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 the 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

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