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If you install Windows Vista RTM and run Windows Update, many updates are offered and will successfully install. Once all other updates are installed, Windows Vista service pack 1 is offered.

When you attempt to install Windows Vista service pack 1, the service pack installation wizard appears, presenting the license agreement and so on. However, shortly after the installation starts the wizard disappears. Windows Update says that the update was installed successfully. However, service pack 1 is not in fact installed, and will be detected as needed again on the next update check. Repeat ad nauseum.

On checking the Windows Update log (WindowsUpdate.log) the client version is 6.0.6000.nnn or 6.0.6001.nnn. There is a message saying "Skipping SelfUpdate check based on the /SKIP directive in wuident".

There may also be an error 0x80190194 appearing, associated with the URL

Why won't service pack 1 install properly and how do I fix it?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The underlying problem is that the Windows Update self-update mechanism is not working.

In order to successfully install Service Pack 1 you need at least Windows Update version 7.6.7600.256. Windows Vista RTM ships with version 6.0.6000.16386, and this version will not self-update because the file (as of the version digitally signed July 14, 2012) provided by Microsoft's Windows Update servers contains an explicit instruction that WU versions 6.0.6000 and 6.0.6001 should not self-update. It is not clear why.

There may be one or more missing files on Microsoft's servers, because error 0x80190194 means that a 404 (File Not Found) error was received from the web server. However, this error does not occur if you are using a WSUS server, but the client still won't self-update. It is therefore possible that error 0x80190194 is not directly related to the problem.

Microsoft Support advised me that the problem is being worked on and that a KB article will be released in due course. They did not give me an ETA. Addendum: two years and counting. I think it safe to assume that the problem is unlikely to resolved at this point!

There are two ways to work around this issue:

  1. Download and install Windows Update version 7.6.7600.320 using the download links provided in Microsoft's Knowledge Base Article KB2887535. Although no download link is provided for Windows Vista, the Windows 7 version installed successfully when I tried it. (Note: this download was not available when I originally wrote this answer, and I have not tested it on a Windows Vista RTM system. If you have done so, please let me know. The third-party download I originally linked to is no longer available.)

  2. Download and run the off-line version of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (or the all languages version) from the Microsoft Download Center. This will take longer to download and install than using Windows Update, but is officially supported.

In either case, once Service Pack 1 is installed, Windows Update will offer some additional updates and then Service Pack 2. Service Pack 2 should install successfully.

Note: Microsoft provides free phone support for problems installing service packs. See Microsoft's support page for the contact number for your area. In some countries this may be a toll call.

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Microsoft Support advised me that the problem is being worked on...I just encountered this issue on a Vista RTM install today attempting to install SP1 via Windows Update, so it appears Microsoft hasn't fixed this through the WU delivery mechanism, at least. –  Twisty Dec 24 '14 at 18:14
I wanted to add here, also having a computer with Vista RTM in year 2015... Apparently Microsoft has still not addressed this issue; users that are unlucky enough to have Vista RTM are stuck with it unless they come across a Q/A like this. KB2887535 as mentioned does not have a download link for Vista, and the 7 SP1 version did not work for me. I had to download version 7.4 of the update agent (KB946928) which did install properly. Not sure about it fixing installing Vista SP1 yet though. –  TGP1994 Aug 29 at 23:31

Be sure the 3 updates below are installed first, look for them in "View Update History" when you open Windows Update from the Control Panel. If any of these are not installed, download and manually install them. Then download and try a manual install of SP1, but first uninstall or disable any 3rd party security software that is installed. Better yet perform both the SP1 and SP2 installs while clean booted.

These are for 32-bit Vista:

  • KB935509 (download page) (Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Vista Only, do not install if you have any other version)
  • KB938371 (download page)
  • KB949939 (scroll down page for download link for 32 and 64 bit)

These are for 64-bit Vista:

  • KB935509 (Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Vista Only, do not install if you have any other version)
  • KB938371

Service Pack 1 download links:

Once all this is done you can download and manually install Service Pack 2:

After SP2 is installed you can run Windows Updates and get the rest of the updates you need.

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Good point. Note that if Windows Update is offering SP1, the prerequisite updates are already installed, but if you're installing it preemptively you need to do the prerequisites by hand. I'd recommend not installing any 3rd party software (of any sort) until after you've got service pack 2 and all existing updates installed, but if you've got security software present it certainly should be disabled before installing the service packs. –  Harry Johnston Nov 1 '12 at 22:25
I don't always trust that wupdate gets these installed, I always check first. These were the ugly years, glad I kept my notes. I kept all these files, I found it twice as fast to get a non sp Vista updated to SP2 using the manual method, saved me so much time working on Vista re-installs. –  Moab Nov 1 '12 at 22:27

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