I have a laptop with Windows Vista 32-bit installed (no viruses or spyware; the Sony Root Kit spyware was recently removed by MalwareBytes). It doesn't currently have Service Pack 1 installed; although Windows Update will download and execute it, the installation fails with an error indicating that Service Pack 1 is required.

Has anyone encountered this problem and found a way to resolve it? I've tried rebooting, as well as clearing out the Windows Update temporary download files (while shutting down the Windows Installer service), but the problem persists.


I would suggest following the steps in this document:


I would especially take note of "Resolution 2: Run the System Update Readiness Tool".

That that does is check you system for prerequisites and problems in the your files and registry that would prevent the service pack from installing. It then, hopefully, fixes them. It takes at least 15 minutes to run, so it is working even if you start to wonder.

When I found this tool just last week, it finally fixed a problem installing SP1 on Vista that had me pulling at my hair. I hope it does the same for you.

  • Running the System Update Readiness Tool resolved the problem (although it took more than 2 hours to run; this laptop has 4 GBs of RAM, and the Sidebar and other unneeded stuff had previously been disabled), thanks! (This seems like such a strange problem, eh?) – Randolf Richardson Jun 23 '11 at 3:42
  • @Randolf Richardson I have to say, I was really glad to see you check it as answered since I figured you had some success. Pretty good little tool, I have to say. Maybe you have a large registry, so it a long time...not sure. Good to know it can take that long though. – KCotreau Jun 23 '11 at 3:46
  • When an answer solves a problem, I think it's important to indicate that it was accepted (with that green checkmark) since this is how SuperUser.com works. – Randolf Richardson Jun 23 '11 at 3:53
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    Knowing that a given solution can require a few hours to complete is useful information (I've also seen this with Service Pack installations on Windows XP quite a few times over the years), especially because it can mean the difference between extra patience (preventive) and assuming that the system has crashed (premature). (That, and also it's Windows Vista, which doesn't seem to be known for speed.) – Randolf Richardson Jun 23 '11 at 3:55
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    @Randolf Richardson I agree about accepting, and I thank you. I really do enjoy helping people, but I freely admit to watching the numbers go up. There is some addictive motivation there. – KCotreau Jun 23 '11 at 3:57

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