A couple of customers were encountering a problem while when installing VS 2005 SP1 their laptops would reset – not reboot. After generating verbose logs where each line was flushed, we couldn’t with any certainty diagnose the exact problem. The event would always occur around the time the Windows Installer script generation was starting, but never at the exact same time.
One customer noticed his laptop was getting fairly hot. He propped the laptop up and blew air on it with a fan. VS 2005 SP1 installed without incident. His laptop was getting so hot that it simply reset while trying to install SP1.
Windows Installer does a lot of processing, as it is basically a relational database and performs a lot of queries on tables and cursor-like operations on its own internal data structures. This is the first I’ve heard of where a machine gets too hot processing packages that it resets.