Saturday, June 06, 2009

Vista Service Pack Installation Problems

I recently installed Windows Vista SP2, and like Vista SP1, I seemed to have problems getting it installed properly. It would spend a huge amount of time installing itself, reboot, and then fail during its third stage, and then spend a lot of time reverting the install. Windows Update would show Code 80004005 in the error details field for why the update failed.

Fortunately, after browsing the web, I found a forum post (I no longer remember where it is), where people mentioned that the problem comes up with dual-boot machines. My machine has both Linux and Windows installed, and Vista apparently fails its TPM security checks or something like that if the GRUB boot manager starts up in-between the computer starting and Vista starting. Fortunately, I installed GRUB on my Linux partition instead of my MBR, so I could simply change my active/boot partition to boot directly into Windows. Afterwards, the service pack could apply itself, and then I could boot on a Linux live CD to reset the active/boot partition back to the Linux partition.

Personally, I find this sort of annoying. It would be nice if Windows wouldn't die on dual-boot machines or give users a prompt to allow then to ignore TPM problems during the boot process or, at the very least, give more useful error messages.