Home ◊ Books ◊ Training Seminars ◊ Registration
|Resolving Boot and Installation Issues After Installing Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows Server 2008|
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows Server 2008 use a different underlying disk structure than earlier releases of Windows. I'd like to think of this new disk partition style as a bonus surprise that has both positive and negative aspects. The positive aspects include improved performance and stability. The negative aspects include incompatibility with earlier releases of Windows, including the original release of Windows Vista, which I'll refer to as Windows Vista Release To Manufacturer (RTM) as opposed to Windows Vista SP1.
Hi, my name is William R. Stanek. I have over 20 years of hands-on experience with advanced programming and development. My 65 books include: "Microsoft Windows Vista Administrator's Pocket Consultant 2nd Edition", "Windows Server 2003 Inside Out", "Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Administrator's Pocket Consultant", and "Microsoft IIS 7.0 Administrator's Pocket Consultant" (all from Microsoft Press). I also wrote “MCSE Core Exams in a Nutshell” and “Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide” for O’Reilly. I have an MS degree in Information Systems with distinction, and a BS degree in Computer Science magna cum laude. For fun I use to spend a lot of time mountain biking and hiking, but now my adventures in the great outdoors are mostly restricted to short treks around the Pacific Northwest.
You may encounter problems with the new disk structure in several different ways:
• Dual booting or multi-booting a computer involves installing two or more operating systems. When you install Windows Server 2008 on a computer, you may be unable to install/reinstall Windows Vista RTM when booting from media.
• When you install Windows Vista SP1 and have to recover the computer, you may be unable to reinstall Windows Vista RTM when booting from media. You may also be unable to repair the computer using the Windows Vista RTM media.
• When you dual boot a computer and install Windows Vista RTM on one disk partition and Windows Vista SP1 on another partition, you may cause the computer to be unbootable by modifying the disk configuration while using Windows Vista RTM.
NOTE: In Windows Server 2008, the disks on domain controllers may be locked so that you cannot install other operating systems or modify disks using a Windows setup program. Additionally, if you enable BitLocker Drive Encryption on a computer, Windows locks encrypted disks so that they cannot be modified using a Windows setup program.
This occurs because Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 use a different underlying disk structure than Windows Vista RTM. Any disks prepared for use by Windows Vista SP1/Windows Server 2008 Setup or Windows Vista SP1/Windows Server 2008 tools are incompatible with media for Windows Vista RTM (and media for earlier releases of Windows). There are exceptions, of course, such as for media that includes the operating system and a compliant service pack already integrated. For example, media for Windows Vista with SP1 already integrated will not have this problem.
When trying to install Windows Vista RTM from media on a computer where Windows Vista SP1 or Windows Server 2008 is currently or was previously installed, you may see the following error: “Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for installation.” Or you simply may not be able to access the computer’s disks during installation. For example, the On the Where Do You Want To Install Windows page in Setup may not list any available disks. During installation, you can try to access the computer’s disks using a command prompt. Press Shift+F10 and then type diskpart to access the disk partition utility during installation. You can try to resolve the problem by selecting a disk and then typing clean all.
On MBR disks, the Clean All command overwrites the MBR partitioning and hidden sector information. On GPT disks, the Clean All command overwrites the GPT partitioning information including the protective MBR. However, cleaning the disk partition information will not change the underlying disk structure and typically will not resolve the problem.
Fortunately, you can easily avoid or resolve these issues. Here are specific tips and techniques that will hopefully save you some headache and heartache:
• You can dual boot or multi-boot a computer to Windows Vista RTM and Windows Server 2008. If Windows Vista RTM is already installed, you can install Windows Server 2008 in a different disk partition, preferably on a different physical disk and then boot to either operating system. Keep in mind, however, if you've prepared a disk using Windows Server 2008, you may subsequently be unable to install/reinstall Windows Vista RTM on that disk when booting from media. The workaround: Boot to Windows Server 2008, log on to the computer, and then run Windows Vista Setup. Preferably, you should install Windows Vista to a different physical disk.
• After you install Windows Vista SP1, you can reinstall and recover Windows Vista when booting from media. However, you’ll need to use media compliant with the modified disk structure. This means you’ll need to reinstall using media with SP1 integrated or created using SP1.
• When you dual boot a computer and install Windows Vista RTM on one disk partition and Windows Vista SP1 on another partition, don’t modify the disk configuration while using Windows Vista RTM. Instead, only modify the computer when you are using Windows Vista SP1. This will help ensure you don’t modify the computer in a way that causes compatibility problems.
With Windows Vista Ultimate, you should create a Windows Complete PC Backup immediately after installing Windows Vista SP1. If you later need to restore the computer using the backup, you may be unable to do so from the media for Windows Vista RTM. Use media with Windows Vista and SP1 integrated. If your computer has pre-installed recovery options, you may also be able to recover the computer by completing the following steps:
1. When prompted, press F8 when starting the computer to access the Advanced Boot Options menu.
2. Using the arrow keys, select the Repair Your Computer option and then press Enter.
3. Select a keyboard layout and then click Next.
4. Select a user name, type a password, and then click OK.
5. On the System Recovery Options menu, click Windows Complete PC Restore. You will then be able to use the media containing your Complete PC Restore to restore the operating system.
As Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows Server 2008 work differently than earlier releases of Windows, including Windows Vista Release To Manufacturer (RTM), don’t assume you have to reinstall a computer completely if it fails to start—you could have a problem with the firmware configuration.
Currently, the two prevalent firmware interfaces are:
• Basic Input Output System (BIOS)
• Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)
A computer’s BIOS or EFI programming provides the hardware-level interface between hardware components and software. Firmware settings can prevent Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 from booting. In most configurations, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 are unable to boot from USB devices or removable media. As Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 are better at detecting possible boot configuration issues than their predecessors, you may not be able to boot a computer if you haven’t properly configured firmware settings for USB devices or removable media. Specifically, you’ll need to ensure that USB devices or removable media have a lower priority or boot order than your primary boot devices, including physical disks and CD/DVD drives. In some cases, you may need to disable boot from USB device and boot from removable media options to prevent compatibility problems. Additionally, note that in some instances, computers running Windows Vista RTM have a similar problem, and you resolve the problem in the same way.
Windows Vista makes extensive use of Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI). Specifically, Windows Vista relies on ACPI for sleep, resume, and hibernate functionality. Windows Vista SP1 has enhancements to detect most ACPI compatibility problems. Windows Vista SP1 records sleep, resume and hibernate failures in the boot logs and may use this information during startup to determine that your computer’s firmware isn’t fully compatible with ACPI. In this case, you typically will see a blue screen during startup that displays the following error:
Don’t panic. Note the error and the specific STOP values for your computer, which may be different from those listed above. You should then restart the computer. When you restart the computer, the previous failure will trigger Startup Repair and you’ll be prompted to start the computer or try to repair the computer. As all repair operations typically will fail, keep restarting until the computer starts and you can log on. This may require 4 or 5 restarts. Once you are able to start the computer and log on, obtain the required firmware update for your computer from the hardware vendor and apply it to your computer immediately. Applying firmware updates can be tricky. Be sure to carefully read and follow the instructions from the hardware vendor.
CAUTION: When upgrading to 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 on desktop-class systems, you may not want to remove or overwrite an existing 32-bit installation. Why? While a desktop-class computer may be able to run 64-bit versions of Windows, the hardware vendor might not support it. As a result, you may find that important drivers are only available for 32-bit versions of Windows, which isn't a big deal as there are workarounds. However, what is a big deal is that firmware updates for your computer may only be available for 32-bit versions of Windows. Thus, if your computer isn't running a 32-bit operating system, you may be unable to install the firmware update using the provided installer (which normally runs from within the operating system and then applies the firmware update during the next boot cycle). In this case, you would need to contact the hardware vendor and hope there is a supported workaround, which there may not be in many instances and this would mean that you would not be able to apply firmware updates. On the other hand, if you keep the 32-bit installation, you can use it in a pinch to apply a firmware update. Here, you would load the 32-bit installation and log on. You would then run the firmware update installer and then restart the computer to apply the firmware update during the next boot cycle. Be sure to immediately boot back into the 32-bit installation to complete and confirm the update.
Check back soon for a comprehensive article and complete details on what's changed in Windows Vista SP1.
Microsoft Windows Vista Administrator’s Pocket Consultant
By William R. Stanek
Microsoft Windows Vista Administrator’s Pocket Consultant is the readable reference that you will want on your desktop at all times. The guide is designed for quick access so you can easily find what you are looking for, and features in depth coverage of Windows Vista issues like Windows desktop customization, mobile networking, remote access and security. You’ll get the precise information you need to solve problems and get the job done—whether you are at your desk or in the field.
Windows Vista Administrator's Pocket Consultant is available everywhere Microsoft books are sold. I hope you'll order the book from your favorite bookstore. All on-line bookstores carry the book as well. Here's the direct link to order the book at these bookstores:
Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide
By William R. Stanek
With this new operating system, every corner of traditional Windows has been tweaked, overhauled, or replaced entirely. Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide offers complete details on new features and enhancements, including the superior searching and organization tools, the multimedia and collaboration suite, and the massive, top-to-bottom security-shield reconstruction. With details on setup and deployment and a detailed reference section, bestselling author and Windows expert William Stanek puts power users in full control of Windows Vista. As an added bonus, a handy, complete menu map of all versions of Vista can be found in the endpapers.
Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide is available everywhere Microsoft books are sold. I hope you'll order the book from your favorite bookstore. All on-line bookstores carry the book as well. Here's the direct link to order the book at these bookstores:
Thank you for visiting. This article is provided as a Web extra for Windows Vista Administrator’s Pocket Consultant published by Microsoft Learning and written by me, William R. Stanek. You can find the current version of this document at www.williamstanek.com/vista/.
Learn more about the feature differences between the various editions of Windows Vista... click here.
Download the Windows Vista Group Policy Reference for administrators... click here.
Everything you ever wanted to know about installing Windows Vista but were afraid to ask... click here.
Where Is It In Windows Vista: The Reference... click here.
Resolving Sleep/Resume and iPod, iTunes, My Book Compatibility Problems... click here.
Get tips and advice for installing Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1)... click here.
To help you with customizing your PC and Windows Vista, I hope you’ll buy Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide (O’Reilly, Feb 2007) or Windows Vista Administrator’s Pocket Consultant (Microsoft, Dec 2006). I wrote these books and I hope you’ll agree they’re pretty good.
Thank you for reading this article. I look forward to writing more articles.
William R. Stanek (http://www.williamstanek.com)