Windows Vista – Update Failure

I dual boot Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) with Windows Vista Home Premium which came along with my laptop. Until today, there was no problem with Windows due to installing third party software or Windows Updates. Well, the problems like sluggishness on a Core 2 Duo T5300 with 1 GB ram, slow startup, shutdown, hard disk working all the time, resolution being set to 1024 X 768 on waking up from Stand By were there right from day one.

Yesterday, four updates showed up. One for ATI PCI something which I was not interested in since I dont have an ATI card, one update for Windows Email, Media Center each and another one named, Windows Vista Update which said it increased system reliability.

I tried to updated yesterday. Once all the updates were downloaded and installed, the computer rebooted twice and I logged in. I was thinking that the updates were successful. I could even see that it said so in the Updater window. A minute later it again said updates were available. That is when I realised that the updates failed. I gave another try, but in vain.

Today I tried to update again. I included the ATI update as well even though it was an Optional update. After the update was complete, the system rebooted twice and then showed me a screen which was 800 x 600 instead of 1280 X 800. I logged in and checked if I could change the resolution but I could not. Again all the other three updates have failed. For a moment I thought I had done something stupid by including the ATI update.

But, I calmed down and did a System Restore hoping that everything would be back to normal. I should say I was not confident at all. The nightmare of installing Windows was right in front of my eyes. I have installed Windows versions 98/ME/2000/XP innumerable times. So I know what it means and how much time it would take, even though I have not tried installing Vista.

Things did go well. At least the System Restore worked. And I was able to set the right resolution. Well, it was my fault to select that update. I don’t know how it went for the others. If everything went alright then may be this is an isolated problem. If it has been occurring to other people as well then that raises several questions.

  • Why publish an update that fails? Was it really tested?
  • Why does an update that does not work be online for two days?
  • Is someone at MS aware that their update failed?

I am not sure if the Windows Update program calls home if a particular update failed. Does anyone have any idea?

I then singled out the Windows Media Center Cumulative update and installed it. No hitches there. It went fine. No reboot was required. As I was typing this, I updated Ubuntu 7.10. It installed several (atleast 15 or more) updates and none failed. Nor was a reboot required. Since I typed this post on Ubuntu I don’t have those crazy KB numbers handy. I will post an update.

Already, I am using Vista only for gaming, and I have started thinking that if I should wipe it out and install XP.

Nov 17, 2007: Update:

The updates are

  • Updates for Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter [November 2007] (KB905866)
  • Update for Windows Vista (KB941649)
  • Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista (KB941229)
  • ATI Technologies Inc – Other Hardware – ATI PCI Express (3GIO) Filter Driver

Nov 19, 2007: Update:

I tried to install the updates one by one today. I could see only the first two of them from the above list. Looks like the other two got installed somehow during the prior update that failed. I wonder how :O

Well, I was able to install the first one Update for Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter [November 2007] (KB905866) successfully.

I tried the next one. After download – install – reboot – configuring updates – reboot – please wait – login events,  Update for Windows Vista (KB941649) failed 😦

I am not trying this for another two days.


14 responses to “Windows Vista – Update Failure

  1. I have the same issue(s) you are having, but with a little more luck.

    Only one update is failing, and that is the Media Center (KB941229). I have tried a standalone update (going to the KB article, downloading from there) and no such luck (Why would it work? They both still use Windows Update, I know).

    Hopefully something good will come along from your article as “KB941229 fails” on Google returns this as the second result.

    I’ll let you know if anything good comes from my playing around with it.

  2. Hi Ryan,
    Thanks for your comment. I have not tried to go to the KB article and download the update. Never struck me in the first place. Thanks for reminding me about it.
    Sure, please do let me know if you can install this update, not that I am eager to get it into my system, but its always nice to have the OS up-to-date. Meanwhile, I would also try and post updates here.


  3. Alrighty, my research today returned nothing.

    I must say though, you have inspired me to install Kubuntu on my Inspiron 6400/E1505 (I know, you have one too, haha).

    I need to partition my hard disk (80gb) for Vista Home Premium and Kubuntu without loss of data if at all possible. Any recommendations?

    I’ve got a 500gb external I can use if I must, I’d just rather not. Please let me know if you’re around. I just installed the bluetooth driver for Home Premium (Vista crashed once and I forgot to reinstall it). We’ll see if that does anything for Media Center (Probably totally unrelated, but worth a shot eh?).

  4. Sorry, ignore my previous post on partitioning. I forgot about Windows Computer Management.

  5. @Ryan, yes I have an Inspiron 6400/E1505 🙂
    Do let me know how your Kubuntu installation goes and things such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth work out.

    And, I don’t recommend using an external drive cause the OS always expects it to be there. Pretty bad but thats how OS’ work.


  6. I am having the same problem with Update for Windows Vista (KB941649). I have tried all kinds of ways to install, but all have failed. I actually when through the same as you at first. Many updates to install but they kept failing. Then I did them one at at time until the only one left was KB941649. It just will not install.

  7. @Mike – yes, that update just would not install. I gave up trying to install it. Haven’t updated the post above. Thanks for your comment.

  8. noob programers @ microsoft

  9. I too have an inspiron (1520) and this cumulative upgrade for Media Center keeps failing, which means every time I shut down it does a full restart after trying to load the update. In the end I right-clicked on the update and hit “Hide Update”. Seems to ignore it for now. Hopefully one day the fault will be published – I wonder if it’s Dell related?

  10. @Jarviser, I am not sure if this is a Dell problem. I managed to sneak in the updates one by one.

    However, the updates they published during the second week of Jan don’t install too. I am not going to install them one by one this time as its too much work for me and the ridiculous thing is I need to reboot after every update has been installed.

  11. I too have a 1505, 1520, and 1720 Dell. This update has failed on all of them. I’ve searched everywhere for a solution in vain… M$ doesn’t even recognize it’s own error #!

    I found on both the 1505 and 1520 the culprit was actually the update to the current version of the Dell Support Center (all 3 came preloaded with a version that didn’t work with Vists… go figure.)

    When I rolled those two systems back to before that update the Media Center Update suceeded. Then I ran the Support Center update.

    Fore armed with this info I tackled the brand new 1720… and no luck. ;( I booted this puppy up and ONLY allow windows updates to run and stopped all others. Running clean like that I was sure this update wouldn’t fail, but alas, it did.

    So, I don’t know if this info is particularly helpful to you, but I thought I’d pass it along.

    Now onward to the web, probably in vain, to seek a solution for the 1720. Dell and M$ have been no help. Both just simply say ignore and hide the update and pehaps SP1 will fix it… gack!

  12. @JC, yes it is unfortunate that the updates dont install and MS did nothing about it. The updates which I have mentioned in this post are not the only ones that failed to install but several others that came later. I am waiting for SP1. Let me see if this fixes the issue or brings in more bugs.

    And, I have stopped updating windows almost two months back. Its such a waste of time. Can’t afford to loose time rebooting once for every update that is getting installed but finally the update goes down the drain


  13. I bought a dell inspiron 530 just a year ago.This came with Vista and due to no fault of mine an update failed and the computer kept rebooting and I just could’nt log on. Eventuaty, I had to reinstal Windows losing my years files and since it was still under waranty Dell refused to do anything about it saying software failure was’nt their problem. My reinstalled Windows now everyday has new updates cropping up and a quarter of them failing to install.
    Could anyone tell me what I can do ?

    • @Kris – It is not wise to have a year’s files on your computer without a back up. Several of Windows updates do fail on installation. The only solution I could think of is, when the updates appear, wait for a week or so, search the blogs for any reported harm caused by the updates and then apply it. Searching with the KB ID will help.

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