Windows 7 SP1 Nightmare

Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Window 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in 2011. At that time, knowing that we would will soon be getting calls to update computers, we decided to give SP1 a spin. We attempted to install SP1 on three computers so far without much luck. First, using automatic update did not work. The download always got stuck at 90 or 91 percent complete.

One computer sat there for a whole day at 91 percent. I opened the SoftwareDistributionDownload folder and noticed multiple sub-folders with anywhere from 384MB to 548MB of content and judging by the time stamp, it looked like multiple iterations of Windows aborting and restarting the SP1 download. I booted into safe mode and cleaned out the download folder and restarted the update with the same result. I then downloaded the 2GB combo file from Microsoft Download Center and tried that with no luck. The thing just sits there at “Installing Service Pack for Microsoft Windows (KB976932). One laptop has fallen victim because it got too hot and I had to turn it off. Long story short, I am re-installing Windows on that laptop.

Windows server 2008 R2 did not fare better as it kept throwing up error 80070057. Turning off WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service did not resolve the 80070057 error. It was the same pattern as the Windows 7 issue – download will go up to 90-91 percent and crap out.

We’ve been waiting for SP1 for almost a year now and it’s a little surprising that there is not much to be happy about with this SP release. Obviously, if you are on a large network, this Service Pack demands thorough testing and cautious release to production. Even small business and home users should hold off on trying to update to this service pack until the kinks are worked out.

And for good measure, keep in mind that the failed or aborted update will completely hose the system restore files. For example, on one of the computers that had the stalled download, going to system restore has this scary message “No restore points have been created on your computer’s system drive”.

One good things I must say is that Microsoft did not make this an automatic installation. Users have to manually select it in Windows update, at least for now. Also, there are lot of stories of successful updates so it could be an issue of slow downloads, time-out etc.



It looks like some antivirus software could be affecting the successful installation of Windows 7 SP1. In my test with three AV software – Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG 2011 Free and Comodo Internet Security, I had to completely remove AVG before I could do anything. The computer was so slow, I almost dashed it against the wall. After uninstalling AVG, it became Hussein Bolt. The one with MSE installed without a hitch – go figure. The computer with Comodo took a while, but it went well also.

On another computer, I kept getting “error 80080100” and had to run repair aka “upgrade” on Windows 7 before I could install service pack 1.