Hi, Diva Susan,
I read 'The dreaded "Stuck on update 3 out of 3" issue' in your "The correct way to install Vista Service Pack 2" item today. Unfortunately, the MS terror is not limited to Vista SP2 and IE8.
I got the daily dreaded popup from the June 2009 "Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista (KB967632)" since 11 days ago until I stopped the Automatic Updates about 5 days ago. What is worse is that I have only one restore point dated today. So those advices in your article about KB949358 and the Yahoo forum link are too late for me.
I am thinking about following the advice of "If it ain't broke, why fix it? I have a hardwired router and great anti-virus and anti-spyware software so I just update those. I haven't had ANY problems in over a year." in
Sometimes I wonder if what I do is a disservice to people. Let me explain why. And I apologize in advance to every family member of the Air France disaster.
When I write articles at www.windowssecrets.com on patch management, I'm the Ambulance chaser. I'm the live reporter on the scene. I'm the CNN anchor telling you the horror of the Air France disaster. The reality that every day people get in airplanes, cars, trains, busses, mules, horses and any number of transportation vehicles and get to their destinations just fine. But I'm the one on the scene of the bloody accident telling you to be careful. To buckle up. To be afraid. To fear..... to fear.... life. And I don't want you to fear that. Because honestly the patching issues I talk about are like the Air France disaster. Indicators that issues may occur. Indicators that we need to look at our equipment, but not a sign that EVERY plane is suddenly going to drop out of the sky in mid flight.
I do want you to feel like you are in control. And before someone says that cloud computing takes all this patching headache away and transfers it to the cloud... okay you got me there... sort of...until their update screw up means that you are still dealing with cloud updating issues. They too blow up. They too roll back. And maintenance is on their schedule not yours, so as long as you understand that they too update just at a larger scale than your computer and you may still have issues it's just at a much larger scale and lots more people are cussing at each other and dealing with the support issues of bad updating.
So if you aren't comfortable in leaving automatic updates turned on, I understand. But please do not turn off updates completely. And please make a plan that security patches you will install pretty quickly. But it's okay if you want to wait on a patch that isn't a security one and isn't a priority to you. Like I always say, Internet Explorer is not a patch with a high priority on my Servers but it is on my Workstations. As to the potential for issues with Vista where it gets stuck in that loop of installing 3 out of 3, it can occur on Vista, it can even occur on Windows 2008. But it's not occuring on all computers. And the probability is that your particular Vista is not that Air France plane.
So how do you make sure that you aren't that Air France plane?
HAVE A BACKUP. While we honestly don't know for sure what happened with that Plane, it appears that some horrible malfunction occurred. In the computer world we have a much easier way to protect ourselves by having a backup. It can be as low tech as the built in one with Vista, to a better one with Storage Craft or after seeing Kevin Royalty's presentation on Home Server last night and especially the HP models with the ability to do streaming media over the web, remote access, the backup technology it has is way cool, having one of those or a NAS unit to backup those workstations you REALLY CARE about is wise. I confidently install patches because I either have machines that are backed up because I care about them, or that they are test machines that I don't care about.
If you have a computer you care about and if you don't want that computer to blow up, you have a backup. It's that simple.
Even if you didn't plan and prepare... there are still ways to dig out of the disaster -- The update is not installed successfully, you receive a message, and the computer restarts when you try to install an update in Windows Vista:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;949358 I've seen that pending.xml info work many a time.
But the way you prepare for ANYTHING in life is have a plan. For the risks I take getting in my Mini Cooper and driving around, I buckle up my seat belts, I follow the posted speed limits (really, I do). For when I get on planes and the turbulence starts and my stomach starts to flutter with anxiety, I tell myself it's just a ride on Disneyland and relax and tell myself that the reality is that the bulk of the people using cars, planes, busses, trains, and yes.... even computers.... get to their destinations just fine. We hear about the disasters. We never write stories about when things "just work exactly the way they were intended to".