Put in a support to M$ and here is an excerpt from their email reply:
From your description, I understand that after installed Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), the computer cannot boot up properly even though we have tried all the options. We have to reinstall the Windows XP with lost of data in My Documents folder. If there has been any misunderstanding, please let me know.
I understand the inconvenience you have experienced. Please be assured that I will do my best to help you.
I am sorry for the inconvenience you have encountered. Service Pack 3 is developed to improve the computerís performance. However, since different computers have different environments, some installed third party applications or device drivers may conflict with Service Pack 3 which can influence the computerís performance and cause unexpected problems.
In addition, if you are using a branded computer, which is also known as an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) PC, the operating system and applications on your computer are highly customized by the original computer manufacturer. Therefore, the computer system may not be fully compatible with the standard version of the latest service pack. Usually, they will publish a compatibility patch or installation guide for these service packs.
According to this issue, it can occur if the image of an Intel-based computer is deployed on a nonIntel-based computer. If you would like to reinstall SP3, please let me know so we can disable the Intel Processor Device Driver and then reinstalling SP3 to check the issue next time.
Since SP3 includes previous Service Packs and provide convenient, all-in-one access to the most up-to-date drivers, tools, security updates, patches, and customer-requested product changes. We recommended our customer install it. But if it crashes the system for causing certain issue or you don't want to install it right now, we can temporarily block it from installing and it would not affect our security level if we have other updates installed.
If you would like to install it, please let me know so we can help you install it.
If you donít want to install it right now, please refer to the following steps to block it so it will not be offered.
1. Download the file from the following link:
Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit
2. Run the file and the SP Blocker Tool window would pop-up.
3. Click Yes and then "Browser" to locate a folder we would use to save the files. For example: C:
4. Click 'OK' and the file would be saved in C:
5. Open My computer and double click to open C drive.
6. Double click to run the "SPBlockingTool.exe" program and we will receive an "Action successfully completed" notice.
After that, SP3 would not be pushed from Windows Update website and Automatic Updates.
If you would like to reinstall SP3, please collect the System Information for further research. As the System Information file is a little large, please wait for enough time when collecting it in order to make sure it is collected correctly.
How to collect the System Information:
The System Information can provide us with more information about the current status of the system. I would like to check it for you. Please send it to me using the following steps:
1. Click "Start", go to "Run", type in "MSINFO32" (without quotation marks) and press Enter to start System Information.
2. On the popup window, on the menu bar, click "File", and click "Save to"; save it as an NFO file, such as "system.nfo" to your local Desktop.
3. Find the file, right-click on this file, click "Send To", and click "Compressed (zipped) Folder".
Please send it as an attachment to (email address removed)
Note: When attaching files to emails, the process will vary depending on the email application being used. While you are composing the email, most applications will provide you with either an "Attach" button or a Paper Clip Icon to click in order to attach a file. After clicking this button/icon you must browse to the file you wish to attach and select it by either double clicking it or clicking it once and then clicking on the "Attach" button.
Your feedback is important. Please try the above steps and let me know the results at your earliest convenience. If there are any questions or concerns, feel free to let me know.
I look forward to your reply.
(email address removed)
Microsoft Windows Support Professional
Satisfied customers are my top priority. Please let either myself or my manager know what you think of the level of service provided. You can send feedback directly to my manager, Felix Hu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I used the email method, but note the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit Micro$oft is offering if you want to block SP3.