A Strange Way To Finally Get SP3 To Install

by Finally An SP3 User
(New Zealand)

Task Manager Showing SVCHOST

Task Manager Showing SVCHOST

Task Manager Showing SVCHOST
Keyboard Windows Key

At the VistaHeads Forum (Opens New Window) one of the users suggests something that worked for me and might work for you as well!

I have no idea how it worked for me or them. So try it at your own risk.

Remember if SP3 fails to install, it simply restores your PC to the earlier setting before you executed the SP3 installation file again.

Here are the key posts summarised from the forum:

First: The Post Detailing The Problem
XP SP3 Hanging On Install


Each time I try tried to install SP3 it hangs for hours on the final part of the process:

"Running Processes After Installation"


I have followed the pre-installation checklists and covered all of the associated Microsoft documents before doing the install.

I have lots of spare RAM and a big hard disk drive so so space is not a problem. I am running a AMD 5600+ 64 dual core processor.

I have disabled my anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. However, Windows XP Service Pack 3 still does not want to install.

To stop the install I have to use the Task Manager to kill it. Fortunately my computer rolls back to Service Pack 2 on restart.

I have trawled through many forums trying to find the answer, but to no avail, can anyone help please?

Second: The Strange Solution


I was having the same problem. I opened Task Manager and started ending processes until the "running processes after installation" progress bar starting moving forward.

I sorted the processes by name and the one that seemed to do the trick was the last "svchost.exe" in the list (there were multiple copies running). The installation finished shortly thereafter.

Third: Useful Advice Applying The Solution


Shutdown various SVCHOST processes and the installation carries on (after about 2 hours of being stuck at the same point).

However, ending these processes will cause your computer to attempt to put itself into a timed shutdown.

If/When that happens:

Hit your Windows Key + R, or go to Start > Run, and type in "shutdown -a" (without the quotes) and hit Enter/OK

This will prevent your PC shutting down.

Lastly: My Story!


I can't explain it.

I followed the advice of these guys and to my joy the progress bar moved forward and displayed, the "performing cleanup" message.

Then it progressed further but then seemed to have gotten stuck again.

I opened the Task Manager again and the svchost program was back up again as a pair.

From then on I just pressed del on them over and over again and removed any other unnecessary programs running in the background.

The automatic shutdown thing popped again (60 second timer), but this time I let it countdown, while making sure to end "svchost.exe" every time they popped up.

Then with 8 seconds to spare, the installation was over and the PC restarted with sp3 installed! :)

My guess is that "svchost.exe" somehow interrupted the restarting of the SP3 installation. So in its absence SP3 probably managed to get to the restart stage of its installation.

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Nov 25, 2012
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SVCHOST.EXE Explained
by: Steve

Thank you for your contribution. Issues such as the one you described are frustrating, especially when they keep on happening time and time again.

I'm, pleased to hear the VistaHeads Forum helped to resolve your issue. It appears to be a common one even though I haven't experienced it myself personally.

As the Svchost.exe is the culprit here I though I would share some information about this process/executable.

Microsoft's definition of Svchost.exe is a generic host process name for Services that run from dynamic-link libraries.

What this means is Microsoft changed their approach for launching Windows Services (e.g. Windows Audio for sound, and Windows Update) from Executables (EXE) to Dynamic-Link Libraries (DLL Files).

However, files with a DLL extension cannot be launched. to get around this, the executable scvhost.exe was created to load up Windows Services.

A single instance of scvhosts.exe in Task Manager could be running one or several Windows Services. In some cases I have seen a single scvhost.exe running over 14 Services!

With this in mind I can understand why ending the scvhost.exe instances would enable the Windows XP Service Pack 3 installation process to continue.

What you are effectively doing is batch disabling Windows Services. It appears one or several of those Services was causing a conflict and preventing SP3 from installing.

Process Explorer (Part of the Sysinternals Suite) is an easy way to see which Services each scvhost.exe is running.

Each Service is identified by a logical name, rather than its file name, so it makes sense to you.

Process Explorer also shows lots of other detailed technical information. It is usually for advanced computer technicians only who use it to do things like diagnose and fix DLL version conflicts or computer resource hogs.

However, it is freely available from the Microsoft Website so if you are interested simply search for and downloaded the utility.

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