I decided to install Vista Service Pace 2.  The install was proceeding smoothly until my machine rebooted and came up with a black screen with scrolling information.  It then appeared to get stuck trying do some work on the registry:  0xc01a001d 17532/46599 (\Registry\Machine\Components\DerivedData...).  The install instructions said not to reboot your computer during the upgrade process.  So, I left the machine alone and came back awhile later, figuring the install should be finished by then.  Wrong!  The machine was dead.  Cycled power and the boot process came up with a screen advising me to repair my system.  I ignore it and try to boot up my PC.  It gets stuck on the same black screen described above.

 I reboot again, this time I take the machine’s advice and I begin the Startup Repair process.  About 90 minutes later, the repair process is still running.  Mind you, there is no diagnostic information to let you know how far along you are in the repair process!  After checking the web and reading about the same problem, I decide to cancel the repair.  I then hit the Cancel button in Startup Repair dialog box.  I get the following message: “The current repair operation cannot be cancelled.  Unbelievable!

I cycle power again, and when rebooting, I press on the F8 key in order to start up Vista in Safe Mode.  I want to boot up in Safe Mode, so I can do a System Restore; however, the machine will not boot up in Safe Mode.  It got stuck on loading drivers.  The last driver loaded was \Windows\system32\drivers\crcdisk.sys.

I cycle power again and press the F8 button.  One of the options the boot screen has is a “Repair Your Computer” option.  I select it and I come to the System Recovery Tools screen.  One of the tools is a System Restore.  Yeah!  I start the restore and select my restore point.  (The Vista Service Pack 2 install was smart enough to create a restore point before proceeding with the install.)  About 60 minutes later the System Restore is stuck on “Finalizing File Restore….”  There is no hard disk drive activity.  Again, absolutely no diagnostic information to let you know how far along you are in the Finalizing File Restore process, or how much longer it will take, or what it is doing.

So let us recap what has transpired:

1)      The Vista Service Pack 2 install failed

2)      The Startup Repair process failed

3)      Trying to boot in Safe Mode failed

4)      The System Restore failed (except for hardware errors, the System Restore should be bullet proof!)

5)      I spent 8 hours trying to fix

Fortunately, after much searching, I came across a fix.  Here is the link: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/forums/en-US/itprovistasp/thread/4491fe25-be44-430e-a384-fb58c5da5ad0/  It is a long thread, but towards the end Arun (go to entry Thursday, May 21, 2009, Mike_jane user name) provides the fix.  It is a “manual” restore done by getting to a command prompt and copying files from the C:\windows\system32\config\Regback directory to the C:\windows\system32\config directory.  

I cycle power, press the F8 button, and select the “Repair Your Computer” option.  I select the “Command Prompt” option and the command window appears.

Here are the commands from the article to enter.  They are copied from the SpecialJ entry, Saturday, July 25 2009.

type in;
cd /d C:\Windows\System32 \Config

this should now show


then type the following, hitting enter after every line

cd windows\system32\config
ren default default.old
ren sam sam.old
ren security security.old
ren software software.old
ren system system.old
cd regback
copy default c:\windows\system32\config
copy sam c:\windows\system32\config
copy security c:\windows\system32\config
copy software c:\windows\system32\config
copy system c:\windows\system32\config

Note: I did the above steps a little differently.  I renamed the files in the c:\windows\system32\config directory to *.old20090804.  I then copied the *.old entries from the Regback directory into the c:\windows\system32\config directory because their timestamps were just before the Service Pack Install was attempted.  I then removed the .old extension from those files in the c:\windows\system32\config directory.

I then exited the command window and shutdown the computer.  I pressed the power button to restart my PC.  The PC tried to install the Service Pack upgrade again, but failed.  I received the message "Service Pack did not install. Reverting the changes."   The PC automatically rebooted again, and tried to install the Service Pack again, but quickly rebooted, and I was finally back to my login prompt.  The whole process took about 30 minutes.  Many thanks to Arun and SpecialJ!

Enough with Vista Service Pack 2!  I will wait for Windows 7.

If you do try to upgrade to Vista Service Pack 2, I recommend taking the following steps beforehand:

1)      Backup your disk drive

2)      If you have a registry cleaner/repair tool, run it.

3)      Turn off your anti-virus software


I WILL look at Apple machines before my next computer purchase!