"Access Denied" When Installing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP

When installing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, the installation may stop and a "Access Denied" message may be displayed. The installation of Service Pack 3 is aborted.

I find this is one of the most common problems when installing a Service Pack for Windows XP. The solution is pretty simple and applies for Service Pack 1, 2 and 3 for Windows XP. Microsoft has a KB article about this problem (‘You receive an error message when you try to install Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1: "Access is denied"‘) but their solution can be very tedious and stressful. Microsoft has another KB article for Service Pack 3 that deals with this problem (‘Error message when you try to install Windows XP Service Pack 3: "Access is denied" or “Service Pack installation did not complete”‘). The solution I am providing should only take an half hour or little bit longer and it is much simpler.

Restore File, Folder and Registry Permissions Using "SubInAcl"

Windows XP Home users should use "SubInAcl" to restore permissions since Windows XP Home does include "secedit.exe". Windows XP Professional users can use "SubInAcl" or "secedit.exe" to solve the "Access Denied" message when installing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.

  1. Download and install SubInAcl from Microsoft Download Center.
  2. Click Start to launch Notepad (Start > All Programs > Accessories > Notepad).
  3. Copy and Paste the following contents in Notepad:

    subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=administrators=f
    subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=administrators=f
    subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=administrators=f
    subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=administrators=f

    subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=system=f
    subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=system=f
    subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=system=f
    subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=system=f

  4. Save the Notepad file at C:\Program Files\Windows ResourceKits\Tools folder and name the file as restore.ACL.cmd.
  5. Click Start and then Run.
  6. Type cmd.exe to open a Command Prompt window.
  7. Type cd\.
  8. Type cd C:\Program Files\Windows ResourceKits\Tools.
  9. Type restore.ACL.cmd to start the process of restoring the permissions for the SYSTEM account and the Administrators group.

    NOTE

    This process may take 10 minutes or more, so please be patient.

  10. When the process has completed then reboot your computer and try to install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.

Restore Default Permissions for Windows XP Professional

Windows XP Professional users can restore the permissions back to default using "secedit.exe" but Windows XP Home users cannot use "secedit.exe" because the executable file is not present on Windows XP Home systems. Windows XP Home users can use the "SubInAcl" method mentioned above.

  1. Click Start and then Run.
  2. Type cmd.exe to open a Command Prompt window.
  3. Type the following to restore the permissions back to default for Windows XP Professional.

    secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\repair\secsetup.inf /db secsetup.sdb /verbose

    NOTE

    This process may take 10 minutes or more, so please be patient.

  4. When the process has completed then reboot your computer and try to install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.

Platforms Tested

  • Microsoft Windows XP Editions, 32-bit 
Related Articles

Version 1.2
Edited: May 14, 2012

Advertisements

How To Uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP

There a few different ways of uninstalling Service Pack 3 for Windows XP and in this post I will describe how perform the necessary steps.

NOTE

To enlarge the images, simply click on the images you would like to view. With Internet Explorer 7, you can right-click on the image to select Open in New Tab.

Method One – Use "Add or Remove Programs" Applet

Using the Add or Remove Programs applet is the most common way to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.

  1. Click Start and then Run.
  2. Type control appwiz.cpl in the Run dialog box to open the Add or Remove Programs applet.
  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. The Add or Remove Programs applet will open, locate and select Windows XP Service Pack 3, refer to image below.

  5. Click Remove to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  6. Click Next in the Software Update Removal Wizard window to start uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. Refer to image below.

  7. Click Finish in the Software Update Removal Wizard window to reboot and complete the uninstall of Service Pack 3.

Method Two – Use the Service Pack 3 Uninstall Command

Using the Service Pack 3 uninstall command is exactly like using Add or Remove Programs applet to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP but you are entering the uninstall command in the Run dialog box.

  1. Click Start and then Run.
  2. Type %systemroot%\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.exe in the Run dialog box to start the uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.

    NOTE

    You may need to show hidden files and folders to see the $NtServicePackUninstall$ folder. For more information on how to show hidden files and folders, see "Showing Hidden Files and Folders in Windows XP".

     

  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. When the Software Update Removal Wizard window open then click Next. Refer to image below.

  5. Click Remove to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  6. Click Next in the Software Update Removal Wizard window to start uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. Refer to image below.

  7. Click Finish in the Software Update Removal Wizard window to reboot and complete the uninstall of Service Pack 3.

Method Three – Use Windows XP System Restore

Using the Windows XP System Restore would be the last resort to try to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. System Restore will only work if the restore point for Service Pack 3 has not been purged from the system. Restore points are purge after 90 days of the restore point or when System Restore space is at its maximum resulting in the oldest restore point being purge for the new restore point.

  1. Click Start and open System Restore (All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore).
  2. Select Restore my computer to an earlier time and click Next to select a restore point.
  3. Locate and select the entry for Windows XP Service 3.

    NOTE

    If you used Windows Update or Automatic Updates then the restore point is named Software Distribution Service 3.0.

     

  4. When the restore point has been selected then click Next.
  5. Click Next to start the system restore process.

    NOTE

    When System Restore completes then your computer will restart.

     

  6. When the computer has restarted then System Restore will display a successful or unsuccessful message. Refer to image below.

Method Four – Use Windows XP System Restore at a Command Prompt

Using the Windows XP System Restore would be the last resort to try to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. System Restore will only work if the restore point for Service Pack 3 has not been purged from the system. Restore points are purge after 90 days of the restore point or when System Restore space is at its maximum resulting in the oldest restore point being purge for the new restore point.

  1. Start you computer, press F8 to select Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
  2. After logging into Windows XP with an account that Administrative privileges, a Command Prompt window should open.
  3. Type %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe to open System Restore.
  4. Select Restore my computer to an earlier time and click Next to select a restore point.
  5. Locate and select the entry for Windows XP Service 3.

    NOTE

    If you used Windows Update or Automatic Updates then the restore point is named Software Distribution Service 3.0.

     

  6. When the restore point has been selected then click Next.
  7. Click Next to start the system restore process.

    NOTE

    When System Restore completes then your computer will restart.

     

  8. When the computer has restarted then System Restore will display a successful or unsuccessful message. Refer to Image below.

Method Five – Use Windows XP Recovery Console

Using the Windows XP Recovery Console is a good solution to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP when your computer will boot or start correctly after you have installed Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. You will need your Windows XP installation CD and have your BIOS to boot from the CD first. Refer to your computer manual on how to set the Boot device and priority.

  1. Insert your Windows XP CD into your CD Drive and boot from the Windows XP CD.
  2. Press R to enter into the Recovery Console, refer to image below.

  3. Select the Windows installation to use the Recovery Console. Refer to image below.

  4. Type the administrative password.

    NOTE

    For most users the administrative password is blank (nothing). Simply press ENTER on the keyboard.

     

  5. At the prompt, type chdir $NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst.
  6. Type batch spuninst.txt to start the uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  7. When the uninstall process has completed then remove the Windows XP CD from the CD drive.
  8. Type EXIT to restart the computer and complete the uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  9. If the computer boots or starts correctly then remove Service Pack 3 via Add or Remove Programs to completely remove Service Pack 3 for Windows XP . Refer to ‘Method 1 – Use "Add or Remove Programs" Applet‘ for detailed instructions.

Method Six – Use BartPE Recovery CD

Using the BartPE Recovery CD is a good solution to uninstall Service Pack 3 for Windows XP when your computer will not boot or start correctly after you have installed Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. You will need to create a BartPE Recovery CD and have your BIOS to boot from the CD first. Refer to your computer manual on how to set the Boot device and priority. Please visit "Bart’s Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD" to learn about how to create your own BartPE Recovery CD with your Windows XP CD.

  1. Insert your BartPE Recovery CD into your CD Drive and boot from the BartPE Recovery CD.
  2. Click Go to select A43 File Management Utility (Programs > A43 Management File Utility).
  3. Navigate to C:\Windows\%NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst.
  4. Rename spuninst.txt to spuninst.bat.
  5. Click Go to select Command Prompt (CMD).
  6. Type C:\Windows\%NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.bat to start the uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  7. Rename spuninst.bat back to spuninst.txt.
  8. When the uninstall process has completed then remove the BartPE Recovery CD from the CD drive.
  9. Restart the computer and complete the uninstall process of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
  10. If the computer boots or starts correctly then remove Service Pack 3 via Add or Remove Programs to completely remove Service Pack 3 for Windows XP . Refer to ‘Method 1 – Use "Add or Remove Programs" Applet‘ for detailed instructions.

Platforms Tested

  • Microsoft Windows XP Editions, 32-bit
Related Articles

Version 1.2
Edited: May 13, 2012

Internet Explorer and Windows XP Service Pack 3

Before you install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, you should read the Internet Explorer blog article "IE and Windows XP Service Pack 3". The blog article describes the different scenarios if you have Internet Explorer 6 or Internet Explorer 7 installed when you install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.

My Recommendations

Internet Explorer 6 Installed

If you have Internet Explorer 6 installed then I would recommend Service Pack 3 for Windows XP to be installed first then Internet Explorer 7.

Internet Explorer 7 Installed

If you have Internet Explorer 7 installed then I would recommend uninstalling Internet Explorer 7 first, install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP second and then install Internet Explorer 7. With this scenario, you will be able to uninstall Internet Explorer 7 after you have installed Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. If you have installed Service Pack 3 for Windows XP before uninstalling Internet Explorer 7 then you will not be able to uninstall Internet Explorer 7. Microsoft recommends and supports uninstalling Internet Explorer 7 before any repair installation of Windows XP.

Download Links

Related Articles

Version 1.1
Edited: May 13, 2012

Slipstreaming Windows XP Service Pack 3 into a Bootable Windows XP Install CD

In this blog post, I will describe how to slipstream or integrate Windows XP Service Pack 3 with a Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 CD. Windows XP RTM CD is not officially supported by Microsoft when integrating with Windows XP Service Pack 3. If you would like to integrate your Windows XP RTM CD or Windows XP Service Pack 1 CD with Windows XP Service Pack 2 then refer to "Slipstreaming Service Pack 2 into a Bootable Windows XP CD" for instructions.

One of the benefits of slipstreaming Windows XP Service Pack 3 into a bootable Windows XP CD is being able to reinstall Windows XP without the need to download and install SP3 from Windows Update afterwards. All Windows XP system files will updated to the Service Pack 3 level. Your computer will still need updates to be fully patched. Visit Microsoft Update to check your PC for Critical and Important updates. If you experience any problems with Microsoft Security updates then please call Microsoft support for help. There will be no charge for support on Security Updates.

Microsoft has set up newsgroups for self-support. If you need help for Security updates or any other updates that is issued by Microsoft then please visit the Windows Update newsgroup at using your newsreader news://msnews.microsoft.com/microsoft.public.windowsupdate.

NOTE

To enlarge the images, simply click on the images you would like to view. With Internet Explorer 7, you can right-click on the image to select Open in New Tab.

What I Used

What I Did

  1. Create a folder called WinXP in the root of the system drive, C:\WinXP.
  2. Create four folders called BOOT, CD, ISO, and SP3 in the WinXP folder, C:\WinXP\BOOT, C:\WinXP\CD, C:\WinXP\ISO, and c:\WinXP\SP3.

  3. Copy Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Windows XP Service Pack 2 CD to C:\WinXP\CDfolder or use the following command assuming your CD Drive is letter D.

    xcopy d:\*.* c:\WinXP\CD /H /E

  4. Download Windows XP Service Pack 3 Network Package from Microsoft to c:\WinXP\SP3 folder.

    NOTE

    The Windows XP Service Pack 3 Network Package is quite large to download. You may want to use BitsAdmin.exe to download the install file without worries of being disconnected during the download. If you are going to use BitsAdmin.exe to download Windows XP Service Pack 3 then use the instructions further down this blog post.

     

  5. Slipstream or integrate Windows XP Service Pack 3 Network Package to C:\WinXP\CD by using the following command:

    C:\WinXp\SP3\WINDOWSXP-KB936929-SP3-X86-ENU.exe /integrate:C:\WinXP\CD

  6. Open UltraISO and insert your Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 CD into your CD Drive. On the Menu Bar, select Bootable then Extract Boot File from CD/DVD…. Click , name the file BootFile, and save it to C:\WinXP\BOOTfolder.

  7. Click Make. A message box should appear stating "Boot image file extracted successfully!". Click OK then Close.
  8. On the File menu for UltraISO, select File > New > Bootable CD/DVD Image. Select the extracted boot file named BootFile located in C:\WinXP\BOOT. Click Open.
  9. In the bottom left window pane for UltraISO, select C:\WinXP\CD.

  10. In the bottom right window pane for UltraISO, select all of the contents. To do this, simply right-click in the bottom right window pane and select Select All. Click Add to add all the contents in the bottom right window pane of UltraISO.

  11. In the top left window pane for UltraISO, rename the ISO image by selecting the ISO name to select Rename. Rename the ISO Image to what you like.

  12. Now save the ISO image to C:\WinXP\ISO. To do this, go to the File menu and select Save. Type in your ISO file name and save to C:\WinXP\ISO.
  13. You can now burn the ISO image to a blank CD using your favorite CD Burner software or using UltraISO like I did. Open UltraISO, go to the File menu to select Open…. Navigate to C:\WinXP\ISO to select the ISO image we have created.
  14. Insert a blank CD into your CD / DVD burner.
  15. Click the Burn CD/DVD Image button on the toolbar for UltraISO.

  16. A Burn Image should appear, click Burn to starting the burning process.

  17. Congratulations, you have made a Bootable Windows XP Service Pack 3 CD with your Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 CD.

NOTE

To enlarge the images, simply click on the images you would like to view. With Internet Explorer 7, you can right-click on the image to select Open in New Tab.

Download Windows XP SP3 Network Package using BitsAdmin (Optional)

  1. Download and install Windows XP SP2 Support Tools.
  2. Open a Command Prompt Window (Start > Run > cmd.exe) and type:

    bitsadmin /Create /Download SP3Job
     

    NOTE

    This creates a download job called SP3Job.

     

  3. Type:

    bitsadmin /AddFile SP3Job http://download.microsoft.com/download/d/3/0/d30e32d8-418a-469d-b600-f32ce3edf42d/WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-ENU.exe C:\WinXP\SP3\WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-ENU.exe

    NOTE

    Adds the Windows XP SP3 Network Package to SP2Job.

  4. Type:

    bitsadmin /Resume SP3Job

    NOTE

    Starts the download for SP3Job.

  5. Type:

    bitsadmin /GetState SP3Job

    NOTE

    If GetState returns TRANSFERRED then the SP3Job is finished transferring the bits and you can continue with Step 6.

  6. Type:

    bitsadmin /complete SP3Job

    NOTE

    Completes the SP3Job

Some other switches which may interest you.
  • bitsadmin /GetBytesTotal SP3Job   [NOTE: Checks how many bytes are for the SP3Job]
  • bitsadmin /GetBytesTransferred SP3Job  [NOTE: Checks how much bytes have been transferred for the SP3Job]
  • bitsadmin /cancel SP3Job  [NOTE: Cancels the SP3Job]
  • bitsadmin /Suspend  [NOTE: Pause the SP3Job. Use ‘bitsadmin /Resume SP3Job‘ to resume the SP3Job.

Platforms Tested

  • Microsoft Windows XP Editions x86 Versions
Related Articles

Version 1.1
Edited: May 13, 2012

Microsoft Released Windows XP Service Pack 3 – May 6, 2008

On Tuesday, May 6, 2008, Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 3 (32-bit) to Windows Updates and on the Download Center.

NOTE

This articles does not show Windows XP Security Updates. Please review MSFT Security Updates blog category for Windows XP Security Updates.

Most customers are recommended to use Windows Update to install Windows XP Service Pack 3 because the download size is much smaller than the download on the Download Center.

How Do I Get Windows XP Service Pack 3

Windows Update

  • Launch Microsoft Update or Windows Update icon in the Start Menu
  • Visit Microsoft Update using Internet Explorer.

Download Center

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview, Release Notes, and List of Fixes

Overview

Release Notes

List of Fixes

Other

Internet Explorer and Windows XP Service Pack 3

Before you install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, you should read the Internet Explorer blog article "IE and Windows XP Service Pack 3". The blog article describes the different scenarios if you have Internet Explorer 6 or Internet Explorer 7 installed when you install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. My recommendations can be found at "Internet Explorer and Windows XP Service Pack 3 " blog article.

Updating your Windows XP System

Please keep your computer up to date with Critical and Important updates by using the Windows Update feature in Windows XP or by visiting Microsoft Update. If you experience any problems with Microsoft Security updates then please call Microsoft support for help. There will be no charge for support on Security Updates.

Microsoft has set up newsgroups for self-support. If you need help for Security updates or any other updates that is issued by Microsoft then please visit the Windows Update newsgroup at using your newsreader news://msnews.microsoft.com/microsoft.public.windowsupdate.

Related Articles

Version 1.5
Edited: May 13, 2012