Cannot upgrade from XP SP1 to SP2 or 3, Access denied error

Posted on 2009-05-10
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Tried this article,
Ran the batch file suggested in that article twice and Disabled Spysweeper and Symantec Antivirus but it still won't update.  I tried updating SP3 and SP2 with that same Access denied error.  Tried different profiles too.  

Here is an error I get after trying to install the SP
Windows XP Service Pack 2 installation failed, leaving Windows XP partially updated.
Service Pack 2 installation did not complete.
Question by:ttelesca
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Author Comment

ID: 24350053
I tried downloading the update manually but that didn't work.  I did not do this via windows update.  
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 24350211
Are you certain you are logged on with admistrator rights?
Control panel->user accounts


Expert Comment

ID: 24350668
You cannot install service pack 3 until after service pack 2 is installed.  That being said, do you have Windows XP SP2 listed in add / remove programs?  If so, uninstall it, reboot, then try the service pack again.  Let us know what happens.
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Author Comment

ID: 24350901
SP2 is not in Add/Remove Progs, I am logged in as an Administrator
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 24351284
to see if you have SP2 installed.
start->run   winver
If SP2 does not show up there, download and install that first as nettek0300 suggests.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 24351297

There's a known issue with a file called Beethow9.wma it has specific ACL set and windows can not upgrade it.

Locate the folder : C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents set the ACL privileges manually and try again.

LVL 30

Accepted Solution

Kerem ERSOY earned 250 total points
ID: 24351303
Also File permissions could all be restored to default values. Please check here too:
LVL 16

Assisted Solution

JohnBPrice earned 250 total points
ID: 24366084
There are actually a number of permissions issues that cause this.  Some antivirus software would break the SP2 update, user installed ODBC registry settings would too.  Some virus would leave bad registry security settings even though the virus itself had been removed.

There are a couple ways to fix it.  You can turn on logging during SP2 setup to find what is causing the problem as described here 
but unfortunately it only gives the first occurence, so you may have to run the install a billion times until you get everything.

Optionally you can do the above once, figure out what package is causing the problem, remove it in the hopes it will remove other problems.

You can find a registry scanning tool, perhaps, to find all the registry keys that administrator does not have access to (some are legitimate, some aren't)

Since the above takes a LOT of time, I finally gave up (since I had to update many machines), and simply reinstalled XP from scratch, then SP2 , then all the user applications again.  It was faster than figuring out each registry key with permission problems.

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