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XP SP2: Lock Up or Will Not Boot After SP2 Install on Prescott

Service Pack 2 will cause some systems with the early version of the Prescott chip to lock up.

You install SP2 on your Prescott. Your system functions normally until you reboot, and then it hangs. You cannot safe boot; you cannot restore. You cannot do anything. You lock up every single time.

If your BIOS does not update Prescott’s microcode to Revision 8 or better, you will see the error.

You can test for it beforehand by checking your microcode revision level. Use this Intel utility to identify it:

If you have a current locking system, here are the two things you can do:

    Disable Cache in Your BIOS
    When your system is booting, enter your BIOS screen. Disable your Level 1 and Level 2 cache and save. Reboot the system, and let it sit. Your system will be very slow at this point, but it will boot. Uninstall SP2 through the Add/Remove Program section of your control panel. See this tech-recipe for further uninstall details. After you uninstall, update your BIOS, and then reinstall XP SP2.
    Rename Update.Sys
    Jedi ninjas, this is for you. Boot from your XP CD-ROM to the recovery console or boot to a separate OS. Rename %windir%\system32\drivers\update.sys to anything else. You should be able to boot into XP now. Update your BIOS and you will be set!
David Kirk
David Kirk
David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.


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