Having already received
dozens of client inquiries on Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) I thought it might be an interesting learning experience
to install the Release Candidate Refresh on my desktop at home. Boy was I
right, but the first attempt wasn’t exactly successful or pleasant.

You see, my primary hard drive
recently kicked the bucket. So I had to replace it and reinstall Windows Vista.
Thankfully I backed up all of my content! But I was in such a rush to install
SP1 that when I loaded the DVD and accepted the 13 page license terms (which I
read thoroughly of course), my PC spent over two hours installing Stages 1
through 3 — rebooting three times in the process — only to inform me that the
Service Pack did not install; the machine reverted to its initial state. Uh oh,
did I not reactivate Windows Vista before attempting this?

For those who haven’t
experienced reduced functionality mode in Windows, it’s not a comforting
experience. Picture a black screen, no access to your data or applications, and
no Internet connectivity — other than to purchase a valid copy of Windows
Vista, that is. Sheepishly feeling like a criminal, I called Microsoft’s help
line to get my activation code to bring my PC back to life. Once activated, I
reattempted the SP1 installation three times — all unsuccessfully. Each attempt
resulted in the cryptic error code 0xc004f013. I reached out to Microsoft with
my less-than-satisfactory experience and they delivered good news. They’re
shipping me the Release Candidate Refresh 2 of SP1, which they tell me should
do the trick.

I’ll let you know how it turns
out, but it can’t end any worse than this first attempt — can it?

By Benjamin Gray

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