Heads-Up for a Small Subset of Computer Users

If you have a Hewlett-Packard desktop computer with an AMD processor and are running the factory install of Windows XP, you may wish to know that, as configured from the factory, your computer will stop working, in a way that will do no irreparable harm but may startle you considerably, if you install XP Service Pack 3.

Oddly, this is not Microsoft’s fault, it’s HP’s; they were lazy and didn’t remove an Intel processor driver, intelppm.sys, from the disk image used to create the AMD systems. This is normally not a problem, but when restarting after the application of XPSP3, it becomes one, to the tune of rebooting forever and ever until you stick your foot in the door and boot into safe mode. I ran into this interesting state of affairs this morning.

The fix that worked for me is relatively simple – get into the recovery console and tell it “disable intelppm”, and Bob’s your uncle. There are a few other ways of getting it done, including one for regedit studs. More information is here.

There are also a couple of other things that can cause SP3 to have reboot problems, but that seems to be the most prevalent and it’s the one I have personal experience with, so I figured I’d do a little signal repeating. More info on the other failure states can be found here (and if you follow the links far enough, you’ll end up at the first page I linked about).

Benjamin D. Hutchins is an author, public relations writer, and semiprofessional muser upon the random. His other nonfiction writings can be found here and here.

About Gryphon

In his career - well, not so much a career as a series of interesting but usually ill-advised vocational choices, if we're being honest - Benjamin D. Hutchins has been a tech support grunt, an Internet operations tech, a small-town print reporter, a public relations writer, and a semiprofessional muser upon the random. Now he's working on several books (none of which, just to buck tradition, is the Great American Novel), eyeing the relentless march of personal gadget technology with bemusement and often suspicion, and wondering what's with these kids today, with their clothes and their hair and that stuff they think is music.His first book, Off the Top of My Head: Personal Reflections of a Small-Town Newsman, can be had here or here.
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  • Brian Purcell

    My wife uses an HP laptop with Windows XP and AMD. I already installed SP3 before this notification, but I didn’t have any problems. Should I still go through the steps (after the fact) to make sure there are no future problems?

  • http://www.eyrie-productions.com/ Gryphon

    As far as I know, the HP problem only affects their desktop systems with AMD processors; laptops should be in the clear. I guess they used a different master disk image for those (which stands to reason). Disabling intelppm on those systems wouldn’t hurt anything, but it’s probably not there in the first place.

    That does remind me, though, of a caveat that seems kind of obvious, but bears repeating: If you have a system with an Intel processor and SP3 is giving you trouble, it’s not for the same cause; do not disable this driver. Doing so will make the system not work in other, less easily remedied ways.