Unable to upgrade to SP2 or SP3

By strategic
Jul 17, 2009
  1. H there,
    Here is a new one, which I hope to solve (this is for my personal computer, which I never posted about before).
    I have tried upgrading my Windows XP SP1, with service pack 2, and after all the time downloading and installing, I was forced to remove it. Towards the end of the install (this also happened when attempting to install SP3 also-same thing), the window would display 'cleanup up files from install' for over 15 minutes, then finally restart the computer. After restart, a screen comes up asking me to boot in safe mode, safe mode w/networking, normally, last known good menu, etc., etc. When booting in safe mode, it would show I had SP2 (or SP3) but I could not run windows normally with it. The biggest problem (my fault) I didn't install it right away ( I purchased it just when SP2 was originally released), because it had bugs that neede to be worked out, and even Microsoft said to stay away from it temporarily. Otherwise I could have simply picked up the computer, take it back to the store (which I will never buy another computer again for their lack of support on this) and throw it at them. I've heard before something about enabling or disabling DEP (data execution policy) but Windows XP doesn't have that option, XP Pro does.

    Does anyone know of a solution, would the DEP thing work, in which case all I need to do is install XP Pro to do that, or would there be a different problem altogether?

    Computer is a Cicero, AMD Athlon 64 processor 3000+ 2.00GHz 448MB RAM.
    VIA/S3G UniChromell Graphics, Internal DAC, 64MB.

    (May not be the greatest, but for word processing and internet usage, it's far more than enough).
  2. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,020

    Am I the only one with this issue?
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    SP2 is not required any more, to my best knowledge, so concentrate your efforts on installing SP3. There is a mass of precautionary procedures to prepare for this update - see here and here and if you have certain AMD-based HP pc, you also need an update from HP first, as it imagines itself to be an intel-powered PC.

    With a really early version of XP such as you start from, you would probably be well advised to obtain (if possible) an actual full upgrade CD for SP3. This was (maybe still is) obtainable from MS for the cost of shipping.
  4. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,020

    Thanks for your reply, but as I mentioned, SP3 was no different, it still wouldn't work. I even tried bypassing SP2 and went straight to SP3 with the same result (it would sit for a while with a message that it was cleaning install files) then when I restarted, the Black screen came up to choose between different modes.
    Does anyone know if this could be bypassed by installing Windows XP Pro (in which I would be able to enable/disable DEP? (Data Execution Prevention):confused:
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    An odd (and frustrating) problem for sure. A few thoughts

    1) At this point with all your problems and being that you're still stuck at XP SP1 I would recommend your best approach would be to do a complete disk reformat and reinstall. (Not sure if you were considering that as well or just trying to upgrade SP levels)

    2) Personally, i'm also a big proponent of Ghost backups. IMHO Ghost backup/recovery software Is the best $50 USD investment towards data backup/recovery and can be priceless (e.g. in a situation as yours doing a ghost image backup of your drive first before a reinstall guarantees you can always get back to your current drive image if need be) Personally, i use Acronis True Image 2009

    3) Also, before doing a reinstall see this post on other things (in addition to Ghost backups) to do first to prepare for it

    4) Don't know that DEP is or is not related to your problem. But DEP can be enforced
    > Strictly at the hardware level
    > AND/OR by Windows itself. But, as i understand it, Windows DEP enforcement didn't come about till XP SP2! (See A detailed description of the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) feature in Windows XP Service Pack 2)
  6. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,020

    Thank you LookinAround, so far with the SP1 issue, the only problem I'm faced with is the inability to upgrade my Java in Firefox (which would also apply to IE, which I originally stopped using because I was stuck on Version 6, but now even with version 8, I still think Firefox is far better). All my software works, backups is the least of my worries (something you probably don't hear too often) because I am constantly backing up between CD and even use my Jumpdrive as a quick temporary backup. For the price, I think I might go with a ghost backup anyway ( if it's what I think it is). So, DEP is out of the question ( I thought it was an XP PRO thing (that's what I get for using both O/S's. If starting fresh will work, thats what I'll do, just can't do it immediately. Would it be better to bypass the original O/S restore disk supplied with the computer and install straight from the XP cd?
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    On the one hand, one take certainly take the view that if SP1 seems to run and do what you want, you can leave it as is.

    On the other hand, one can also consider
    >> Many updates or new products require XP SP2 or later
    >> This makes it inherently more difficult (perhaps needless) to try and figure out computer problems when they are happening while you're still running on an SP1 base (and many problems can be resolved by simply running on SP3)

    So, all that said, i think is good to get your computer working right on SP3 but certainly not an ASAP issue if it's otherwise working "as is" now

    As for basic file/folder backups vs. Ghost backups

    It's great! you have your data backups working and all saved now. And that might be sufficient and all you need. I, myself, like the advantage of Ghost backups because
    >> It not only gives me my file/folder data backups but
    >> It also gives me the ability to recover my SYSTEM vs. just recovering my DATA

    Just one example: Even after reformatting, if you simply wanted to recover to your working system just as it is now for any reason (maybe you forgot driver backup or need to find a product activation key you forgot or want to see a system tweak setting or maybe you just want to know you can always fallback to your current Windows system and disk setup as it is now any time future) you know you have the option available.

    I've done full ghost backup restores. And it's as simple as a few mouse clicks, going to grab some food and coming back to find my disk image restored, system rebooted and my old computer system's work environment running again just as it was when i ran the ghost backup. It's proven very helpful advantage sometimes :)
  8. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,020

    Thank you very much again LookinAround, so it looks like I will be making a purchase in the very near future and get the ball rolling, but before I do any of that, I will definitely read the posts that you sent me links for. :D
  9. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    I'm wondering if you actually have enough room left on your HDD for the SP2/SP3 update files which can easily exceed 1.5Gb before you start. You might also take the option which will be offered to backup all the existing files so you can revert to SP1 - and that is another massive HDD requirement.

    I would strongly recommend before you do any other work, run chkdsk /f in safe mode to ensure the drive is functioning ok, remove everything possible of the crud that will have accoumulated over the years - IE cache, temporary files, unused applications etc, etc. Then perform a full defragment, and try SP3 only.

    The major precaution when running the SP update is stop any anti-virus, firewall first (not connected to the internet at the time, of course).

    The update SP3 CD is massive, covering everything. Just to download is to rely on software to pre-identify what you need, and from SP1 that may be far from reliable, Use the CD if you possibly can - at the very least it avoids all that space being gobbled up just for the update files, which are never needed again.....

    Finally, Lookinaround is absolutely right about the value of an imaging solution - Ghost and Acronis are the leading ones. I would never dream of running a PC without one.
  10. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,020

    Room on my HDD is never an issue, I have a 150GB drive, and 100GB free, as for reverting back to SP1, that is pretty much set in your restore settings, if system restore is enabled, you just do a system restore, all I did was uninstall SP2/3 and it was fine after that.
  11. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    Ok, so you can install SP3 and after it finished clean up, only safe mode works. Known problem on some AMD processors with an OEM image originally for an intel CPU might be you. same sort of thing. same again, more detail and a test before you start !! THIS IS A VERY COMPLETE SUMMARY OF THE PROBLEM.

    You originally thought it was DEP and this is a similar thing.
  12. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    On the chance that any content here might help with your current problem, here's a prep I prepared before SP2 came out:

    Preparing the system for a major update:

    • 1. A system should be clean! Run AV and spyware/adware program, maybe even an online scan for each.
      2. Read as much as you can about what to check after a significant D/L like this. It was clearly stated that it would cause some changes in settings-so that would be the best to check right away.
      3. Create your own System Restore Point before ANY update from MS. It is not uncommon for an update to cause some system problem.
      4. Know what the update will bring to your system and what that means. In the case of SP2, the Windows firewall would be on by default. IF you have another firewall, make the decision right away which you want to run. Likely best choice will be other than Windows firewall as it only looks at incoming traffic, not outgoing.
      5. If you have one of the Security Suites that are so common now, know what it has and does in order to prevent a conflict. Rule of Thumb: only 1 firewall. Rule of Thumb: only 1 AV program. Rule of Thumb: at least two spyware/adware programs.
      6. Disabling the Windows firewall requires: bringing up the Security Center and clicking to stop the firewall and making sure the 'Windows Firewall' Service is disabled and stopped.

    This is very basic, but it can make the difference between whether an update is successful or not.
  13. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,020

    Thanks for the tip Bobbye :)
    I'm aware of some of the stuff, but often disregard i because I assume everything will be ok in the end.
    What I probably should be saying is "I've been lucky so far".
  14. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    Not good to "assume."
  15. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,020

    Well, I started to look into a 'ghost backup' system, and the only thing I come up with is 'Norton Ghost'. What are your thoughts on a piggyback storage unit with this software, or do you recommend something different? Usually for backup, I've only used the Windows backup utility and select certain directories.
    Thanks for your feedback :)
  16. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

  17. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    i'll second gbhall's recommendation. :grinthumbI use Acronis True Image 2009 myself. As an Acronis user, i'll pass along a tip/fyi i've learned that might be helpful to any new Acronis users:

    By default, Acronis only backs up and images allocated sectors on your hard drive. By default it also excludes allocated sector data you don't really need backed up or for recovery (e.g. your pagefile)

    This approach improves backup speed and helps reduce the size of the Acronis backup archive (above and beyond the compression Acronis uses to normally reduce the archive filesize). This approach is just fine (and preferred for your normal backups) by default

    BUT for cases where you're concerned about disk filesystem corruption (i.e. you may not know if data you want to recover/preserve might actually be on unallocated sectors) then you should use the Acronis sector-by-sector backup option which will image every sector on your HD (expect this option to take much longer to run and it creates a much larger backup archive) but gives you the advantage (when you think you need it) of recovering a disk image complete with all allocated and unallocated sectors

    /* EDIT */
    One more tip: If you buy the online (vs. the boxed version) the very first thing you should do: Is create your Acronis Rescue CD!
  18. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,020

    Alright then, that settles it, I'll go for the 'Acronis True Image Home 2009' and most likely a "Western Digital 320GB My Book Essential Edition USB 2.0 External Hard Drive"

    Thank you very much for your assistance / opinions :D
  19. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    My additional 2cents as to the external HD

    i personally find that WD USB external drives seem to fail lots more than other drives. I've actually been buying Buffalo Technology external drives last several years for myself and family. Never had a single problem with any of them. And you'll probably find a Buffalo 1TB drive will cost you the same as the Western Digital 320GB!!
  20. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,020

    Thanks for letting me know... I never heard of Buffalo, and I really appreciate the input :)
  21. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Yes, and you might even find that it has a WD drive in it. :)
  22. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,020

    Ooh!:suspiciou What are you saying?
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,455   +1,758

    I'm sort of lost here as to the base issue. IMHO an external HDD is more of a luxury than a necessity. If I want to do a back of a large amount of data, I just crank the side off the machine and "hot wire" any old (SATA) HDD to one of the SATA ports.

    I do have multiple machines, so I use one to back up the other. A luxury to be sure.

    Windows installs do wear out, and if I had one that was giving me this much trouble, I'd bite the bullet and just reformat it.

    Also, there's still some question in my mind whether malware is preventing the SP2 & 3 update packages from being installed.

    All things considered, backing up 50GB of data isn't a really big project, 12 DVD blanks. They're a really good thing to have around, whether you have an imaging program or not.

    I don't think that "Buffalo" is a drive manufacturer, I think they just make the boxes. Not sure. It wouldn't make a lot of sense, (to me anyway), not to offer HDDs in other configurations if I had the capability to manufacture them.

    BTW, how much space does your 150GB HDD show as it's total capacity? (after formatting of course)
  24. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Verrrryyy interesting. And you're right. LOL I just took a closer look at one of my Buffalo's

    But that fact would still be consistent with that i seem to see the problems occur with WD externals (but not really so with their internal drives). Which IMHO would imply it's WD's external enclosures that suck.
  25. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    That wouldn't surprise me at all. Of course, without a large enough sample, it's say that with much meaning.

    There are only a few different drive manufacturers and Buffalo isn't one of them, so naturally you'll find non-Buffalo drives in their enclosures.

    Most of these 'middle-man' vendors like Buffalo don't have any particular brand loyalty, so you'll find all sorts of brands scattered throughout their models. Buffalo, for example, might buy a 10,000 unit lot of WD drives and get a better deal from Samsung a month or two down the road and buy 10,000 of those the next time around. You never know what brand you're going to get (How exciting!) :)
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