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Turn Windows features on or off - blank / empty list

Posted on 2008-10-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-15
Have a Vista Business machine with SP1.  I had an old version of the Admin Tools installed and wanted to use GP tool.  Since SP1 removed GPMC from Vista, I had to install the new Remote Admin tools.  So I removed the old ones, rebooted, installed the new set (941314), rebooted.  According to MS, you then go to Control Panel, Programs and Features, Turn Windows features on or off.  I do that and I get a "Please Wait..." message for a few seconds, then it goes away and I have a blank list.  I vaguely remember this happening several months ago, but it wasn't important at the time so I didn't pursue it.

Anyhow, after 30 minutes, still no list.  I searched and found many suggestions (and many many problems reports).  I did them all (chkdsk, sfc /scannow, reboots, uniinstall/reinstall of the new pack...).  The only thing I haven't done is something I can't do, and that's an Upgrade Install of Vista.  I have SP1, the install CD I have is pre-SP1 and won't "Upgrade" to an older version.  So, that's out too.  Anyone have any ideas, either to fix the problem or to get an upgrade sucessfully completed.  I hate the stupid Upgrade path "fix" as it's a cop out for real troubleshooting and fixes from Microsoft, but at this point I'm beyond caring (too much).
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Question by:davebuhl
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LeeTutor earned 250 total points
ID: 22714411
The upgrade in place will work if you slipstream SP1 into your Vista installation DVD:

http://www.labnol.org/software/tutorials/slipstream-vista-sp1-bootable-windows-vista-dvd-integrated/2750/
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by:davebuhl
ID: 22714750
I'll give it a try. I'm having to download the WAIK (1.35 GB!!!!!!!!!), so it'll be a while.

I'm really hoping there is an actual fix for this that does not involve a reinstall.  Anyone?
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Expert Comment

by:LeeTutor
ID: 22714890
Found this page with something the author says works sometimes:

http://www.winvistaclub.com/t22.html
If your optionalfeatures.exe or "Windows Features" dialog box is blank or empty.
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by:davebuhl
ID: 22714946
Yeah, I tried that yesterday (as administrator).  It said it could not find the key.  I'm guessing that means there aren't currupt keys stored in the registry.
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by:davebuhl
ID: 22733968
Lee, slipstreamed SP1 with my Vista DVD.  Still get the same message. It will not do in install upgrade even with SP1 slipstreamed.  I may try to uninstall SP1 and do the install upgrade with my new DVD.

If there are any other ideas, let me know.
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Author Closing Comment

by:davebuhl
ID: 31506021
Lee, although I never got the slipstream to work, I was able to uninstall SP1, do the inplace upgrade, then reinstall SP1 after.  Took way too long for my liking, but I'll try some more to get a working SP1 slipstream.  Thanks for the suggestion.
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Expert Comment

by:hmiller24
ID: 36544343
After researching this I found the fix for Windows 7 Features being blank. I had two corrupt update files. After removing them, the features were visible again.

Follow the steps in the link below. Takes about 10 min to fix.


http://www.raymond.cc/blog/archives/2009/03/06/fix-blank-or-empty-list-in-vista-turn-windows-features-on-or-off-optionalfeaturesexe/
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