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Windows XP SP3 blame game begins

AMD feels the heat as Microsoft goes AWOL on fix

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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. ®

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