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  1. #1
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    Question Puzzled by sfc /scannow request to insert SP3 CD

    I have just reformatted the hard drive in my HP Pavilion PC, XP Media Center edition. I reinstalled the operating system (which included SP2 but not SP3). Then I manually installed SP3, followed by all the Windows Updates. Then I ran into some crashing problems (screen freezes for no apparent reason; no particular pattern of when it happens; when it freezes, it will not respond to Ctrl-Alt-Delete, so I have to hold in the power button to turn it off).

    So I decided to run the "sfc /scannow" utility to see if I had some corrupt system files. After initiating that command, a few seconds later I get the message, "Insert your Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 CD now." Naturally, I don't have such a CD. But what puzzles me is this: Why doesn't the utility simply go to the Microsoft website and access the SP3 files it needs instead of insisting that a CD be inserted?

    I've read many, many posts in other forums from people who got the same message I did and had no CD to insert.

    I suppose I could download SP3 and burn it onto a CD, but what a waste of time. There must be a good reason that the utility insists on a CD. I'd be grateful if someone could explain it to me. Thanks.

    Russ

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Maybe something from SP3 got corrupted.

    Why not try to uninstall SP3, then reboot. Then run all Windows XP updates except SP3, then reboot. Then download and install SP3.

    It won't take that long to download SP3, unless you have a really slow internet connection. And that's a safer and faster way to install it, in my opinion.

  3. #3
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    Actually I've already uninstalled SP3 and reinstalled. I also discovered that Windows Update will not run if you don't have SP3 installed. So you're forced to install that first, and it has to be installed manually.

    But thanks for the thought.

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Kidd View Post
    Actually I've already uninstalled SP3 and reinstalled. I also discovered that Windows Update will not run if you don't have SP3 installed. So you're forced to install that first, and it has to be installed manually.

    But thanks for the thought.
    You're right about the other updates not installing if SP3 isn't on there. I had forgotten about that.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    That's no surprise. Most of the time when "sfc /scannow" is invoked in windows XP you'll be prompted
    for the installation disk. I highly recommend you "slipstream" your XP installation disk to make it full SP3.

    A backup regimen that includes disk imaging will be your best guarantor against such failures in the future.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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    You can try the procedure at How to Repair the SFC in Windows XP to fix SFC.

    Joe

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    Clint:

    Thanks for the slipstream suggestion. As you mentioned, creating a disk image will save a lot of time the next time Windows has to be reinstalled. I'm intending to do the image as soon as I can get my operating system stable and get rid of the crashes.

    Joe:

    Forgive me, but I don't understand what that procedure does. I'm not at my computer, so I can't go through the steps to see what the current value of SourcePath is. Could you explain a little about why that procedure is necessary? Thanks.

    I appreciate all the suggestions, but I'm still wondering why the sfc /scannow command insists that you insert an SP3 CD rather than simply accessing the files from Microsoft's website. Does Microsoft assume you might not have a legal copy of Windows? It seems to me that if you have the Microsoft Genuine Advantage update on your computer (which I do, proving that I have a legal copy of Windows), sfc /scannow should be smart enough to detect that and then go to Microsoft's website for whatever replacement files it needs instead of demanding that I have a physical CD with SP3 on it. (If you have detected some irritation in my words, you're absolutely right.)

  8. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Naturally, I don't have such a CD. But what puzzles me is this: Why doesn't the utility simply go to the Microsoft website and access the SP3 files it needs instead of insisting that a CD be inserted?

    The "sfc /scannow" command, if it cannot find what it needs in the root directory of the OS on your hard drive, will
    request the install disk. It has NEVER to my knowledge EVER attempted to go online and access a Microsoft website.

    SFC is intended to repair an issue with a potentially corrupt file in the OS. It does so by pulling what it needs from the
    original install disk. But that original install disk needs to be of the same service pack that is currently installed.


    So you'll either need to uninstall SP3, or slipstream your XP SP2 disk to an XP SP3 disk.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Even despite doing the above, there is no guarantee that the sfc command will actually repair anything at all.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Kidd View Post
    Forgive me, but I don't understand what that procedure does. I'm not at my computer, so I can't go through the steps to see what the current value of SourcePath is. Could you explain a little about why that procedure is necessary? Thanks.
    SFC attempts to use a local install cache of files to validate your system files. Sometimes, when SP3 is installed the source of the local cache is not updated correctly. The procedure sets the value in your registry for SFC to be able to find the local install cache. As Clint said, SFC will never attempt to contact Microsoft for replacement. When you run SFC there is a problem and you may not be able to access the internet. Also, Microsoft would only have the most current files and your system may not be at the same levels. There is no way Microsoft could have every combination of files available to match all the installations of a particular OS.

    Joe

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    Thanks, Clint and Joe. You've been very helpful and I hope to try what you've told me in the next few days. If I have any trouble, you may be hearing from me again!

    Russ

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    Star Lounger Wiley's Avatar
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    sfc /scannow is operating in a DOS mode, therefore it can not access the web.
    when it asks for a disk it also gives the option to browse to a location, it's looking for your I386 folder and your updates.
    give it the path to your I386 folder. when you updated to SP3 that's the files it upgraded.

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    You'll need to open regedit and navigate to -
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\Setup

    Double click on the "ServicePackSourcePath" key and change the value data to read -
    %windir%\ServicePackFiles

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    Well, I just downloaded the SP3 file, burned it to a CD, and inserted the CD when sfc /scannow asked for it. A message appeared telling me it was the wrong disk. And it's actually right, because the original message had asked for the "Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 CD," and the version I burned to CD is just the plain version, not the pro version.

    So I've been searching for SP3 for XP Pro and it appears that it's not free. I'm getting pretty confused by all of this. Can someone tell me where I can download SP3 for XP Pro without paying for it?

  18. #14
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    You can't download a Windows XP pro with SP3 legally without paying for it.
    But you can/should be able to slipstream your original disk to include SP3.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

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    Last night I did a complete reformat of my hard drive for the third time in the past couple of weeks. I wanted to find out once and for all why I was getting so many crashes. The DVDs I have of the XP Media Center operating system are two "Recovery Disks" I created using the instructions that came with my computer when I bought it. The disks include SP2 but not SP3.

    After the installation was done, I just let the computer sit awhile to see if it would crash. After about an hour, I checked it and it was frozen and would not respond to Ctrl-Alt-Delete. So I turned it off by holding in the power button. It had been set to go into Standby mode after 25 minutes, so I thought maybe that had caused it. So I set it to never go into Standby and let it sit again. A half hour later it was frozen again.

    I've checked the hard drive using SpinRite from grc.com and there are no errors.

    I have a feeling this is a software problem because I never had crashing problems before I began the reformats. Is it worth buying another copy of XP? I realize Microsoft will end support for XP in April 2014, but I had just added 4G of RAM before I was forced to reformat. (I would not have added the RAM had I known I'd be having these reformatting issues.) The expanded RAM is for an audio recording program I use called Audacity, so I may continue to use this PC just for that (as a non-Internet machine) even after Microsoft stops supporting XP.

    Do you think it's worth buying another copy of XP? Or are there other diagnostics I should run? Are there websites that have diagnostic programs to check hardware?

    I'd appreciate any advice you have.

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