HP Warns AMD Desktop Owners To Wait On SP3

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"Microsoft is also developing a prerequisite fix that must be downloaded before SP3 will automatically install prior to its proactive distribution of SP3. HP recommends consumers with AMD-based desktops wait until after HP's or Microsoft's updates have been deployed on their systems to install service pack 3," said Tiffany Smith of Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP's Personal Systems Group.

A glitch related to computer makers' deployment of XP service pack 1 Sysprep images from Intel-based desktop PCs to non-Intel machines can cause the non-Intel desktops to freeze up or enter an "endless reboot" cycle when XP SP3 is installed. The problem, according to a Microsoft Knowledge Base article, has been narrowed down to an orphaned registry key that remains on some non-Intel desktops that causes an attempted load of a non-existent Intel processor driver, Intelppm.sys, after installing SP2 or SP3.

The glitch seems to largely affect HP desktops built on Advanced Micro Devices chips, though some ChannelWeb forum commenters have complained of similar system crash and reboot problems following the installation of SP3 on PCs from Dell, Lenovo and Gateway, and chipsets from Asus. At least one reports the problem on an Intel-based PC.

HP's Smith said the glitch isn't widespread in the computer maker's product line.

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"The issue with SP3 was identified by early adopters of AMD-based PCs who have proactively downloaded the new service pack. This has only affected a small number of AMD-based HP consumer desktop systems, and no other HP products are affected by this issue," Smith said.

"The affected HP systems do not have an Intel driver loaded onto them, but there is a services registry entry that SP3 appears to be recognizing as an instruction to load the Intel driver, and when it can't find it, it causes the failure."

Smith recommended affected parties contact HP customer support for assistance in resolving the issue. An HP Customer Care article has also been posted with instructions on recovering from the error.

Smith said HP is "working diligently with Microsoft on a software update" that will be proactively distributed to HP customers this week through the vendor's automated HP Update service. The patch is named SP37394 and can be found via search on HP's Web site.