Windows XP SP3 blame game begins
AMD feels the heat as Microsoft goes AWOL on fix
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 AMD-based machines.
As we reported on Friday, within hours of XP SP3 being released as an automatic update hundreds of complaints flooded into Microsoft’s official Windows forum. Customers grumbled that their computers were suffering spontaneous reboots and system crashes after the service pack installs.
Well-known Windows blogger and ex-Microsoft staffer Jesper Johansson claimed that the problem only affected machines using AMD processors and blamed OEMs – specifically HP and possibly others – for using the same image as the one deployed to Intel-based desktops.
"Because the image for both Intel and AMD is the same all have the intelppm.sys driver installed and running. That driver provides power management on Intel-based computers. On an AMD-based computer, amdk8.sys provides the same functionality," said Johansson.
He reckoned the cock-up prevented computers with SP3 installed rebooting successfully, which in turn meant users couldn't boot into Safe Mode to resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, El Reg reader Gary has suggested that the problem is in fact caused by Microsoft failing to provide the adequate amount of updates in its automatic version of the final service pack for XP.
"I have found that the problem does NOT exist if one downloads the 554MB .ISO file and then burns the .ISO to a CD,” he said. “Following that, installation of Windows XP SP3 has no problems EVEN ON AMD PROCESSOR based machines. If one uses the online update to Windows XP SP3 or the 316MB installation file then problems will arise."
Gary told us that he has already updated four AMD based computers in the past few days and had no problems with the service pack because he used the "make CD from .ISO file" method.
We asked Microsoft if it could shed some light on the problems being widely reported by frustrated XP customers, however it refused to provide any comment outside of this official statement.
“Microsoft is aware of these issues and we are investigating them further. We will keep customers informed with our progress. Any customer who experiences a problem with Windows XP SP3 installation should contact Microsoft Customer Support Services.”
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. ®
I use Linux - I'm typing this on an Ubuntu 7.10 system (test system updated to 8.04 yesterday)... but I still use a Mac and am required to support XP as well.... fortunately, none of my clients have drunk the Vista purple Kool-Aid yet (possibly contributing to Vista's purple screen of death? You be the judge...)
I can tolerate XPSP2; it's the closest Microsoft will ever again get to NT 3.51, which for my money was the best OS they ever shipped. I have not upgraded my XP systems to SP3 yet and have recommended to any who ask that they hold of until this shitstorm dies down... which I suspect will be sometime in the SP5 timeframe, if the company survives that long.
To say that Microsoft's best years are behind them, and receding at high warp, is to state the bluntly obvious. If they continue along the arc (death spiral) that they are presently on, sooner or later businesses will start questioning how they can get work done with systems that they have no realistic hope of supporting adequately, let alone improving. For the Linux folks (or the Mac folks) to say "Leave the Dark Side! Come use what we use!' is less than helpful, because, for better or worse, nothing else out there does what Windows does /IN THE WAY WINDOWS DOES IT/. There are millions of "support" techs, "certified" this-or-that, and managers who have drank the MS Kool-Aid for decades, have built their careers and political fortunes on being reflexively Microsoftian... and the cognitive dissonance between political survival and business necessity is going to make Y2K look like a cakewalk. The lesson we'll be able to look back on all this and understand in ten or 20 years' time is obviously "don't use single-vendor proprietary kit for critical stuff that should be standardised" - but we're VERY early in the "fear, anger, denial, bargaining, acceptance" curve.
The other part of this story, as several people have alluded to, is the rapidly, shockingly deteriorating standard of quality at Microsoft. Microsoft has always had defective software - their "Code Complete" process guarantees it - but the last five years have been stunningly inept even by Microsoft standards. Some people blame it on Microsoft's new-found process religion; others blame it on the quality of the H1-Bs they're bringing over. My strong suspicion is that they're both right - but they're both like the blind men trying to figure out the elephant by touching one small part right in front of them. The only people who can see the whole picture are in Redmond - and they're bailing. It's going to be an interesting next few years...
end of MS
try linux - be free!
My works machine works okay
My SP3 is working though I only risked it on my works machine. So recovery time is in works time not personal time. I won't risk my home kit just yet, though they are all Intel chips. (P4s and a dual core)
I would be more sympathetic if this was a one off, however this is the second time SP3 was pulled and Vista SP1 (or vista in general) can't be blamed on the OEM's. Something as massive as a Service pack that will affect most of the world (lets face it most PC's in the world will be XP by now) should be thoroughly tested on everything. Not like they can't afford the virtual servers and the hardware to do the testing.
M$ caused the issue, so why not blame them. SP2 had all those 3rd parties working fine...
You had Vista SP1 working for 14 months, with no issues. How did you get hold of SP1 that long ago, it's only been around a few months.