I'd like to extend a nice big F-U to Microsoft for releasing yet another product that's screwing up my computer (pardon my French). Windows XP SP3 has been out for a few months and I haven't heard about the world coming crashing down as a result, so I figured it might be safe to install. HA! I should have known the clowns in Redmond wouldn't be able to get this right.
I looked for the redistributable version (so I wouldn't have to use Windows Update later for my other computer), and all I could find was this behemoth of a file. I had Windows Update already running for another task (looking for an update to Remote Desktop to try to quash a problem at work, but no dice). I decided to try letting WU get the update. It seemed to download okay, started installing, then toward the end, it just froze. I think the words "Finishing Installation..." were even tattooed there on the screen. Nothing would function, couldn't even Ctrl-Alt-Del out, so I resorted to the reset button.
Thing comes back up and says "SP3 installation did not complete." Ya think? So it offers to uninstall itself. I figure this has to be a good thing, so I click OK. Software Update Removal Wizard comes up, starts doing its thing, gets to Restoring Catalogs and after a minute that hangs as well.
Reboot again, try to remove it again, winds up hanging at the same spot.
I reboot yet again, hit F8 to try to bring up "Last Known Good Configuration," get to Windows, check system properties and it still shows me having SP3. I mean, parts of it might be on there, but between a failed install, a failed uninstall, and the fact that it still thinks SP3 is here, I don't know what to make of it.
During all this fun, I was researching the installation freezes on my laptop separately, trying to see how common the problem is. Turns out installation problems with SP3 are pretty common, and it's prevalent among users with AMD processors. Guess what? My desktop machine in question is running an AMD Athlon 3800+ X2. Way to ignore a healthy chunk of your userbase by favoring Intel only, Microshaft.