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Old 04. Jun 2009, 07:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 95
Default Access denied when installing XP SP3


Lots of people are having this problem. The XP SP3 installation breaks off at about 60% completion, reports "Access Denied" and does a rollback. I have heard and read all sorts of stuff about this, from it being a trojan, to a virus, etc etc. The simple truth here is that some program has changed the registry so that SP3 can not be installed under administrator rights! Just which keys have been changed is harder to discover!

There are a number of possible reasons for this, I suspect the main reason is that a couple of anti-spyware programs change registry values which prevent access.

Having had this problem on a number of machines, I went looking for a "simple" solution. ( The "not simple" solution is to do a clean install!). The other "Not simple" solution is to search the registry for the reason the update failed.

To do this,;

Press "Start" and then "Run"
Enter the following: %windir%\svcpack.log
Click on "search"
Enter: DoRegistryUpdatesFailed

You should find something like this; DoInstallation:DoRegistryUpdates failed. Access is denied. Message displayed to the user: Access is denied.

( is a time stamp).

Now you have to search the registry BEFORE the error and try to find out which Registry Key caused it.

This can take a long time, and there is no guarantee you will find the error either!


Here is some info from Microsoft on this;

Anyway, I found the following script for resetting registry and file permissions and it works! I have now used it on three single user and one multi-user machine, and it worked perfectly each time, allowing a complete SP3 install.

Apparently this is the only simple "Fix" extant for this problem.

You need the tool SubinACL;

If you have XP-Home then you also need SecEdit ( On XP-Pro this tool is already present);

The file secedit.chm must be placed in windows\help\ and the file secedit.exe in windows\system32\

Now you need the service pack SP3 complete. Place the service pack in the root directory, ( usually C:\ ) for easy access. ( You have to have the pack ready as a complete download, because you can not do an automatic installation in safe mode).

Now you have to write a script called "reset.cmd"
Simply open a text file, copy the following script into it, and save it as "reset.cmd" to your root. ( C:\ ).

cd /d "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Resource Kits\Tools"
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subdirectories %windir%\*.* /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\repair\secsetup.inf /db secsetup.sdb /verbose

More info;;EN-US;313222

Now you have to boot your machine into "Safe Mode" by holding down the "F8" key while the machine is booting.

You may now log in as administrator. ( You MUST log in as administrator);

If no logon screen appears, press <CTRL ALT DELETE> click on "Log Off" and then the log in screen should appear.

Now double click on the script you wrote "reset.cmd" ( you may also start the script by clicking on "Run" and entering the name of the file).

The process which starts can take a while. It varies from a few minutes up to half an hour!

The error report "Failed" can be ignored as long as the number of failures is small. The "Syntax Error" report must be ZERO !!!

When all script processes are complete, double click on the SP3 update package, and the installation will commence.

When the service pack is installed, re-boot the machine.

As this script resets the registry and file permissions, it will change many "tweaks" and stuff like that.



Mike Connor

Last edited by Mike Connor; 04. Jun 2009 at 07:39 AM.
Mike Connor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21. Aug 2009, 06:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 6

My daughter has an old HP and I couldn't get SP3 installed because of the exact same errors. What I finally traced it to is the fact that I had to have SP2 installed first. Also, I could not install SP3 off the disk, had to use Microsoft Update over a few days.
heavy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14. Sep 2010, 07:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1

Thanks so much helped me
joe180995 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16. Sep 2010, 03:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 178

Perhaps this will be of service regarding the installation of the various Service packs, but I had problems with both 2 and 3- on two occasions corrupting the operating system requiring a fresh install. A very nice fellow at Microsoft suggested that I try installing them in Safe Mode and they went on with no problem whatsoever.

Hope this helps.
Kyuzo is offline   Reply With Quote

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