What does syntax error in the SIF file that setup uses mean


May 21, 2010
The error message you're getting is indicating that there is probably a hardware problem with your system, and it could have any of a number of causes. The .SIF file mentioned in the error message is actually a rather large text file which the setup routine refers to and gets information from. The problem is that the file isn’t being read adequately. That’s what the ‘Syntax error’ refers to. It’s simply a general term being used for the fact that a mistake has occurred.

Installation errors like this and other similar ones often relate to memory problems. Windows XP isn’t as ‘forgiving’ of small problems with RAM which earlier Windows versions had no trouble with. If, for example, there are two or more RAM modules installed, and they are made by different manufacturers, they might be conflicting slightly, causing errors to occur. In that circumstance, using only a single module might allow the installation to proceed, if the system is one which can operate with a single module installed. If more than one memory module is to be used, they would ideally need to be the same make and model.

It could possible be merely a BIOS problem. I’ve not heard of it in relation to desktop systems, but I’m aware that some earlier laptops had a BIOS which simply couldn’t handle a file of the size required. For Windows XP to be installed, the laptop needed to be booted from a floppy disk, and the Windows Setup run from the DOS prompt. I see no reason why a similar situation wouldn’t be possible for a desktop system, if its BIOS had a similar limitation. You can download a suitable bootdisk from http://www.bootdisk.com/popfiles.com but there is a small charge which needs to be made via Paypal.

It could possibly be a problem similar to the above which isn’t going to have such a simple resolution. I seen reports of situations like yours where the only resolution proved to be installing Windows 98 or Windows Me, and then performing an ‘Upgrade’ install of windows XP over the top of it, rather than a fresh install.

I hope that proves helpful. If you can’t resolve it with the procedures mentioned, perhaps you need to have the system looked at by a service technician. If you’d like to persevere further with it yourself, you’d need to contact us again, and provide us with detailed identification of your system and its components.

Source: http://www.pcuser.com.au/pcuser/hs2.nsf/lookup+1/A6C4CF6763A104BECA256FD9003512BF

I hope this helps!

Brett M,
Windows Outreach Team


Jul 14, 2010

Looks like we found the same thing :)

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