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HP begs AMD PC owners to put XP SP3 on ice

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Hewlett-Packard has told customers not to install Windows XP service pack three (SP3) on AMD-based desktops until Microsoft and HP cough fixes to the endless reboot snafu that has wreaked havoc on PCs.

Microsoft confirmed yesterday that it was scurrying to patch the problem after hundreds of angry XP customers first grumbled about the sizeable cock-up last week.

"HP is working diligently with Microsoft on a software update and will be proactively distributing a patch this week through HP Update that will prevent this error from occurring," said the computer giant in a statement. "HP recommends consumers with AMD-based desktops wait until after HP's or Microsoft's updates have been deployed on their systems to install Service Pack 3."

Microsoft’s message board was, within hours of the firm pumping the operating system’s final service pack out to the masses, inundated with complaints about machines being crippled by the endless reboot cock-up.

On Wednesday HP, which is the world’s biggest computer vendor, posted advice on its website about its Pavilion and Compaq Presario desktop PCs:

“After installing the initial release of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP an error condition can occur. The Service Pack 3 update copies an Intel power management driver to the computer that was not on the computer before the update.

“During Windows startup, computers with AMD processors may experience a blue screen error,” it said.

That acknowledgement, which somewhat swerves any admission of guilt, follows Microsoft’s statement earlier this week in which it blamed OEMs for “improperly placing a Windows XP image created for an Intel-based computer onto machines with non-Intel chipsets”.

Notably, Microsoft avoided specifics on which computer manufacturers had been guilty of mistakenly loading the wrong Sysprep image on their machines.

Microsoft also confirmed – much to the chagrin of XP customers who have patiently awaited SP3 after its release was spurned by a Vista-centric Redmond several times – that the endless reboot problem first surfaced way back in 2004 when service pack two landed.

The error, it said, was brought on by an orphaned power management Intel-only driver (intelppm.sys) that remains in the Windows Registry when the wrong image has been loaded onto AMD-based machines.

However, customers have also complained that the glitch has occurred following the install of XP SP3 on PCs from Dell, Gateway and Lenovo, while others have suggested Asus chipsets have also been crippled by the reboot problems.

Unsurprisingly, AMD, HP and Microsoft have all claimed that the issues have been fairly limited to some desktop computers. But, as is often the case with this type of FAIL, no tech vendor has been brave enough to step forward to provide a definitive number of how many PCs have actually been affected by the issue.

HP said it hopes to push out a patch named SP37394 to customers within the next week. No word yet on when y’all can expect to see a fix from Microsoft, however. ®

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