Visual Studio 2005 SP1 installation heck

I get my monthly patches from Microsoft via Windows Update. I have configured it to download updates automatically and prompt me before installing so that I could verify things to get installed.

However, with the endless flow of patches (touché, Microsoft), I have become sloppy. I tend to accept the updates without looking at them. And the other day, it hit the fan.

Windows Update decided that I needed to install Visual Studio (aka Vicious Studio) 2005 SP1, something that I have postponed in dread for some time. So, off it went starting to upgrade to SP1, making my computer virtually useless for a couple of hours. Then, it suddenly finished, concluding that “the item could not be successfully installed” without explaining why. While running, the “low disk space” warning bubble flashed from time to time, so I decided to free some disk space (I had about 2 GB free at the time).

After freeing disk space, I restarted the installation in the evening and I went to bed. The next morning, I found that once again, the installation had quit without any explanation why. So, I went on to delete some more files from my hard drive – nothing much, maybe a few hundred megabytes.

So, once again, before going to bed, I restarted the installation. The next morning, lo and behold, the installation was successful. I am pretty clueless about why it worked this time, and not before.