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Loopy Vista pre-SP1 update fixed with pre-pre-SP1 update

Known unknowns squared

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Microsoft has today finally begun pumping out a Windows Vista service pack one (SP1) prerequisite update that had been put on ice, following complaints that it threw some computers into endless reboot cycles.

In February the company was forced to suspend automatic distribution of its servicing stack update (SSU) KB937287 ahead of its planned manual release of Vista SP1 for some, but significantly, not all customers.

Now the software giant insists the problem has been fixed. How so? Why, it’s squirted out a pre-pre-SP1 update, of course.

Microsoft yesterday explained the results of its probe into the issue on its product team blog:

“The SSU has special code to check whether there are any pending reboots or other updates to install. If it sees either of these circumstances, it prevents the install from starting.

“During our investigation, we discovered that there were a few unknown and rare events during the middle of the installation of the update that could cause the update to think it needed a reboot to complete the installation. If this happened, the system entered a repeating reboot loop.”

The post somewhat bafflingly continues:

“To address this problem for people who have not already installed the SSU, we are releasing a fix tomorrow which will install prior to the SP1 Servicing Stack Update. This pre-SSU update helps to ensure a smooth install of the SSU by working to prevent the system from rebooting during the SP1 SSU installation.”

So, Microsoft’s fix involves customers having to install a pre-prerequisite SP1 update to solve the mysterious reboot bug.

Meanwhile, in related Vista SP1 news, the company has also reiterated that it remains “on track” to pump out the service pack to the millions of customers worldwide not using the troubled OS in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish languages in mid-April as planned.

In addition the firm said automatic distribution of SP1 in the first five languages will happen in waves because there are simply too many “Windows users, so not everyone will get it on the same day.” A manual version of the service pack appeared last month for some customers.

Crucially, however, Microsoft hasn’t written in blood an actual date when the auto SP1 update will be spat out to the masses. The clock is ticking – mid-April is but a week away. ®

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