It’s the day after Patch Tuesday, and my Vista Business machine has lost ALL network connectivty


I try to be a responsible security professional, and practice what I preach. I know it’s important to keep operating systems and applications updated with security patches, so I have Microsoft’s Automatic Update configured on my home Vista PC to install automatically. I tell my friends to do this, since I don’t want them to get 0wned. I have my mom’s PC set for AU since I don’t have the time to deal with her computer gremlins that are a result of her unsafe surfing.

What did this bring me? A Vista Business 64-bit machine with no network connectivity. Of course it happens when I’m late for a client appointment and I need the machine so I can print out a Google map to the site. To top it off, it snowed six inches last night, and I know the roads are going to suck.

I rebooted my machine, logged in normally, and still had no network connection. I tried to release and renew my IP, but was told the network adapter was not connected.

Begrudgingly, I fired up Event Viewer and found a number of entries for Event 4375:

Windows Servicing failed to complete the process of setting package KB938371_40 (Update) into Staging(Staging) state

and Event 4385:

Windows Servicing failed to complete the process of changing update 942831-1_RTM_neutral_LDR from package KB942831(Security Update) into Staging(Staging) state

KB 938371 explains the patch contains updates to several internal components that Windows Vista requires in order to install or to remove Windows Vista Service Pack 1 more reliably. This update must be applied separately before you install Windows Vista SP1 to make sure that Windows Vista SP1 can be installed or removed from the computer. Update 938371 is necessary to install and to remove Windows Vista SP1 on all versions of Windows Vista.

Great. Looks like I won’t have to worry about Vista SP1 breaking anything on my machine, since it won’t be getting installed!

KB 942831 ended up being a fix for MS08-005, Vulnerability in Internet Information Services that could allow elevation of privileges. Microsoft considers this an important, not critical fix, so I decided I could disregard this error for the time-being. I pretty satisfied these Automatic Updates were not the root cause of my networking issues.

The final error I found was Event 1060:

\SystemRoot\SysWow64\Drivers\GEARAspiWDM.sys has been blocked from loading due to incompatibility with this system. Please contact your software vendor for a compatible version of the driver.

I searched my system for this file, and found it located in the F:\Windows\System32 directory, which is not my operating system’s boot drive – Its an almost dead hard drive that used to run my 32-bit Windows XP machine. I’ve been trying to resurrect data off it, and had mounted it in an external USB caddy.

Interestingly enough, I’ve had this old 32-bit XP drive plugged into my Vista 64-bit system for over two months, and have never seen the Event 1060 error. I’m wondering if these two failed Microsoft updates have anything to do with it. On a whim, I renamed the GEARAspiWDM.sys file to GEARAspiWDM.sys.old and rebooted, and got my network connection back.

I did notice GEAR posted updated 64-bit drivers two weeks ago, so maybe I’ll try to install them. I also found the GEAR driver is a part of iTunes, which was not previously supported on 64-bit Vista (who knew?) If updating the drivers and/or iTunes doesn’t fix my problem I may uninstall both, then manually clear up all the GEAR registry entries, then start with fresh installs of both.

My suspicion is something new with the XP 32-bit GEARAspiWDM.sys messed with Vista’s 64-bit driver signing system, which threw the network card offline. I’ll do some more investigation tonight and post an update if I find anything.

On a semi-related note, the GEAR wiki states:

There appears to be an incompatibility between older versions of the GEAR Software drivers and the Intel Application Accelerator with certain combinations of Intel chipsets and operating systems.

To determine which Intel chipset is being used on the motherboard, download the Intel Chipset Identification Utility from Intel’s website.

To date the problem has been detected on systems with the following combinations of chipsets and operating systems:
- Intel 815E chipset and Windows 2000
- Intel 845E chipset and Windows 2000
- Intel 850 chipset and Windows 2000
- Intel 860 chipset and Windows 2000

This issue can be corrected by completing either of the following:

1) Download and install the latest GEAR driver set.
2) Uninstall the Intel Application Accelerator.

I’m using an AMD CPU so this isn’t my issue, but hopefully it will help someone with a similar problem.

6 Responses to “It’s the day after Patch Tuesday, and my Vista Business machine has lost ALL network connectivty”

  1. SBS 2003 and Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-006 « the back room tech Says:

    [...] were listed, I felt secure in waiting a day or two before applying this patch. I tend to wait for others to find patch problems before I apply them to my vital [...]

  2. Willem Overbeeke Says:

    You have found a fellow sufferer! And rest assured, the problem with the updates has nothing to do with your driver issue.

    I am on VISTA Ultimate with automatic updating “on”, and since December 2007 I had the “failed to … Staging state” problem, with a reversal of the update, in three cases (two IE7 security patches and the famous KB 938371 SP1 preparation patch).

    I have opened a support incident with MS, but am still awaiting response. Indeed, being blocked from an SP1 upgrade seems a very novel marketing approach for MS.

    I have little hope this’ll bring something, but if you leave me your mail address (mine is willem.overbeeke@oap-mgt.com), I’ll keep you posted.

    Cheers,

    Willem

  3. Nemes Ioan Sorin Says:

    Here in Ubuntu, at least if an upgraded component has problems, they do all upgrades and inform you about the problem after all remaining upgrades from the list are installed.

    But about Vista – a single question – it really worth ? an Upgrade to my Xp or I can continue with Ubuntu ? ( I have dual boot now ).

    Sincerely I become proactive in Ubuntu – trying Ubuntu – and I like it more and more, Photoshop CS2 work well here as Dreamweaver, I can play almost any multimedia file – can I obtain more ( performance ) using Vista ?

    I’m not a flamewars guy – I just ask If is OK for Upgrade.

  4. synque Says:

    I also got the strange error messages on Vista Ultimate. An update right after a clean install usually leaves a few hundred “failed to … xyz state” error messages in the event log.

    For me the “solution” is to install Windows Update Agent .381 (because the self update is screwy) and KB937287 manually before even turning automatic updates on. Et voila, errors and suspicious activity in the update log are gone.

    So yeah, it’s probably worth a try to install KB937287 or verify whether the error messages really stopped after the patch got installed recently.

  5. Vikram Says:

    How do i Find out my vista version?
    it shows me 6.0.6000 in ver or winver.

    but i need something more – the kind that shows up in Windows 2008.
    6.0.6001.x.x.x

    thanks

  6. Gerard Barnard Says:

    My CD / DVD rom stopped working at the same time, and my rom uses the gear driver. Could that be related? I can not download the gear drivers. Anybody knows?


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