Microsoft's service pack three (SP3) for Windows XP has caused havoc on hundreds of PCs, just hours after it was released as an automatic update.
Angry customers have vented their spleen on the firm's Windows XP message board, posting complaints that include spontaneous PC reboots and system crashes after the service pack installs.
Poster Dan said: "I installed SP3 this morning but when rebooting it loops between startup screen and restarting screen. I can boot into safe mode. Is uninstalling XP service pack 3 the only resolution?"
Doug W complained: "After three attempts [to install XP SP3] with different configurations each time, System Restore was the only way to get me out of deep shit."
Similar problems were reported by frustrated customers throughout the message board.
Microsoft finally released XP SP3 on Tuesday this week. It was supposed to be available last week, but an eleventh hour FAIL between the service pack and its point-of-sale application – Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) – forced Microsoft to put the cork back in the bottle while it sorted out the problem.
The cock-up also affected Windows Vista SP1.
Earlier this week Microsoft said it had deployed a band-aid filter for the automatic Windows Update to block RMS customers from getting the service packs while it scurries to fix the glitch.
Whether the latest issues will be patched remains to be seen. But it's likely the Microsoft Windows teams will spit out further updates to address the system reboots and crashes being reported in XP SP3.
Meanwhile, Jesper Johansson, a prominent Windows blogger, has claimed that the problem only involves machines using AMD processors.
Microsoft, which wasn't immediately available for comment, had said the long-awaited, final service pack for XP "includes a small number of new functionalities, which do not significantly change customers' experience with the operating system". ®