Vista Service Pack did not install. Times 2.

One of the two notebooks (dual core, vista home premium pre-installed) I use prompted that Vista SP1 was available as an automatic update. I figured why not, since this is the official release from 2 days ago. Speedy download. Installation goes pretty swiftly. Step 1, step 2 and step 3: 100%. Sweet. Reboot. And then this:

vista service pack did not install

Excuse me? It just did 100% on all three steps, taking its sweet little time overal, and then it says it couldn’t do it? So what exactly happened during all the installation steps? If it checks something that critical at the very end, how about doing that little hardware and software check (or whatever it is) at the very beginning of the update process? And, where can I trace the cause of the problem? I did not see any error information? Nor suggestions?

Fortunately this botched update did not ruin the machine. Everything still looks the same and essential applications work. Small sigh of relief. And, now of course Vista SP1 is ready to be installed again. Funny.

On a second Vista notebook the SP so far refuses to show up. Haven’t tried any other machines yet, but something tells me I will exercise some patience. There are plenty of similar stories on the web already too.

Anyhow, you have to love Microsoft, right?

Update: I am too curious what the failure rate will be so I am already trying it on another machine. This one is a year younger, pretty much ‘stock’ (or factory default) and faster. We’ll see.

Update 2: Absolutely fabulous. 25 minutes into the installation. Step 2 is completed. System reboots. A blue screen of death. My system is unable to start. Windows Startup Repair can’t repair the problem. System restore … attempting …

Update 3: Fortunately I landed back on my desktop after some very long 15 minutes.

My conclusion, with two failures and especially after that Blue Screen Of Death, is that this Service Pack 1 for Vista is not ready for prime time. Two solid and fast machines, less than a year old, from mainstream manufacturers and neither can be updated?

I recommend others to just wait. Maybe once you hear on the web from somebody who has the same machine and updated his/her’s fine; you can be confident it will work. To me it is not worth the 40 min hassle nor risking data and possibly having to reinstall the machine. I have read some reports where it took several hours to both install and revert SP1. I can’t imagine sitting through that worrying if the machine will boot.


  1. I saw this article, entitled Get Rid of the Junk Left Over after You Install Vista SP1. Wonder if it refers to the entire PC?…

  2. Yeah I sat through 4 hours of BS to get the did not install msg.
    I had problems before i started with the windows updater not being able to download it so I went with the standalone and Failed miserabley. On the good side now that my computer reverted back to original settings it is running better than before I started this whole ordeal imagine that!!!

  3. LOL @ Bruce.

    Thanks for the tip.

    It was actually the standalone 447MB Vista SP1 that failed miserably with the blue screen of death. I may try a couple other machines this weekend, right now I feel it is just not worth the hassle and risk.

    I will be contacting Acer & Toshiba as to why the update may have failed, though I doubt that will amount to anything.

  4. Wow…Microsoft software not working correctly? Who would’ve thunk?

  5. Well, I’ve now tried to install SP1 three times. Twice with Windows Update and once with the stand alone version. The last time was after doing all the things recommended at the Microsoft web page I was directed to after the first failure. Still no luck. I’ve got about 4 hours into this so far. Getting pretty disgusted.

  6. Ok success kinda…. mmm not really !!!NOT RECOMENDED!!! To install SP1 completely disable any virus programs. I had an expired Norton360 program that keep me from installing. I completely removed and all Symantec related programs, and SUCCESS! but at serious cost if you are running a Realtek integrated sound card “EXPECT FAILURE WITH NO RESURECTION”
    I have tried every method to fix this problem 18 strait hours in one sitting and 3 whole days wasted, I uninstalled SP1 and still no fix. So in my case I’m buying a Vista ready Creative PCI SoundCard and will not be installing SP1 untill required if ever. I hope this helps anyone with like problems.

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    I think it is truly sad and shameful that Windows Vista SP 1 is not automatically compatible with a) the most common integrated hardware chipsets and drivers on the market for Intel & Realtek and b) major antivirus distributions.

    I don’t envy Microsoft because there are a ton of variables with of the vast number of machines and softwares out there, as we all know, but you would think that Microsoft could have approached this a little bit by including a pre-installation check and pre-installation notes that amount to something more than making sure you have the AC plugged into your notebook.

    In all I have been at this for about 24 hours and there don’t seem to be many guaranteed solutions out there. The web is starting to fill up with thousands of people having problems.

    If I can’t update two A-brand mainstream machines without any add-ons out of three machines I tried it on … I really think SP1 was launched prematurely.

    I consider it a healthy habit to wait a few days to apply OS X updates, so I will make that a few months to apply Vista updates, and I will not even attempt to install SP1 on critical machines.

  8. I had exactly the same problem. Rolled back automatically but no explanation – now pestering me to install it again! Only ms…

  9. Ok I woke up monday at around 4:30am feeling sick after a whole weekend messing with my computer, and to my disbelief my comp was in the middle of installing windows service pack without my knowledge but it contiued and installed successfully. Because my onboard card had already failed I did not uninstall it. Later that day my new memory and creative sound card came in. The creative audigy se 7.1 card installed with no problems. since everything is working right and I have been running sp1 I have noticed that less memory is being used at idle and less during application running. also as others have mentioned file moving and copy speeds are also faster. The memory that was ordered was pc3200 while i need pc5300 so it has to be returned. Overall SP1 has now made my Vista work more stable. I hope that the hardware and driver issuses that you are having will be resolved good luck and godspeed!!!

  10. Still no word from Acer or Toshiba as to when the drivers might be updated to allow upgrading to Vista SP1.

    The one machine that did take appears to have a networking issue. It doesn’t remember its ethernet connection and the only way it would rejoin the network is via a wireless adapter. Odd. Nothing changed on the network setup (routers, switches, wiring, …)

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