Friday, March 21, 2008

No Vista SP1 Soup for Claus

I was all set to go and load up Vista SP1 on our Gateway Vista laptop this weekend.

I've defragged my drive.

Got ready to disable my firewall, AV, and HIPS software just to be sure I didn't have any conflicts.

I logged into the true "Administrator" account to apply the patch.

I read Dwight's TechBlog post looking for tips: Updated: Windows Vista SP1 is now available and in the post Available next week: Windows Vista SP1. All good stuff.

I even downloaded and had my Vista Recovery Disk burned. Just in case.

Homework done. Time to queue up in the soup-line.

Red Bowl or Blue Bowl?

There are three methods to getting Vista SP1 on your machine:

  1. Download the full Vista SP1 installer from Microsoft Download Center and run it.
  2. Wait for April Automatic Updates to see it pushed out, or
  3. Manually run a Windows Update session and install it "early".

I decided that #3 optioned best (for a number of reasons that will become clear in a bit).

I ran Windows Updates and there was a patch to the Excel Patch from last week. Installed that and the system did a auto-reboot.


Logged back into the Admin account and re-ran Windows Updates.

Nothing. No Vista SP1 offered.


Reran again.

Nothing found.

Rebooted and tried one more time.


So I downloaded the full Vista SP1 package anyway, and planned on installing it.

But for some reason, I decided to try to figure out why it wasn't being offered to me...just in case Bad Things™ were afoot. Call me crazy.

What's My Problem?

According to the Windows Vista blog's Nick White, there are eight reasons why I might not be seeing the update offered:

  • You have not yet installed all the prerequisite packages you need for Windows Vista SP1. To install them, visit the Windows Update control panel and click on "check for updates."
  • You have a pre-release version of SP1 and need to uninstall it before installing SP1
  • You already have it. To determine if you already have SP1 installed, Open the Start Menu, right click on Computer and left click on Properties.
  • We released SP1 in these 5 languages: English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese. If you have any other language installed, SP1 will not yet be offered to you. (You might not even know if you have an additional language installed -- check the Regional and Language Options control panel to see which languages you have installed.)
  • Back in February we announced that we'd be using Windows Update to help make the update as seamless as possible for our users. Windows Update will detect drivers that we know may be problematic when updating to SP1 and will not offer the service pack until an update has been installed.

I hopped over to the offered whole list to look into the full details.

I worked through the list one reason at a time.

  1. Nope, not already running Vista SP1.
  2. Yep, running "English" version of Vista, good there.
  3. Nope, not running the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool. So far so good.
  4. Nope, my registry and file system are in top shape. Moving on....
  5. Incompatible driver, surly not. Laptop is less than a year old, specifically designed for Vista.
  6. Nope, didn't pre-install a RC of Vista. Two more left.
  7. Hmm, no can't say I used vLite to uninstall required system components.
  8. Nope, not trying to install Vista with other updates.

Could I have missed something?

Only thing I could think of was to go back and seriously check out #5 again; that "driver" thing.

Checking my Drivers

There are a number of ways I could try to compare the drivers and versions listed on this page against the one on my system.

My Computer > Right-Click > Properties > Device Manager...and compare the items and examine the driver properties for the devices.

Start Orb > Control Panel > System > Device Manager...and compare the items and examine the driver properties for the devices.

I went easier. I had already downloaded and unpacked NirSoft's DriverView (freeware) which lets me instantly view all the drivers on a system along with description, version, product name, company that created the driver, etc.

I fired it up and worked through comparing the list of incompatible drivers against what I had.

Guess what I quickly found?

Yep. Turns out this not yet a year-old Gateway MT6451, made for Vista laptop is using the SigmaTel Audio Driver stwrt.sys and it is an incompatible version (6.10.5337.0 in fact).

Because I chose (wisely) to run Windows Update to get Vista SP1, Windows Update "knows" if an incompatible driver version exists and won't offer Vista SP1. That's why it wasn't showing up.

That sucks. (Albeit in a "good" bad sucky way.)

I checked the Gateway MT6451 driver support website, but no newer driver is available than the one I have for this model. There are newer SigmaTel drivers offered by Gateway, but not for this model laptop, and I'm not sure I want to go testing the "compatibility" of them.

Sure, I could still try to slam-down that full Vista SP1 package, but I have no guarantee that in the best case scenario, I could get my audio back. In the worst case scenario, my system might lock up during the update process and never come back to the land of the living.

No thank you. I want Vista SP1 bad...but will really have to convince myself that I actually NEED it that badly before taking that kind of big leap.

So now what?

Nick Offers Comfort...

Nick White from Microsoft did try to offer some words of comfort to us poor unfortunate souls left standing outside the Vista SP1 diner watching the other folks enter and eat their fill:

...we spent the past month or so working with our partners on driver updates for these issues. Of these drivers, most already have updated versions on Windows Update and are available for download now as optional updates. In a few weeks we'll start to deliver these updated drivers to PCs automatically via Windows Update.

We're working with the providers of the remaining devices to get updated versions of the drivers to our customers as well. In the meantime, Windows Update will recognize PCs with drivers that may be problematic and postpone offering SP1 to those PCs until it has installed corrected drivers or other applicable updates. Either way, Windows Update works to detect whether or not your system is ready for SP1 and not offer it to you until the time is right.

So I have Microsoft's assurance that they are working with SigmaTel, or Gateway, maybe both, to make sure that the updated and Vista SP1 compatible driver will be released, when was that again? Oh yes....maybe in "a few weeks" but I can rest assured that Windows Update will "not offer it to (me) until the time is right."

Looks like I need to be content to just accept the level of relationship I am at with Microsoft Vista and this "made for Vista" Gateway laptop for now.

I don't know.

Looks to me like Gateway/SigmaTel needs to work harder at wooing Windows Update.

Maybe some dates at fancier restaurants? Rumor has it that the Seattle Space Needle has a pretty romantic restaurant and view.

Some more bling? I hear diamonds are a girls best friend.

Then again, I heard that black and white cows are happier in California. Maybe I could spring for a weekend getaway for Microsoft and Gateway. Should feel right at home.

Until Microsoft and Gateway can figure out how to get past third-base on this driver thing, I guess I have to accept for now the fact that Claus gets no Vista SP1 soup.


I'll let you know when the compatible driver version is released....Goodness knows I'll be watching and searching and checking each week.

Might be a while....

Update: Looks like I'm not the only one with this "driver" issue...Microsoft MVP and security issue watcher Donna Buenaventura is also getting cheated out of Vista SP1 for similar driver issues...and not getting much OEM support help either; No Vista SP1 yet here...issue on Dell drivers for Sigmatel & Logitech quickcam.

I'm now wondering what impact this might have down the road as April comes on and "regular folk" start looking and expecting Vista SP1 delivery. You know, all those moms and pops whose geeky kids talked 'em into getting a spanking-new Vista pc system over the past holiday season knowing Vista SP1 was looming on the Spring horizon.

Think there will be some complaints when everyone is talking about Vista SP1 over at the bingo hall and Grandma Jones goes home and can't figure out why Vista SP1 isn't on her machine?

Or what happens when she calls for help from the OEM pc support desk and they can't get it on?

Or how about those folks who turn to those BigBox hire-a-geek services to try to get Vista SP1 installed. I wonder how many will end up getting new system-boards, or hard drives, or upgraded memory, or entire system restoration services to "fix" this issue...and still have it remain.

Or get the "full" Vista SP1 pack installed as a last-ditch fix and end up tanking their Vista system entirely, or maybe now the sound won't work and they have to pony-up $$$ for a new "fixed" sound-card solution, just to get Vista SP1 installed and loaded.

I seriously hope these "incompatible" drivers get fixed by next month, or I think we will hear quite a bit of screaming and hollaring.

And believe me, Grandma Jones, really can call up the cows when she gets rilled up.



Anonymous said...

Me too:
Gateway MT6832b with the unsupported drivers. Still waiting for my SP1....

Claus Valca said...

Yeah, it bites.

I eventually decided "what the heck" and took the manual download and install method.

Sometimes I go risky!

All for Naught...Soup after all

In my Gateway model's experience, it ended up working fine. No driver issues were encoutered. Sound remains fine and nothing broke.

Lucky for me.....

Hang in there...