I recently had to repair my installation of Windows XP Home for reasons I won’t get into here. Unfortunately, my installation disc that I used for the repair was from Service Pack 1, which meant I would have to reinstall Service Packs 2 & 3. I had no idea that this meant an odyssey through Windows Purgatory.
I first tried going through Windows Update’s site, and it was able to download the files, and start the Update program. However, it froze when it got to one of the Pre-Installation Processes called “Creating Cabinets”. I let the computer sit there for 4 hours while I left and did some errands, but it was stuck at this same step the entire time.
Hmm. OK. Whatever. Restart time.
Launched Explorer, Windows Update, stuck at Creating Cabinets again.
OK, so I searched various iterations and combinations of “Windows XP Service Pack 2 installation problems” in Windows Support forum and Google. There were many options bandied about, including making sure the computer was virus-free and the disk didn’t have any bad sectors. I decided to run Avira Anti-Virus full scan, then Trend Micro’s House Call, then Ad-Aware, then Windows’ built-in disk check thing. Some spyware from Ad-Aware, but otherwise no problems.
Decided to try again. I disabled as many start-up programs as I could, disabled the Anti-Virus (yes I did this last time as well), Explorer, Windows Update, stuck at Creating Cabinets again.
ARGH. Another option that was given was to download the SP2 installer program directly (it was under the heading “Service Pack 2 For IT Professionals” or something like that). I’d just like to mention here how crap the Livesearch engine is that Microsoft uses as the search feature for their support forums. It gives such horribly irrelevant links and the ranking seems almost random, whereas Google tended to have useful info for most of its first page, even though it searches the whole net, not just Microsoft’s support site! Swallow your pride and do a deal with Google already, Microsoft! Jesus, what a mess.
Downloaded the installer program directly, tried the install, and lo and behold, again stuck at Creating Cabinets.
Well fuck me, Mr. Tambourine Man. I poked around some more and discovered that some people had luck with installing the service pack under Safe Mode. OK.
Restarted in Safe Mode, tried the SP2 Installer Program, and weeeeeee, stuck at “Checking Disk Space” or something like that. Note that when I say stuck, it stays on that same step for at least an hour with no discernible hard drive activity, no hourglass that pops up, and no bar movement.
Back to the Support site. OK, a solution to a tangential problem seems to be doing command line hijinx to erase all trace of SP2 installation, in case my aborted installs had somehow screwed it up for the next install attempt. This involved using the Installation Disc again, but oh well, decided to try it.
With a supposedly clean, free-of-SP2-traces OS, I tried the Safe Mode/SP2 Installer Program combo again, but yet again was stymied by the “Checking Disk Space” step. At this point, I wished that Bill Gates was in my room so that I could stab him with dull pencils for a few hours.
After reading a bunch of random support articles that all suggested doing things I’d already tried, I finally had the idea of searching the Support site for where it’d gotten stuck originally “Creating Cabinets”. Of course, Microsoft’s site has nothing. I tried searching Google, and an interesting little tidbit came up on some random Xoxide forum:
I followed the advice. And 12+ hours of frustration (+ countless more of the steps that I just left the computer on over night) finally led to Service Pack 2 being on my computer. I did some research on fixccs.exe. Apparently, this little program actually comes with the SP2 install and is used to clear some shit up right before the install. The only problem is that under some circumstances (nobody knows exactly which), it will use up 100% of the resources allocated to the install program and just prevent further progress.
In true Pit fashion: FUCK YOU, MICROSOFT!! Not only does your own stupid install suite create this stupid problem (i.e. it’s not a conflict with some third-party software, which I would be a LOT more tolerant of), but you also don’t seem to have any documentation of this on your support site, which, by the way, is inferior to Google for finding relevant support for your own damned operating system! If it weren’t for all this Windows-only software I have, I would seriously consider getting a Mac for my next computer…