My nightmare trying to upgrade to Vista SP1

Pity me. I'm trying to update to Vista SP1 and it turns out I'm one of the people on the Vista SP1 banned driver list. I've wasted hours of my life that I won't get back, and still no SP1. I'll show you what I've gone through, including screenshots, so that you don't have to go through this mess yourself.

Even though Vista SP1 has been released, it won't show up on your machine yet (and didn't show up on mine) because it won't be available via Automatic Updates for a month or so. Even then, it won't hit everyone's machine right away, because it will be gradually rolled out.

So to update, I did what Microsoft suggested, check for it via Windows Update by selecting Control Panel --> Check for Updates, then clicking the Check for updates link.

When I did that, though, I was told no new updates were available, as you can see in the screenshot below.


Next step --- check the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 948343 that explains why SP1 might not be installing properly. None of the reasons seemed to apply to me, except possibly the list of drivers that cause problems with SP1. Anyone with a driver on that list won't be able to get SP1. Here's the list of audio drivers and display drivers. For a fuller list, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 948343.

Audio drivers

Realtek AC'97

  • For x86-based computers: Alcxwdm.sys - version or earlier
  • For x64-based computers: Alcwdm64.sys - version or earlier
  • For x86-based computers: Sthda.sys - version 5.10.5762.0 or earlier
  • For x64-based computers: Sthda64.sys - version 5.10.5762.0 or earlier
  • For x86-based computers: Stwrt.sys - version 6.10.5511.0 or earlier
  • For x64-based computers: Stwrt64.sys - version 6.10.5511.0 or earlier
Creative Audigy
  • For x86-based and x64-based computers: Ctaud2k.sys - version or earlier
  • For x86-based computers: P17.sys – all versions (This was originally a Windows XP-based driver.)
Conexant HD Audio
  • For x86-based computers: Chdart.sys - version or earlier
  • For x64-based computers: Chdart64.sys - version or earlier

Display drivers

Intel Display

  • For x86-based computers: Igdkmd32.sys – versions between and including driver and
  • For x64-based computers: Igdkmd64.sys – versions between and including driver and
Now, I think that I'm like most people; off the top of my head I don't know the exact version numbers of every driver on my computer. And there's no simple way to find that out, no simple list you can look at.

What to do? Head to Device Manager, by typing Device Manager into the Start menu, and clicking on the Device Manager icon that appears. Then I had to click through every device on my PC, and see if it's on the list of banned drivers.

Sure enough, I saw that I have a SigmaTel audio driver. So I right-clicked it, selected Properties, clicked the Driver tab, then clicked Driver Details. A long list of associated drivers appeared. I had to check every single one of them against the banned drivers list. I finally found the culprit, as you can see below.


An updated driver didn't show up in Windows Update, so I followed Microsoft's advice and headed to the SigmaTel Web site, and found the support page. But it turns out that SigmaTel sold its entire audio line to IDT, so SigmaTel had no information about drivers.

Next stop, the IDT Web, specifically the page on the site that offers updates on Windows Vista support. Finally, I figured, I'm getting close.


When I got to the page, I encountered this annoying message:

IDT currently does not provide end-user support or drivers for PC Audio products. This includes the PC and Notebook audio product lines acquired from Sigmatel.

Our Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partners have requested that all technical support for end-users and product related questions for their models be handled by the OEM directly.

By now, I'm starting to get exceedingly frustrated. I've now got to head to the Dell site. After a whole lot of futzing and fussing, dead-ends and misdirections, I finally manage to get to a page that lets me enter the model and number of my PC. It then includes links to all the drivers for it, including the SigmaTel audio driver.

Great, I figure, I'm finally getting closer.

Wrong again!

As you can see in the screen below, the driver that it says I can download appears to be an older driver than the one on my system. So downloading it won't help. There's a possiblity that the Dell driver listed doesn't really match the hardware on my system, or that it's a driver for a different audio device. But there's no way for me to know that --- the Dell site told me this is the driver I need.


At that point, I threw up my hands, and figured that I don't need Vista SP1 that badly, anyway. I have it installed on another machine, a laptop, and as I've reported in a previous blog, it's not exactly an earthshaking update.

I know that I can always try to update the driver directly from the Device Manager. But I've already wasted enough hours of my life on this. I figure it's time to get some real work done.

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