Beware Service Packs for Windows Vista under Parallels

A word to the wise, beware installing Service Packs for Windows Vista running as a virtual machine under Parallels on your Mac.

I wanted to upgrade my Internet Explorer from 7 to 9 the other day, but the installer said I needed to install Vista Service Pack 1 and 2. So I dutifully downloaded them, and installed SP1. Vista rebooted…except it didn't. It hung with the DOS screen saying something like '!! 0xc0190036 !! 5612/68495'

I Googled. Bunch of links (I'm not the first clearly) like:

Vista won't boot after Service Pack 1 installation – Vista Help

SP1 Fails: Message: !! 0xc0190036 !! – Vista Forums

Vista won't boot windows after SP1 update – PC Help Forum

Vista won't start after attempt to install Service Pack 1 – Microsoft Answers

Black screen on reboot during install, !! 0xc0190036 !! 4068/72408 (cdosys.dll.mui) flashing onscreen

All sorts of advice, which mostly wind up falling back to the old 'clean install' recommendation. Gotta love an operating system that the most common piece of advice to fix it is 'turn it off and turn it on', and the second most common is 'just install Windows again'.

I took the absolute chicken way out because I didn't feel like wasting a day of my life frigging around with some esoteric driver/DLL/system program thingy from my Vista install. So I went and bought Windows 7. I've spent 3 years living with the mistake of installing Vista on my Parallels when I could have easily enough dropped in a copy of XP. Then again, I could have got up off my behind and upgraded to Win7 ages ago, so I pay the price for laziness, or lack of a spare day in my life to install Windows, plus all my Visual Studio/SQL etc tools.

Anyhow, Windows 7 installed without a hitch into a Parallels virtual machine. Interestingly the VM takes up just over half the space of Vista – Vista was a little under 50Gb, as of today Win7 is chewing up 25Gb. I don't store any data on the VM other than cloud-based synced files – for example Team Foundation Server source control files. Everything else is stored outside the Parallels VM so it will backup via Time Machine. And I have exactly the same software installed other probably a few utilities, certainly not enough to explain a nearly 25Gb difference.

Must say, Win7 is chugging along way faster than Vista ever did. So the pain was probably worth it after all.





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