Couple of weeks ago I finally came about to upgrade my laptop to Vista SP1. Unfortunately the installation failed with one of these general errors, which indicate there is a corrupt file in my system. I tried to look up the error, but the proposed solutions were so wide in range that soon after I realized that I'll be loosing a lot of time fixing this - more than I wanted to spend. Some suggested it's time for a clean install, but some how this was not a good option for me. I would much rather stay without SP1 than reinstall tons of software.
Since in the past I made the mistake to install some early bits of Visual Studio and other products, I knew that I probably had leftovers from alphas and betas I did not need, but it was very time consuming to clean those. This is when I got a word that Microsoft provides free support for installation issues with SP1. So I initiated a support ticket using the online chat, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had to deal with several associates and the conversation kept going smoothly using the online chat tool, rather than phone, this I liked a lot. At some point the support rep asked me to take control over my desktop and ran some cleaning and analytical tools. Every time I had to discontinue the session I was called at the time requested by me to continue the work on the PC. At the end of the day the SP1 installed properly and my personal settings were preserved.
If you have issues installing Vista SP1 and don't have time to fix things the DIY way, try MS Support for free until March 18, 2009:
We all wish operating systems run without any flaws or issues, however every once in a while this is not meant to be. In these cases free support is a really handy option.