Vista SP1 updates send some PCs into endless reboot

Last week's updates prompt support complaints; problem first reported in December

Microsoft was aware of the problem by late Friday, when someone identified as Darrell Gorter, who claimed to be with the company, asked users to send him log files "to determine a cause for the issue." On Monday, however, a company spokeswoman had little more to offer. "We are currently looking into this but have no additional information to share at this time," she said. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing our users."

Messages left on support newsgroups, in fact, show that the problem was first reported by users in December when Microsoft offered a Vista SP1 release candidate to the general public, but required them to download and install the prerequisite updates manually, one after the other. The complaint volume picked up last month when Microsoft opened a second, more finished, build to all comers.

Some users remained frantic because they did not have a Vista install or recovery disc; computer makers often forgo such niceties, instead putting the recovery files on the PC's hard drive. Others took Microsoft to the woodshed.

"What blows me away is that Microsoft has not posted anything on the site yet, at least nothing I could find," said redwinger in a message to the newsgroup on Sunday. "They should at least say, 'We know we have an issue and we are looking into it.' I bought the laptop with the OS loaded and I don't have the recovery disk. How screwed am I?"

Although it's impossible to gauge the extent of the prerequisite reboot problem from the support forums, the traffic on the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) newsgroup is substantial: the thread to which Melk, Gorter and phazedoubt posted included nearly 80 messages by midday Sunday, and had been viewed more than 23,000 times.

Two weeks ago, Microsoft announced it had completed SP1, and was sending it to resellers for installation on new computers, and to duplication to prep retail copies. At the same time, however, it said it would not make it available to most users until mid-March, and would not deliver it automatically via Windows Update until April.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?