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Posted 1 Apr 2009
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Installing XP SP3 "Access Denied"

, 11 Dec 2009
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Installing XP SP3 "Access Denied"

I like helping people, but I do not like doing support. It's not really my thing. However, when I get a call from my father… I provide support.

He wasn't able to install Service Pack 3 on his Windows XP computer. I tried it and, after a very lengthy process, received this message: "Access Denied"

I found a link on a Microsoft Web Site which described the error and offered some workarounds to try:

I followed the suggestions but resetting the registry keys did not work (you download and install a tool and then run a command script). The command script tripped up and reported errors on some keys. The keys it gave errors on were deep in the registry: In registry places so deep, dark and remote that even brave men tremble at the mere thought of accessing them. Back to Google…

I found another web site that said Microsoft provided command script to reset the registry keys was incorrect. They posted this script:

cd /d "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Resource Kits\Tools"
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subdirectories %windir%\*.* /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\repair\secsetup.inf /db secsetup.sdb /verbose

This script worked and I was able to install XP SP3 on my father's PC. His virus software had expired so I removed it and installed a free one: Avast.  After the install, I had it do a full system scan. It found a few suspect files which I had the anti-virus software delete. It was a happy ending.

I hope someone finds this helpful.

Steve Wellens


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Steve Wellens
EndWell Software, Inc.
United States United States
I am an independent contractor/consultant working in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota. I work in .Net, Asp.Net, C#, C++, XML, SQL, Windows Forms, HTML, CSS, etc., etc., etc.

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