Vista SP1 updates send some PCs into endless reboot

Microsoft is investigating reports that updates it began feeding to Windows Vista users last week have crippled some machines.

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Microsoft is investigating reports that updates it began feeding to Windows Vista users last week have crippled some machines.

Last Tuesday, Microsoft started sending Vista users two final pre-requisite updates that are required before Windows Vista Service Pack 1 can be installed in March. The updates to the operating system's install components were delivered via Windows Updates, which automatically downloaded and installed them on the majority of Vista machines.

Some users quickly started complaining.

The most common complaint was that the final update hung while displaying the message "Configuring Updates Step 3 of 3 -- 0% Complete," which was followed by a reboot of the PC. This was followed by another reboot, and another. "[It] reboots ad infinitum," said Frank Melk on the Microsoft support newsgroup. A smaller number reported a different problem: After the update, their computer refused to boot normally.

Trying to boot into Safe Mode did no good, users said; the reboot loop cranked up then as well. "I am unsure as to what to do, because entering Safe Mode gives the same screen," Melk said. "Furthermore, I have no restore points saved, so going back to a known previous good config is no good either."

Melk's mention of restore points referred to Windows Vista's System Restore, a tool that periodically takes a "snapshot" of the PC. Also called restore points, they can be called up to return the machine to its condition at the time the snapshot was taken.

Some users who posted messages to the same newsgroup said that they had managed to regain control of the computer by booting from their Vista install DVD and selecting the "Restore from a previous restore point" option.

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