How to Fix a Failing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Install

Posted March 2, 2011 by Ben in Windows 7

Sometimes Windows patches or service packs simply will not install successfully. Following the definition of insanity and going back to Microsoft Update to try again and again does not usually fix the problem. Here are 3 things you can do to get that update installed.

I recommend completing all of the following, in order, before trying to re-install the update:

1. Check the system drive for filesystem errors:

-Open an Administrative command prompt (hit Windows key, type cmd, hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter)

-Type: chkdsk c: /f

-Hit “y” when prompted

-Reboot and wait

2. Run the System File Checker:

-Open an Administrative command prompt

-Type: sfc /scannow

-Wait for completion


3. Download and run the Windows Update Readiness Tool:

-Read and then follow the appropriate download link here

-Run the downloaded Update Readiness Tool

-Wait patiently for it to complete, this may take some time with little indication of progress until the end

-See the logs after it finishes: %systemroot%\Logs\CBS\CheckSUR.log and CheckSUR.persist.log

The Conversation

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  • David Lawrence

    An alternative solution. I know it was a problem with Vista, can’t yet confirm it is with 7. If you dual boot and the MBR of your primary boot device doesn’t have the windows bootloader in it the update may not work. If you’re lucky enough to have separate HDDs for your windows install and other OSs just change the boot order in the bios temporarily for the update. If you don’t have multiple HDDs, you can try using the windows recovery tools to re-image the MBR but then you have the pleasure of getting GRUB/Lilo/whatever back into the MBR.

    • Jason

      Off and on, for years, I’ve tried installing service pack 1 for windows 7 as part of the other updates, and its never worked. So, I tried all the above: check disk, scan, readiness tool. I also uninstalled security essentials as I’ve heard anti-virus software can hinder the process. It continues to do what it has always done: gets to 99% complete in configuring the service pack, then fails. Log shows no problems:
      Checking System Update Readiness.
      Binary Version 6.1.7601.21645
      Package Version 19.0
      2013-07-25 16:46

      Checking Windows Servicing Packages

      Checking Package Manifests and Catalogs

      Checking Package Watchlist

      Checking Component Watchlist

      Checking Packages

      Checking Component Store

      Seconds executed: 821
      No errors detected

  • John

    “-See the logs after it finishes: %systemroot%LogsCBSCheckSUR.log and CheckSUR.persist.log”

    I got that far…now what? I’ve got the following errors:

    Unavailable repair files:

    • Ben Kendall

      John, if you have already completed the sfc /scannow and then the Update Readiness tool still reports those errors, you will likely have to run a repair installation from the original Windows 7 installation media.

  • extracrispy

    Ran both the Chkdsk and the System File checker functions. Installed the Windows Update Readiness Tool. Upon a 3rd reboot, I get the following error: 0cx000000e

    Used the System Recovery Options from the Windows 7 Install Disk and the Startup Repair has diagnosed that:
    “The Partition Table does not have a valid System Partition”
    and the Repair Action: Partition Table Repair

    Opened the Command Prompt from the System Recovery Options and ran the bootrec.exe tools. The following files corrupt and unreadable:

    F:WindowsOffline Web Pages

    After some researching, I found this article:

    “WARNING: When Chkdsk detects problems with the file system and attempts to repair the damage, data loss can occur. Microsoft does not recommend running Chkdsk with the /f command-line switch unless you have a full backup of your hard disk. ”

    Fortunately, I have a full backup of this problem HD (which is just a boot HD–Data is on another drive and backed up).

    1st Question is, do I have to do a New Install of Windows 7 just so I can do a restore from my backup?

    2nd Question: Were you not aware about problems with the /f command-line and Chkdsk? Seems to be a pretty serious issue.

  • Deelaw

    Just putting my experience out there. Windows Update Readiness Tool gave me this:

    Unavailable repair files:

    …but I didn’t want to whip out my Windows 7 DVD just for one file, so I ignored and tried installing SP1 again, and it worked.

  • haildamage

    here is a solution for dual boots where the windows partition is not the ‘active’ partition:

    1. Click Start > type “diskpart”
    2. Run the following command:
    select disk 0
    list partition
    select partition x

    x is the partition of Windows, you can look at the partition size to recognize it.
    3. Update to SP1, then restart.
    4. Run diskpart again and use following commands:
    select disk 0
    list partition
    select partition y

    y is the partirtion of Mac OS, you can look at the partition size to recognize it.

    And now you have Windows 7 updated to SP1 while keeping the original dualboot.
    Good luck!

  • ish

    Tried your instructions and they worked perfectly. The SP1 installed and everything went find until this last 7 installation patches from MS. They failed to installed several times. All I did to fix was install one at a time and it worked.

  • Milan

    Maybe you can try turning off your antivirus, and then try again.

  • bob

    I have the Window 7 (Ultimate) SP1 install fail for long time. Every time shut down the computer, it install. when you power on, it complete the install about the 10% then reverting. So suffered. I searched on the wen for many suggestions, but no one works. Finally I figured out solution: turn-off the Microsoft Essential, run Microsoft update and install the updates including the SP1. You cannot see the SP1 in the over 100 updated files. but after installation is done. and re-boot the computer. no more that install and reverting happen again.
    Remember turn on the Essential again.