I have a Dell Inspiron 1501 with Windows XP SP2. We want to run Microsoft Office 2010 on it; that installation says we need SP3.

I cannot get Internet Explorer to run reliably; we never use it, and when I start it (and turn off proxies(???)) it says it cannot find www.Google.com. So I gave up trying to use "automatic updates".

So I downloaded the SP3 install executable, saved it locally, then ran it. I am running from an administrator account. It starts and appears to be unpacking many, many files; then it says it cannot continue because it cannot find the file specified, and to click on OK for it to back out its changes. I do that. Then it says XP may not run correctly any more.

I tried to restore to the checkpoint it made when it was installing. It said no changes had been made.

I used Add/Remove Programs and Add/Remove Windows components and cannot find any mention of SP3 being installed, so I guess it uninstalled correctly (or never got far enough to be considered installed).

I tried turning off the wireless radio (so there would be no internet connection, and turning off the BitDefender antivirus program, and ran the SP3 install again. Same result.

I've looked at a number of sites, both on and off Microsoft' domain, and have tried some things they said on there. I've looked in the log file, but nothing appears to be put in there, perhaps it's only for auto updates. It was one of them that suggested turning off antivirus software.

So I'm feeling stuck. Does anyone have suggestions about how I can get SP3 onto my XP machine?

In case it's significant, this is XP Professional 2002, SP2, w/ an AMD Turion 64x2 Mobile, w/ 2G RAM.

for the help, unfortunately neither of these worked.

I did make a restore point, for reminding me.

When I tried to deselect all the checkboxes, I was told I needed to log into an administrator account to deselect all of them even though I was in an administrator account already. It rebooted, I retried, it did the same thing.

I tried the SP3 installation, it unpacked stuff, started the install, then failed.

Then it uninstalled.

So I went into Safe Mode and tried it again; this time it unpacked and failed immediately.

I would happily try other suggestions, should you or anyone else have any.


Several things you can try.

To Boot Clean in Windows XP

  1. Click Start --> Run --> Type MSCONFIG --> Click OK
  2. On the General tab, choose Selective Startup
  3. Uncheck Process SYSTEM.INI file
  4. Uncheck Process WIN.INI file
  5. Uncheck Load Startup Items
  6. Click on the Services tab
  7. At the bottom, check Hide All Microsoft Services
  8. Uncheck all boxes in the window or click the button labeled Disable All
  9. Click OK
  10. Click Restart

After performing the necessary steps to get SP3 installed, restore your system to normal boot by doing the following:

  1. Click Start --> Run --> Type MSCONFIG--> Click OK
  2. On the General tab, choose Normal Startup
  3. Click OK
  4. Click YES, when asked to restart your computer


  • If Clean boot does not work, see if SP3 will install in Safe Mode.


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