Archive for December, 2008

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Blank Device Manager

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

I had a client yesterday that was trying to install SP3 but was unsuccessful. So, I spent some time on it. I had run UBCD4Win to check for malware but nothing was found. I had forced Windows XP to boot into a  clean boot mode. Which gave me a the same access denied error as running the SP3 update. In the end, the problem ended up being Webroot Spy Sweeper. I uninstalled it and the Update worked perfectly.

Here is where things got interesting… Apparently the client said that they could not connect online, so after some quick over the phone help I told them to go into device manager and….It was blank!  I found a great list of common fixes for this issue at I talked the user through most of these but once I hit the Apropos Rootkit solution on the list I told the user to bring the computer back…. They live 2 houses down, so it’s not too much of an inconveinance for free IT work.

I ran the aproposfix tool in safe mode and removed some more entries in the registry associated with contextplus but that was of no help. Upon searching for the fix online, I ran across this arcticle on MS knowledgbase. After running fixccs.exe in safemode everything worked fine.

The MS article suggests the following “This problem may occur when an antivirus application is running during the installation of Windows XP SP3.” Well, this user didn’t have an AV client installed (I told them to try Avira Antivir, my personal favorite.) My theroy about this is that the Rootkit may have interferred during the SP3 update.

Hopefully this post will be useful to anyone else running into a simialr issue.