XP SP3 users hit by endless reboot

Bug seems to derive from bad installs on AMD-based computers;

An endless reboot problem associated with Windows service pack
installations is back, but this time it is vexing some users who
installed Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3). Moreover, the problem
mostly affects PCs that use Advanced Micro Devices' (AMDs') central
processing unit chipsets, reports suggest.


Microsoft officially is still investigating the issue, according
to a spokesperson. However, the problem could stem from a software
image installation error made by original equipment manufacturers
(OEMs).


The reboot issue also seems to be associated with
HP-manufactured computers, although a few people with machines from
other manufacturers have said they experienced the problem,
according to a TechNet Web site.


Jesper Johannson, a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional)
in Windows Security, cautioned in a blog that there may be other reasons why
users applying this service pack may have the reboot problem.
However, he described the OEM theory at some length.


"The problem is that HP, and possibly other OEMs, deploy the
same image to Intel-based desktops that they do to AMD-based
desktops. It also appears that this is unique to their desktop
image, and any HP AMD-based laptops are unaffected by the problem.
Because the image for both Intel and AMD is the same all have the
intelppm.sys driver installed and running."


The intelppm.sys driver is used to control the PC's power
management, but machines with AMD chipsets aren't supposed to use
that driver. Instead the equivalent driver for AMD machines is
called amdk8.sys.


Johannson points to a Microsoft knowledge base article, KB888372, describing the solution. It was originally written to
address the same problem for users upgrading to Windows XP Service
Pack 2.


Johannson describes a fix that worked for him based on the OEM
theory. He suggests other possibilities for the reboot problem as
well, such as a particular motherboard, bad hardware, malware,
corruption of the file system driver ntfs.sys and a faulty video
driver.


However, a spokesperson for AMD confirmed the theory of OEM
image installs being at fault, saying, "It's something that's
resolved on the OEM side. This isn't from something that AMD
delivered or did. We don't have any control over the issue."


The problem affects only a small number of PCs running Windows
XP, the AMD spokesperson said, adding that Microsoft is working on
a solution.


"Microsoft is currently putting in place a filter on Windows
Update for Windows XP Service Pack 3 computers that will experience
this issue," the AMD spokesperson said. "And there's also customer
support they've set up to walk customers thorough any issues they
may be experiencing."


The customer support for Windows XP SP3 users is free through
April 14, 2009, and can be accessed here.

This article was originally publinsed May 12 at RedmondMag.com, an affilate Web site of GCN.com. RedmondMag.com and GCN.com are 1105 Media Inc. properties.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is the online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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