Windows XP SP2: install with care

Monday, 26 July 2004, 10:54 AM EST

The real surprise with Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 isn't potential compatibility issues, but the mayhem that can occur when SP2 is downloaded onto a system.

CRN Test Center engineers evaluated a release candidate two (RC2) version of SP2, and upon completion of the install on three out of five systems, the machines blue-screened. A message stated that "winserv" was missing. The blue screen occurred on both Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel platforms, and all systems were running Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 1 installed. Every possible avenue to get back into Windows failed.

To remedy the problem, CRN Test Center engineers reached out to Microsoft. The company provided instructions on how to work around the blue screen and uninstall SP2, but it didn't answer questions on what causes the blue screen or the specific systems that may be affected. Microsoft recommended using the Windows XP recovery console to boot the system and then accessing the "%windir%\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst" folder.

By Vincent A. Randazzese and Frank J. Ohlhorst at Security Pipeline.

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