Microsoft pulls Vista SP1 update

The company retracts a prerequisite update for downloading Vista Service Pack 1 after some customers complain of problems.

Microsoft has stopped automatically distributing a prerequisite piece of software for Vista Service Pack 1, following some customer complaints that it had caused system problems.

Servicing stack update KB937287, released last week, contained updates to Windows Vista installation software, and was billed as being "necessary to successfully install and to remove Windows Vista SP1 (Service Pack 1) on all versions of Windows Vista."

Microsoft stopped distributing the update on Wednesday, according to a blog post by Microsoft product manager Nick White.

"We've heard a few reports about problems customers may be experiencing as a result of KB937287," wrote White. "Immediately after receiving reports of this error, we made the decision to temporarily suspend automatic distribution of the update to avoid further customer impact while we investigate possible causes."

Vista SP1 is already available to subscribers to the Microsoft Developer Network but won't receive a formal public release until mid-March.

One irate Windows Vista Ultimate user replied to White's blog post, saying the prerequisite had corrupted a PC and resulted in the need to reformat the hard drive, with the resulting loss of all of the files and programs. When advised by an anonymous contributor of the System Restore option on the Vista installation disc, the Vista Ultimate user replied that the copy of Vista had been purchased and downloaded from the Internet, so there was no disc.

Two users complained that Windows Update prompted them to install the prerequisite, even after they had installed it.

Another user, S Marusic, wrote: "New Dell Inspiron PC stuck on the update loop as well. Any ETA from Microsoft on when/how to fix it? My client has valuable data that I need to consider stripping off the (hard drive) unless a patch/fix comes out soon...Help!"

According to Microsoft's White: "This problem only affects a small number of customers in unique circumstances."

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.