Problems confirmed with Vista Service Pack 2

Dennis o'reilly By Dennis O’Reilly

Some early adopters have encountered installation glitches and software conflicts when attempting to apply Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista.

As with nearly all service packs, there’s no rush to install Vista SP2 — and when you do apply it, be ready with a full system backup, just in case.

In the May 28 Patch Watch column (paid content), Susan Bradley recommended that you hold off on installing Vista SP2. Microsoft hasn’t yet begun to push out the service pack via its Automatic Updates service, but some people who chose to apply SP2 now wish they’d waited. Among them is Ted Myers:
  • “I have a 64-bit Sony Vaio with Vista Home Premium. I have it up-to-date with all patches. (I do have the Genuine tool installed, which has not caused problems to date.) Vista Service Pack 2 was downloaded and installed.

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    “Perhaps the problem was due to an AV program still running — or something else — but after the PC rebooted and began loading replacement files in DOS, it got hung up on 5367 of 81,000+ files. This happened repeatedly. My PC would no longer boot. It attempted the update several times, hanging up on the same file. This was a file involved with AMD security, which is strange since I have an Intel-based system.

    “I was finally able to run a low-level System Restore, and System Restore did indeed do what it was supposed to do. A PC novice would be totally lost going through the hoops I went through to restore my system. Today I will make an up-to-date ghost copy of my hard drive — my backup is a few months old. I run a part-time business on this PC. My backup of my business record was a month old — what a mistake that was! It’s now up-to-date as well.

    “Please inform your subscribers to beware of Vista Service Pack 2. Both of my PCs have Vista — the second is the Ultimate version (desktop). I am holding off on installing Service Pack 2 on both until you folks tell me it’s safe to try again.”
As Susan reminds us repeatedly, you rarely need to hurry to install a service pack, which is usually nothing more than a collection of previous updates. Most importantly, always back up your system before applying a service pack and be ready to roll back your PC if you encounter any post-update problems.

IE 8 causes Microsoft Money print failure

Susan’s column also described some of the glitches occurring with Internet Explorer 8, including conflicts with third-party firewalls and an inability to print information from Web pages. Brad Clarkson discovered a different IE 8 glitch when he attempted to use another Microsoft application:
  • “In addition to breaking Web sites, IE 8 also breaks other Microsoft products. The Home and Business editions of Microsoft Money will no longer print business invoices. There are no error messages. It doesn’t matter what printer is used. The printing process will appear to complete normally. However, the page the printer spits out will be blank.

    “I can confirm the problem exists in the 2007 version [of Microsoft Money]. I understand versions from 2003 to 2007 are affected. After Googling the problem, {I find] the only current fix seems to be to roll back to IE 7.”
If you run into problems with IE 8, Microsoft describes in Knowledge Base article 957700 how to uninstall the new version and reinstall IE 7.

Reader sends kudos for informative newsletter

When the PC industry was young, dozens of print magazines sprang up to help us make sense of these convoluted machines. The medium may have changed, but the goal remains the same, as a reader named Bud points out:
  • “Folks, you’ve outdone yourself again! An excellent and very informative newsletter. Having a snail-mail subscription to a PC magazine that has as part of its marque ‘In Plain English,’ today’s commentaries — as always — have done the same.

    “The [May 28] article about Microsoft’s WGA and the recommendations of downloading and using autoruns.exe helped me to understand the functions and use of that utility, especially since I already had it in my utilities toolbox but didn’t fully understand its use. Today, after reading that article, I ran the software and voilà, it all made sense and was much easier to comprehend and use.

    “The article on the various third-party update software is another great example of teaching all of us ‘non-geek’ PC users. Since I’ve been using and learning about PCs and their good, bad, and ugly qualities, you folks have gone a long way in helping me out of a long-time period of being a novice. Many, many thanks!”
Thank you for reading, Bud. That’s why we’re here.

Readers Ted, Brad, and Bud will each receive a gift certificate for a book, CD, or DVD of their choice for sending tips we printed. Send us your tips via the Windows Secrets contact page.

The Known Issues column brings you readers’ comments on our recent articles. Dennis O’Reilly is technical editor of