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Windows XP Service Pack 3 hangs on ‘Performing cleanup’

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Like many others who’ve applied Windows XP Service Pack 3 I found that when the installer reaches the ‘Performing cleanup’ step it appeared to hang.

But I could hear plenty of disk activity so I thought that something was going on, the problem was whether it was in some sort of loop and not making any progress or just taking a long time to do what it needed to do.

I searched for ‘windows xp sp3 hangs performing cleanup’ and found numerous posts suggesting that if the installation of SP3 takes longer than two hours then you should kill the update task and reboot. Not surprisingly, many people following this advice then complained that their PC either wouldn’t reboot or that it now regularly blue screened.

I knew there’d be a log file somewhere and as long as this showed that the installation was progressing then it’d be best to leave it to complete not matter how long it took.

Opening Windows Explorer, browsing to C:\Windows and ordering by Date/Time descending. It was obvious that log files for knowledgebase articles had been created within the past few minutes. Refreshing the display showed fresh activity. So, the installation was progressing. I checked every ten minutes to confirm that this was still the case and then, finally, 2 hours and 57 minutes after starting the install, it completed successfully.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 log files

Windows XP Service Pack 3 log files

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Written by Sea Monkey

August 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Environments

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