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westoneFlag for United States of America

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Vista In Place Upgrade

I'm in a bit of a bind. Before me is a Dell Dimension Windows Vista SP1 computer. Windows update has been failing when installing SP2. I researched the error and found about 4 possible solutions on the 'net. The first 3 solutions failed, including running the standalone installer, and the last is to perform what is called a Repair Install in XP lingo or what is more accurately called an In Place Upgrade in Vista language.

Okay, no problem, I can handle that. Except the OS DVD included with the system is just plain Vista with no Service Pack integrated and will only allow a clean install, not an upgrade. Not a good option really.

So I attempted to remove SP1 through Add/Remove Programs, and it failed with no specific error code. Then I attempted to run the SP KB installer from the command line with a switch to remove it, and that failed as well, with no error it just quit and SP1 was still installed after reboot.

Lastly I attempted to create a Vista install disk with SP1 slipstreamed and that has failed several times as well. There is conflicting information on the 'net as to whether or not it is even possible to slipstream Vista with SP1, but there are procedures out there, really just one procedure in numerous places, but it is not working for me, and may be due to the Dell OEM disk I have available or may be due to the fact that it is not possible period.

I need some suggestions, or it may be necessary to just give it up and mark it as not fixable short of a complete clean reinstall.
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Alan Henderson
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If it's still bootable you could try SFC.

System File Checker:
Click Start » All Programs » Accessories.
Right click Command Prompt.
Select “Run as Administrator”.
At the command prompt type
sfc /scannow (don’t miss the space before the /)
Click OK.

If that doesn't fix the problem(s) a clean install may be the quickest solution.
Avatar of westone


Thanks, already tried that, but I can try it again.
It may be more successful if you try it in Safe Mode.

Firstly, you need to do the "In Place Upgrade" with the appropriate DVD (which contains the same Service Pack level of system files as your present install).  There is no way around this in so far as an "In Place Upgrade" is concerned as the system files must be compatible with each other.

I recently had to perform this and found it was only successful when done from a "clean boot" (using msconfig to disable all startup items and all non-ms services including antivirus software).

When you attempted the SP updates or removals, did you perform these from a clean boot?  If not, you should try again, but start the machine with nothing but Windows running (clean boot).  You can restore msconfig settings after the update completes.

Here are a couple links to Slipstreaming SP1 into Vista in case you haven't tried them yet

Vista - Vista SP1 Slipstream Installation DVD


You can't use the old trusty method of slipstreaming service packs into your Windows install CD with Vista. But we've figured out how to do it anyway.
HOW TO: slipstream Vista SP1 into your Vista install DVD
Download link to Vista Update Integrator referenced in the article (Requires DotNet Framework v3.5)
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With Vista, MS loaded every edition/license type of Vista onto the same DVD, with only separate discs for 32-bit and 64-bit. So as long as it's the correct bit version, any edition/license disc will work.

Check around if you have, or can borrow, a Vista install disc with SP1 already on it, even if it's for another edition of Vista, and regardless of whether it's Retail, Upgrade, or generic OEM. If it's a vendor-specific disc, like the Dell one you have, you may have issues.

Hell, try finding one with SP2 already integrated on it.
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Alan Henderson
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