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06.03.2008 08:32

Installing Vista SP1

Well, you know the good old saying: "There's life in the old dog yet"? Let me explain. Yesterday I tried to install Vista SP1 on my notebook and failed miserably. I tried three different ways of getting this installed (using the offline installation file, trying some tips mentioned on winfuture.de, applying a registry key so that my system will get Vista SP1 through windows update) but none of them worked.
At first it looked quite well, but after the second or third reboot (I don't know exactly as I've been away from my laptop while installing it) it reverted all changes and told me that the installation was unsuccessful.

There were different error messages, e.g. 0x800f0826 and later on there was also 0x81000109. Googling for these error messages didn't really help, besides telling me that I should deactivate Anti-Virus software (desperate as I was at this moment, I really did deactivate it...), run a filesystem check, run `sfc /scannow`, etc. Needless to say, that didn't help at all.
Grepping through the CBS.log file generated during the SP1 install didn't help either and so I continued my search on Google by finding out _WHAT_ changes SP1 provides to get an idea about what could cause the problem. After reading quite some articles I found out that the (BCD-like) bootloader gets updated too. Doh!
Although I suppressed my last experience with BCD bootloaders, I guessed that this might be the cause for my new problems too and so I started fixing this old issue.
It took me quite a while to find out what's really wrong with my system but after all, it was very easy to fix.

You remember, `bcdedit` and its evil friends weren't able to find the default BCD store which I created on C:\boot\BCD. So why is this? Using some tools out of the sysinternals package and monitoring a standard `bcdedit` invocation showed that it didn't look for some files on the hard drive before replying with "Can't find BCD store"-like messages.
Long story short: I had the wrong partition marked as active. As this system is configured for triple-booting Linux, Windows XP and Windows Vista, I thought that the Vista partition needs the one to be active but that assumption was simply wrong. After making the XP partition active again (using `diskpart`), `bcdedit` was able to find the default store again and additionally, `msconfig` would let me modify my startup entries again (previously, the "Startup"-tab in `msconfig` was empty). So it seems as if `bcdedit` is looking for the active partition in your current partition table rather than for a specified folder which is nice, BTW, but I wouldn't have expected that from Microsoft ;)
So, should that be the solution for my problem? I tried to install SP1 again and what should I say - it worked perfectly. After about half an hour of automatic reboots and funny numbers counting up to 100% it was alive. So far, I'm quite satisfied with SP1 (copying large amounts of data seems to work better at the first glance) but what really makes me happy is that the problem with the BCD store is now gone and with it, I regained the possibility to hibernate my machine ;)