back to article MS pulls plugs on XP SP3 mass launch

Microsoft has pulled the general release of Windows XP service pack three (SP3) at the eleventh hour, blaming a “compatibility issue” for the cock-up. The software giant said late yesterday it was suspending mass download of the long-awaited service pack while it investigates the problem between its point-of-sale app – Dynamics …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How big?

    This sounds like a CD sized download, some of us still have machines on dial up!

  2. Eddie Priest

    Vista SP1 still available ?

    If the RMS incompatability exists in both XP SP3 and Vista SP1 does that not imply that SP1 for Vista should be withdrawn until such times as a similar filter is in place ?


  3. dervheid
    Gates Horns

    XP-SP 3.1 then?

    Since they've already released this, apparently flawed (what a fucking surprise that is - NOT) SP.

    Like I said, I'll wait a while (a bloody long while I think) before I let it near ANY of my gear!

    Dear Microstuffed, can you maybe, just MAYBE, do just ONE THING RIGHT for a change?


    Thought not.


  4. Ernest
    Thumb Down

    eye not on ball

    More computability issues. when will they get it right?

    i still cannot install vista SP1!!!! x64 version from windows update, if i do it manually via the 700mb+ dl then i get constant BSOD.

  5. Dave Edge

    Will they fix the SP3 GDI32.dll constant BSOD and reboot "compatibility issue"?

    Apparently this issue has been around since the RC stage and hasn't been fixed.

    We installed SP3 to two XP machines this morning to test it ended up with two machines constantly rebooting. We had to resort to the suggested fix here:

  6. Test Man

    Not an issue

    Dunno why people seem to think it's an issue. Service packs can sometimes break compatibility in products, as is evident by previous service packs for 2000 and XP. What the big surprise here is that Microsoft have not published it on the date it said it would, probably cos one of its own products is affected.

    There's no need for a fix to the service pack anyway, they'll simply patch the affected product (the same way as what is happening with the rollout of Vista SP1), which is what has happened in the past with 3rd party products.

  7. Robb Dunphy

    JonB and dialup

    Still on dialup? Well that's unfortunate (some areas in the world cannot get anything but it still) but in all fairness to MS should they tailor their service packs to the minority on dialup, or the majority of us who are not?

    Then again they may offer it as a CD as they did with SP2, which would be nice. I remember PC magazines including the CD in a few issues. Perhaps that'd be a good solution? Or get a friend to download the standalone one and burn it to a CD for you.

  8. Paul Smith

    Undocumented API's

    My goodness! Surely Microsoft developers would never use undocumented APIs when they wrote Dynamics Retail Management System, after all, how else would the SP break existing code, unless of course the SP went and changed undocumented API's.

    Mines the one thats the same as everybody elses.

  9. Sodoshi

    Its still downloadable by direct link...

  10. Simon
    Black Helicopters


    Yesterday for no reason my Windows XP machine did a reboot. I was wondering if something was being updated/screwed up.

    Then someone in the next office his machine suddenly went down, turns out they were running Linux so it wasnt connected.

    But I did wonder for just a sec if SP3 was deploying itself like a virus and proceeding to bring down machines.

    (Wipes the sweat from underneath the tin foil hat)

  11. Niall Campbell
    Gates Halo

    What's the problem?

    Who uses Vista anyway?

  12. Simon

    @Robb Dunphy

    "MS should they tailor their service packs to the minority on dialup"

    Hey, what about us chaps still using floppy disks to get stuff onto our computers?

    286 Logo on back.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: XP-SP 3.1 then?

    If they follow the Win2K naming convention it would be SP3 Update Rollup 1.

    I don't think it's as bad as people are making up though - they've distributed it to OEMs, and I would expect the hit rate of machines being used with Dynamics Retail Management System is rather low. The general release would be problematic and so they've stopped that - we can't ask for any more.

    In terms of fixing the previous versions, that would be a small hot-fix through Windows Update. And they'll apply this to SP3 in advance of the mass roll-out.

    Chill pills all round are in order I think

  14. Geoff Mackenzie

    @Eddie Priest

    No problem with Vista SP1; nobody's running Vista anyway... :)

    OK, tha'ts not entirely fair, but safe to say nobody's running it on Retail Management (or other important) systems.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    "Retail Management System?"

    Aww... does that mean it doesn't play nice with "Windows Genuine (dis)Advantage?"

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Don't let mere facts get in the way of a good rant!

    The fact that there was a problem with the "Dynamics Retail Management System" that wasn't picked up in the betas and release candidates of SP3 presumably means that none of the testers actually had this obscure package on their machines. So the somewhat negative comments of DervHeid (for example) are seriously misplaced for the other 99+% of us.

    So far I've installed SP3 on half a dozen PCs and laptops of various ages and specification, taking from about 20 minute to nearly an hour, entirely error-free.

    And to those still on dialup - wait for the SP3 CD to be available from Microsoft and/or one of the monthly computer mags: WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-ENU.exe is 331,805,736 bytes in size, or a bit more than 316 MB.

    Anonymous coward with the Kevlar stab-proof flak jacket...

  17. Ian Critchley

    Not that big

    The full download is 316mb, but I'd guess that theWU download size will depend on installed components. SP3 installed flawlessly on my old XP machine.

  18. Kevin Abbott
    Gates Halo

    Update roll-up

    Does anyone know what catagory SP3 will be for WSUS?

    Remember the IE7 rubbish where it was catagorised as a "Critical Update" and forced its self on the corporate network if you had WSUS set-up as default?

    Anyway, I don't allow any automatic updating from WSUS server until its gone through the test network.

  19. David Ralston

    Sounds to me like an antitrust issue..

    Lesse our application doesn't work .. let's delay the service pack so we don't look bad and make it work.


    If that was the case Oracle would never allow a SP to go out there door!

  20. Anonymous Coward

    ballmer mis-spoke, you know it makes sense...

    XP has not had a service life extension, MS PR says so e.g. at [1]

    MS pr-droids went into damage limitation mode after Ballmer had a temporary blip of actually admitting what the rest of the world can generally see with their very own eyes.

    Incidentally, how can a piece of software called Dynamics Retail Management System (DRM system) ever hope to catch on outside MS?


  21. Andy Fox

    If it ain't broke, don't fit it!

    What's wrong with XP SP2 anyway? Why the rush to install the latest, greatest, whiter than white SP?

    Better still, do yourself a favour, save money and agro, and install Linux!

  22. Mark C

    No problem for me ...

    I'm still deciding whether I really need to upgrade from OS/2 2.1 to Warp.

    Yes - that's it. The anorak with the pockets full of floppy disks

  23. dervheid

    @ A.C Re;XP-SP3.1

    If I didn't know any better, I'd SWEAR you could be a Microstuffed Employee!

    "Rollup! Rollup! Fresh cock-ups a-plenty! Get 'em while there 'ot!"

  24. JeffyPooh

    Stuck with dial-up? Double check EV-DO etc.

    For those with no wired (such as DSL or Cable) or well-known wireless (WiMax) high speed Internet option available in their neighbourhood, double check with your local mobe telecos (all of them) to see if any of them offer any EV-DO or HSPDA or whatever 3G mobile broadband options with a suitable tethered-friendly unlimited data plan that is actually more-or-less affordable. Just because these systems are sort-of intended for mobile and portable applications, doesn't prevent you from using it your house. Google EV-DO in NS for my experiences in this matter.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    So RMS doesn't like the new MS service pack ?

    Big surprise...

  26. thomas k.

    @ Niall Campbell

    Hey! I'm using Vista Ultimate on my new laptop. Seems to work ok.

    When I was setting it up, there was a cartload of updates on WU which I promptly installed - can't think there'd be much more included in the SP, but downloaded it to burn to CD anyway, will try it out tonight.

  27. George Johnson

    Vista / SP3 / 8.04 / Leopard / Sol10 / 11g - No ones safe!

    Yeah well I upgraded Ubuntu to 8.04 and I have so many niggles, I have reverted back to the previous 7.10 to get stability back, so you Linux freaks and STFU! I thought I would try my luck with SP3 and it worked for a few hours with a VM I had XP running in, then it started playing up a little bit, silly things falling over that worked OK before, nothing major.

    I have to agree with others, what is the mad rush to get the latest greatest patches? OK you have to if you have critical problems or some exiting required feature is being implemented. Every O/S regardless of hardware, always has problems with the initial release. 12 years of working with a well known RDBMS vendor that starts with O, has taught me the hard way to never, ever recomend anyone to go with the RC1 of any software!

  28. David

    @ GDI32.dll

    Abso-frickin-lutely. It's crazy that this problem is STILL in SP3.

    Anyone who isn't a little tech savvy wouldn't know how to fix it. I even had to download some XP images from MSDN as my laptop only comes with "restore disks" and not a proper copy of XP SP2. How was I supposed to even get to the repair console with them?

  29. Anonymous Coward


    which bit of 'I TOLD YOU SO' didn't someone understand

    hope you all had fun there with the BSOD and going back to Dos'g for a living.

    I wonder how many "mickey mouse certified" MCSE engineers(hahahahahaha, yeah right engineers, lol) managed(had no option but..) to get someone else to fix it for them ;p

    mines the one ............. with the CDR XP OEM install CD in the pocket...


  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Andy Fox

    "Better still, do yourself a favour, save money and agro, and install Linux!"

    why the fuck would i want to install linux, I cant install Photoshop on linux can I....


  31. Mudslinger
    Thumb Up

    @ Ernest

    Just do what I did:

    Fire up Safari in developer mode, switch to emulate IE7 and download onto a Mac. Copy to USB thumbdrive and Robert is your mother's sister's husband.

  32. Bill Gould

    No plans

    From the whitepapers it doesn't look like XPSP3 actually adds value or fixes anything so I'll be giving it a skip anyway.

    As a bit of a snide aside to those on dial-up: Why bother patching anyway? You can barely get online to warrant it. The year is 2008. Please come into the present from the 90's.

    As another aside to you Linux freaks: I use my main machine for games. When you can run new games without using a 3rd party program to emulate what I have natively, we can speak again. For now, your mom's calling you. Back into your basement with your Cheetos.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strange... XP SP3 works fine here...

    ... I've been beta testing it and it's just hunkydory. Now to slipstream it onto a disk that includes SP2, and Bob's my uncle.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    OMG thank *** for that

    I've been off "ill" watching the snooker and suddenly realised that about a quadzillion PCs would get this via WSUS (auto-approve everything except drivers) so this comes as quite a relief. I think I'll open another beer and carry on watching the snooker.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    @No plans

    "Back into your basement with your Cheetos?" What kind of people (being paid far more than you, no doubt) do you think wrote the games you're playing on the XP-PC platform? I'm a gamer as well, but there are OTHER things that people occasionally use a computer for, as well.

  36. James Pickett

    @Robb Dunphy

    "minority on dialup"

    Depends where you're looking, but it's still about 50/50 in the UK. Just because *you've* no longer got it...

  37. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    @If it ain't broke, don't fit it!

    Actually, there a quite a number of problems with SP2. In particular, the fact that it takes about four hours to do a clean install of XP because of the 280MB+ of updates to download and install afterwards. Sure, there's update CDs available, but out of the three different kits I've tried, not one catches all of the updates.

    But irrespective of that issue, I have found my machine to be quite a bit more responsive, to boot up a little quicker, and it no longer has sleep/wake issues (well, as frequently.) I've been using SP3 since beta stages and have been very pleased with it, except that it breaks my fax (to be fair, each SP beta has broken my fax.) So, I anxiously await the final release and will be preparing many slip-stream CDs.

    Paris, for anxiously awaiting the final release.

  38. Anon. Y. Mouse

    Photoshop? Who uses that anymore?

    Everyone I know who works with digital images professionally uses the GIMP or GIMPshop. Small up-front learning curve and much lower cost to implement - Also available for Win, Lin, and OSeX machines, I have one of each and am very happy to be rid of my Adobe albatross. Now I just need to get my wife transferred away from Win and we'll finally be golden.

    My game box will probably get the service pack because two of my games aren't WINE compatible yet.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Nope, MS free on the employment record, but do work as a lead developer and know how it's impossible to test every scenario and guarantee 100% coverage. Especially in this case with a little-used product like RMS, as pointed out by other posters

  40. Ross Fleming
    Thumb Up

    RE: Strange... XP SP3 works fine here...

    "Now to slipstream it onto a disk that includes SP2, and Bob's my uncle"

    Good news, as I understand it you can slipstream SP3 to nearly every XP install media (RTM, SP1 and SP2). It's just putting SP3 onto an existing installation that needs SP1 (minimal) or SP2 (recommended) already existing.

    Send my regards to Uncle Bob.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    @ "Photoshop? Who uses that anymore?"

    I use it myself most days of the week "professionally"... everyone in my department who needs a professional image editor uses Photoshop.

    Most people who I know who need a image editor professionally uses Photoshop. Even one person who left one company that replaced the windows/Photoshop boxes with Linux/gimp boxes without any consultation. Total cost to the company ended up higher than the upgrade to CS3 would have cost. When you consider the loss of productivity due to learning a new application, take into account the added cost of providing training to users that have only ever used windows boxes. Then think about the cost of formatting the PC's putting windows back on and upgrading to Photoshop CS3 anyway...

    Linux is for computer users with too much time on there hands, and don’t actually do anything but get things to work on the Linux box. It pisses me off every time anyone makes a comment regarding Microsoft, that the people who believe they are the "enlightend ones", cant help themselves in telling people to dump microsoft operating systems.

    So what if MS have delayed the rollout of SP3... Good! I would sooner wait a week or so for the OS update than install one that may or may not cause an issue. But it is really no reason to start the rebellion, wipe hdd's en-mass and break out the ubuntu disks.... then wipe the HDD again because there are no drivers for my scanner/webcam/wireless adaptor and various other bits of kit.... if that was the case, I may as well install Vista !!!

  42. Anonymous Coward

    @Andy Fox

    Yes install Linux! And instead of rebooting every 2hours, you just need to kill the Window server every 20 minutes because of the hobbiests couldn't be bothered to test it with your hardware.

  43. Pierre

    On top of being unstable, ...

    ... overexpensive, unmaintainable and very limitedly usable, latest windows versions/patches are now LESS straightforward and user-friendly to install than real OSes. Good. I wonder how many petabytes this wastes on webfora, "tech" websites, and the like. And, of course, in terms of bandwith it must be humongous. Stop blaming P2P for intertubes congestions, tweak winboxes connexions!

    AARRRHH Avast, thou wintards!

  44. Alex

    ZX81 SP1

    My ZX81 runs great.. I don't need service packs or anything. I don't need a 56K modem. 3D monster maze runs fine and does not crash....

  45. Nathan Meyer

    MSFT System Patch Death Spiral?

    The System Patch Death Spiral is often experienced in the applications world. (Particularly after repeated bouts of "systems integration" with various "turnkey solutions".) Briefly, it is the condition where your complex and taped-together implementation reaches the point where every fix engenders 1+nx problems; where n is a number greater than zero and x is a positive multiplier varying on just how absurd your assemblage of disparate parts is. Given that MSFT have implemented a system that doesn't know an app from an OS, and much of that implementation is bits screwed together like a poorly integrated set of applications; they may well have begun their downward course.

  46. Steven Shuster


    ""MS should they tailor their service packs to the minority on dialup"

    Hey, what about us chaps still using floppy disks to get stuff onto our computers?

    286 Logo on back."

    Well then, you have nothing to worry about, there haven't been any new service packs for Windows 3.1 for years!

    Oops, didn't wear a coat. I'm outta here.

  47. Colin Wilson

    Solution to broken software / security updates

    Microsoft should be forced to send out an update CD free of charge to every single registered user worldwide whenever they release a security patch.

    I wonder how long they'd take to sort out their quality control then ?

  48. TimM
    Paris Hilton

    Re: ZX81 SP1

    Actually 3D Monster Maze probably would crash the ZX81 as it required the 16K ram pack... the infamous wobbly ram pack where a slight movement of the machine would cause it to crash :-)

    Still a cracking game though. For all it's basic graphics, I can still remember the shivers I'd get when turning a corner and there was T-Rex stomping towards me!

    "@ "Photoshop? Who uses that anymore?" - well said! As much as I like Linux for tinkering and use on my server which has simple hardware, it always has been and still is a non-starter for the desktop, and more so laptop. At least unless you buy dedicated hardware known to work... oh, but that's a Mac ;-)

    Anyway. I think The Reg should just create an automatic "just install Linux" comment generator and suitable retort every time the keyword 'Microsoft' is used in an article and save everyone else the bother of doing it over and over again.

    Paris, because she doesn't crash... oh wait.

  49. C
    Paris Hilton

    RE: Hmmmmmmm......

    Haven't you heard? MCSE stands for Must Call Someone Else .. been babysitting 'em for years.

    Some buffoon said: [Yes install Linux! And instead of rebooting every 2hours, you just need to kill the Window server every 20 minutes because of the hobbiests couldn't be bothered to test it with your hardware.]

    Hobbyists? You mean M$ programmers? They would be the ones that don't test anything. Which explains why my Automatic Updates Services are DISABLED, because otherwise it still downloads crap when you tell it not to!! And yes I do mean crap !!

    Every Linux server/box I've setup is more stable than the foundations that the M$ campus is built on. And easier to work with to boot!

    On the subject of Vista SP1 / XP SP3 .. I thought Linux was supposed to be the Windows killer !!

    PH because I think she helped write the latest service packs @ MS.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Who'd be dumb enough to trust your POS to M$ anyway

    Dynamics Retail Management System.....who in their right mind would be foolish enough to use such an application from a company as useless and arogant as M$ anyway...

    how many users is the bug actually likely to affect....the M$ gift shop in Seattle

  51. PaulD

    SP blocker tools available for all OS's

    probably already posted

  52. Patrick
    Gates Horns

    Never been a screw up this big on the Mac

    Never been a screw up this big on the Mac, now only time will tell if Apple crocks up as badly as this with their OS patches.

    Oddly enough installed SP3 on my PC and it is in the endless reboot/crash cycle.. now after many wasted hours of my life dedicated to Microsoft's crock up. I got it to the point where it cannot even find the program to check the disk during crash recovery =P

    Further Oddly enough I installed it on Parallels VM on an actual Mac, and it has installed, crocked up once, rebooted and Parallels recovered it and it is working fine with no errors on the Mac =)

    Go figure!

  53. Anonymous Coward

    As far as..

    ..I can Vista, my XPerience with MS has been quite penguin!!

  54. Trix


    "Everyone I know who works with digital images professionally uses the GIMP or GIMPshop"

    That's utter cobblers. Well, maybe your wee mates do, but 99.999% of professional design studios and graphics processing outfits use Photoshop.

    I'm ok with using GIMP for my own stuff, but it has to be said the interface is still fairly dire. If Adobe made a Linux version of Photoshop, it would certainly help the OS a lot. The command-line graphics tools available in Linux are excellent, so the combination would be a killer.

    If I was a Shuttleworth, I'd be putting a few bucks into developing a Photoshop killer, but to claim that the GIMP is there now is totally disingenuous. It has great functionality, but the interface (Gimpshop helps... if you want to use an older version) and lack of add-ons (not everyone in the world is a coder, and especially not graphic designers) cripple it.

  55. james dobson

    @Photoshop comment

    If you don't know what your talking about i.e. didn't do a quick search on google then STFU. I use both windows/linux and have a love/hate relationship with both, but at least I would check what I say before saying something doesn't work at all...

    I suspect people here need to actually need to look at both before making dumb comments, personally I love the penguin but even I know that until other 'dumb' companies start making native apps we will be stuck in wintard land and not freetard land.

  56. Simon

    Re: ZX81 SP1

    3D monster maze, excellent game. A couple of years ago i finally found the exit to the maze (On emulation of course) it only took me 25 years+ of trying.

    Sticky tape: The ZX81 Service Pack fix for RAM pack wobble...

  57. alistair millington
    Paris Hilton

    Another day, another M$ problem...

    Gotta love M$ testing departments... They certainly haven't done their job.... again

    So far this year we have a broken home server, broken vista and it's service pack and now a broken XP service pack. So what do they spend their 20+ billion fortune on then? Apart from buying the standards and bribing manufacturers of small form factor UMPC's...


    LOL, sending a CD out would definitely get them to book up their ideas

    Paris because I bet she could test better that M$.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @Mac comment

    Mac hasnt screw up like this because they generally take ages to patch / dont patch the problems.

    Lets hope they improve on this sometime soon, i like my mac.

    Evil Jobs cos apple are beginning to be worse than MS in some ways....

  59. Slaine
    Thumb Up

    something smells fischy

    Weird, really weird... there was me reading this article and I came across a bit that seems to claim that a MS software product (albeit a patch for something that was released before it had been adequately beta tested) has had it's release "delayed" so they can "fix" it? Is this right?

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Full steam ahead eveyone

    Nice to see Captain Ballmer going full steam ahead to grab the Blue Ribbon trophy on the unwieldy M$ Titanic through an ice field. It's just a shame there are not enough lifeboats for everyone to leave the sinking ship when they do eventually get fatally holed below the waterline on the Yahoo iceberg.

    M$ - a company which hasn't got a clue what it wants to be, well God maybe ?

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What everyone should do.

    If you want it done right do it yourself!

    BSD & Slack for all!!!

  62. Anonymous Coward

    BSD != Linux

    @ TimM:

    Never thought I'd be posting OS pedantry here but - OS X is NOT a Linux distro! It's a BSD derivative with a Mach kernel, and a certified UNIX.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    SP3 Activation

    Well, SP3 breaks all the old activation disablers that persons such as myself use because we can't be arsed to talk to someone in India and read an ungodly long number to them just so we can use the software we legally purchased!

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