I think that Microsoft could do well to look at how things like device drivers and such are managed in BSD and Linux… which in doing so, could make their lives easier, and improve the user experience for everyone. That doesn't mean open-sourcing the Windows OS (although that could have some good benefits), just co-operating more closely with the manufacturers and software companies to better co-ordinate efforts.

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but

I thought *all* restore media was essentially the same image type restore? Cant BARTPE equivalent hack an installer by unpacking?

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WTF?

at Bazza

>MS have had, in my personal experience, fewer update problems.

>MS will get this one right sooner or later; they have generally done so in the past for mainstream windows.

Surely that is a joke

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FAIL

re: running a *nix system

"but at least if you're running a *nix system you can usually boot another instance and hack the config to sort it out."

This is exactly why so few home users have Linux installed. "Hack the config"??? What ordinary user knows what on earth that means? MS screwed up on this one, but don't tell me that hacking the config is an option for 99.99% of users....

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i agree

the choices should not be sooner or later but later and much later with a maybe thrown in for good measure

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Might not directly be their fault

What if the cause turned out to be a popular anti-virus software? How would that be Microsoft's fault?

It's not beyond the realms of possibilities that a 3rd party product could get in the way. That would suggest a lack of real world testing.

It might be interesting to hear of the numbers, a vocal thousand users is nothing out of a user base of millions.

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Linux

No windows live cd to repair is there ?

Re : sgb

Yes all os's have issues sometimes with updates, I have also seen Ubuntu installs no longer able to go into X or even get to grub after an Ubuntu (although the same applies to all distros) update.

The big difference is ..

Linux is always so much easier to fix the issue and get back to your data when you have an unbootable OS - mainly thanks to live cd's - normally you get fix the issue yourself rather than be at the mercy of some joke company to wait for a fix.

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Right tool for the right job

Couldnt agree more.

Although sometimes one has to question if the 'tools' at Microsoft actually test their code before shoving it out the door

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Linux

It's all Linux's fault says Simon ..

> If a user is left powerless by a service pack update, Ubuntu is just going to give them harder problems to solve, sgb

In a working environment, you don't ever-ever install someone elses software patch. If you do patch, it's because something isn't working, and then you only patch that bit and nothing else. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And calling something a service pack still don't make it a bug fix.

> I'm a big fan of choice and having the right tool for the job. Sometimes, and for some people, Windows is the right tool.

Insert marketing slogan for the Microsoft organization. Personally I am always pleasently suprised when my Windows box sucessfully boots up each morning.

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Ubuntu automatic updates broke my computer

> I've had perfectly ordinary Ubuntu installations self destruct after installing perfectly ordinary automatic updates. Took some serious hacking to sort out, and was way beyond what an ordinary user could be expected to do. Not very impressed.

What were you doing running 'automatic updates', why didn't you restore from the nightly backups. You do keep nightly backups don't you?

> Considering how important the ability to automatically update is to the adoption rates of an operating system, it's amazing how badly they go. An OS with a reliable update mechanism will gain a reputation for continued improvement, and things can only get better.

See my other post, you don't ever-ever automatically update a working system. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

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Thumb Down

Think before generalizing.

I had a cheap consumer ASUS (?) multimedia mobo where Ubuntu would just hang at boot. Turns out the problem was caused by a crappy BIOS, probably involving power management/hibernate. Upon flashing the BIOS, the same exact Ubuntu worked just fine.

If a faulty BIOS is not the fault of the hardware / BIOS vendor, whose fault is it, exactly?

p.s. I've been using Linux on and off for about 10 years. Currently using OSX instead, because I really don't care much for having to do admin work on my primary machine. I just want it to work and am willing to lose some freedom in doing so. So it's not like I am a rabid Linux fan.

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FAIL

The Registry..

was a pigs ear of a design decision. A total fail made back in the early 90's that we're still having to suffer to this day.

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@Jean-Luc

Yes, the hardware is a nightmare. I just gave away a new Toshiba which had awful problems. It seemed that there were differences from previous units with the same model number. Really, I couldn't be bothered, and bought a reconditioned Dell, which works ok... except for a microcode update on the wireless (maybe that's why it got sold).

It's a jungle out there.

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Paris Hilton

@bazza

So where is the new IE for Windows XP???

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Anonymous Coward

re: hack the config to sort it out

Thumbs-down presumably posted by people who are crap *nix admins, or who are masters of hacking the Windows Registry offline.

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Happy

not an issue

With Win 7, even without access to the original media, you can burn a recovery DVD from the backup control panel that allows you to boot and diagnose just the same as having the real OS DVD.

Also, failure to have enabled backups, snapshots, etc to be able to recover from a service pack failure is no excuse. Anyone "rebuilding" due to a package failure is simply doing it wrong, unless the disk itself got currupt of failed in the process (unlikely coincidence not typically related to the patching process itself, but a bad disk to start with).

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might not be true anymore

Windows 7 recovery process actually works now. I've had great success with the Windows media in recovery mode, or the restore disk made via the backup app being able to automatically repair windows installations. Its fixed things that under Vista or XP would have required multiple 3rd party tools or a complete restore. Not perfect (and still required FAR more often than reasonable), but it actually works. Comparing that process to Linux recovery, and the knowledge required, toss up on complexity and effort... Apple still has the best recovery process...

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Happy

Surprisingly enough...

I installed it on my machine over the weekend with no problems at all. I almost feel left out (but very glad I have been).

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Surely...

Surely Wsus-ers could just NOT approve the update? Who in their right mind lets all updates auto approve? Especially a service pack!

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Stop

Having some links to some of the fixes might be useful!

>Surely Wsus-ers could just NOT approve the update? Who in their right mind lets all updates >auto approve? Especially a service pack!

Unfortunately something seems to have overridden the controls that allow you to only automatically approve certain updates. Possibly an SBS2008 issue...

----

This fixed the issue for us:

Boot to repair your computer, cancel repair, select Advanced Options and run a command prompt:

just do notepad exe, open reboot.xml

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8'?>

<PendingTransaction Version="3.1">

<POQ>

<DeleteKeyValue path="\Registry\Machine\COMPONENTS" name="PendingRequired"/>

</POQ>

</PendingTransaction>

copy that out and drop it into your pending.xml at the top

reboot and voila!

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Thumb Down

Since when is "many" a number?

I mean, going by the Pratchett rule what you're telling me is that at least 4 people have had this problem.

How about some numbers on how many people/organisations using WSUS did testing before pushing out the fix, and can prove that the test machines were fine with the update while the production machines weren't? Are there "many" of those as well?

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WTF?

Wait, what?

>"I mean, going by the Pratchett rule what you're telling me is that at least 4 people have had this problem."

Huh? Are you implying that there's another number in between "two" and "many"? What is this, bizarro world? My head a'splode!

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Coat

Yes

Not to rail on someone's (hopefully) sarcasm, but:

two - "a couple of"

three(ish) - "a few"

more than three(ish), but less than other "more shocking!" words - "some"

The order of "many," "most," "a lot," "serious number of," etc are up to personal taste.

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The Pratchett Rule...

...comes from a joke in the Discworld novel "Men At Arms" about dumb trolls being unable to count because they would go, "one, two, three, many". The joke is that no one ever considered that "many" can simply mean something else in a base-four counting system, with each "many" adding four to the number (and with "lots" to indicate a many of many--16, by our standards).

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Actually...

It was one two many lots. They couldn't get to three. See Soul Music for further proof.

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Anonymous Coward

It's an old joke (c. 400BC)

The way begets one; one begets two; two begets three; three begets the ... myriad creatures.

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Alert

Yeah AC but.....don't you remember WNT SP6a?

I was an early adopter of SP1 (a couple of days after its release) and I enjoyed the following seamless experience:

1) My work Laptop. SP1 successfully installed via Windows Update after two tries,

2) My fathers Desktop. SP installation failed repeatedly but the system rolled back every time. Mind you, I didn't hit the power button like some end-users might do.

In the end, and after many failed attempts to defeat the evil SP, I took out the Windows 7 upgrade CD (which was fortunately available) and performed an in-situ upgrade of the OS, fully expecting the worst to happen. To my utter amazement, Windows 7 happily upgraded itself (although all subsequent WSUS updates obviously had to be re-applied) and then very happily swallowed SP1 after A SINGLE try. That method was recommended on an MS Blog in response to many desperate inquiries by people like meself.

I am not saying this was fun. And I'm dead certain I'm not the only one who was bitten in the ass by SP1. I am just happy I discovered the good news before approving SP1 distribution on our corporate network's WSUS server (but no one should do that with a major service pack anyway, and yes you don't have to approve every update with WSUS, but you do have to learn how to drive WSUS). So I wouldn't rush to roll out SP1a , I'd wait until MS fixes itsgremlins. Alternatively you can test it in a quiet corner on an unimportant machine if you have an afternoon to spare . And dats da truth, o skeptical ones. The sky does sometimes fall.

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I installed SP1 last week

I think I did anyway. Took about five minutes, a reboot and then it was done. That was using their public update site though.

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Anonymous Coward

Give 'em a break

They've just donated $100,000 to Japan, they don't have any money left for fixing bug laden updates.

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Joke

ReTweet This!

For every RT M$ will donate 1$ to fixing the SP1 problem.

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I had that problem

It seems to be related to language packs. I uninstalled all the language packs, installed SP1, then reinstalled them.

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Paris Hilton

It is the language packs

Ran into this problem with a Win 7 Ultimate install - actually restored from image - tried again. Boom. Did a swarch, and some obscure site mentioned that the errors seemed to be something about memory being exhausted.

Apparently - if I follow this correctly - MS decided that instead of patching the language packs, it would have the SP remove them. For some reason (trying to do them all at once?) the system runs out of memory, and there goes your OS.

Removing all language packs (other than your region default) fixed the issue on my system - though reapplying the language packs I needed was a bit time consuming.

How this bug escaped the lab is baffling - do none of the test systems have language pack installs?

Paris - because she can't figure out how this got out of test phase either...

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Anonymous Coward

one machines good, one bad

my home experience has been mixed.

one machine updated perfectly, no glitches and is fine

the other... refused to complete the update but backed it out and told me there was a problem (but not how to fix it)

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Linux

@Bill 36

I concur - my industry wide personal experience with one particular machine is that I installed 9.04 and after a year or so of updates and the occasional reboot, it no longer bothers me with update notifications! This leads me to believe that I now have the ultimate, final, fully maxed version of Ubuntu which never needs any more development so surely must be classed as The Greatest OS EVER.

Joking aside, I really should upgrade but I need to build up the enthusiasm to find all the drivers and support for the various bits of bobs inside the machine and then fiddle so that it works. Maybe once this darn project delivers I can set a weekend aside...

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Unhappy

One machine fine, one machine bad - c0000034

I've also had a mixed experience over the weekend. I likewise thought it was about time I applied the pack given that I'd heard nothing bad since the release. Nothing to do with WSUS, just manually updating machines at home.

Had to try the hack that was posted on the technet forums to get the machine starting again - fortunately it didn't need a complete re-build - it eventually backed-out the SP1 update.

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FAIL

No Clue Huh?

Looks like the MS software dev outsourcing buddies are not answering their phones...

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Could cause some entertainment...

...once Nokia start installing it on their 'phones.

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Erm...

Windows 7 is not Windows Phone 7, or am I missing something? don't tell me Nokia are doing some sort of phone/tablet based on Windows 7?

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Link

I was greeted with this issue on Friday morning. It took the IT guy several hours (several computers, and several OSes) to fix it using the steps described at:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itproinstall/thread/1c9a7151-b48c-4a98-aae7-a4b82682ea8e#bcabda57-7338-499f-aee2-d708e76df315

Apparently, if you have the admin account turned on, you can get to the recovery console from the diagnostic GUI. I was not so lucky..!

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