Vista SP1 for the 64-bit version of the OS has fallen on my computer, and it can’t get up! I’ve been without my primary computer now for several days due to the release of SP1 for Vista. The symptom is an infinite loop of installations and failures of SP1 (the specific details seem to vary by people reporting to be afflicted with this problem).

Nick White at Microsoft declares that the problem “affects a small number of customers in unique circumstances” on the Windows Vista blog here:

but Google turns up nearly 36,000 hits for the pretty specific phrase of “configuring updates: stage 3 of 3 vista ultimate 64 sp1”; so I have to believe there are a few more customers being negatively impacted by this than just moi.

This blog was helpful in resolving the infinite patch installation loop in case you happen to get caught by this nasty thing:

It doesn’t “solve” the problem, but it will at least make your computer useable again for awhile so that you can backup your important files, etc. In my case whenever I install a new IIS feature, the pattern of installing/failing SP1 starts all over as soon as I reboot my machine. Everything having to do with attempting to resolve this problem seems to take hours of time (SP1 itself takes nearly an hour to install and then another hour after it aborts to rewind itself). KB937287 has been installed on my machine 5 times now! After SP1 fails in its installation, KB937287 shows back up again in Windows Update. KB937287 is apparently a pre-requisite patch to prepare your computer for the slaughter that is SP1.

I spent nearly two hours on an IM with Microsoft tech support this evening where they took remote control of my computer and declared that the problem was with my Norton 360 antivirus interfering with the service pack installation (even though my anti-virus had already been disabled per the SP instructions). They asked me to remove my anti-virus and re-install SP1 again and then scheduled me for a call back tomorrow. Unfortunately the results were an unsuprising repeat of the “configuring updates: state 3 of 3“ hell that was my weekend (it’s like groundhogs day all over again)!  At this point I’m thinking I would be better off simply burning my computer to the ground and reinstalling the OS without the automatic patch feature disabled until MS can get this sorted out. In point of fact, this is exactly what many customers seem to be blogging that they did. It may only be affecting a small number of customers, but the impact to those minority customers seems severe.