Fix a non-working Windows Update

There can be several causes for errors when using
  • If your system date on your computer is not configured correctly to current date, then Windows Update will fail to work.

  • If you get a security message about Windows should only be updated by your System Administrator (And you have Administrator Privileges), then you can fix it with setting these DWORD registry keys (or delete them):

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \Explorer]
    NoWindowsUpdate=0 ("Remove links and access to Windows Update")

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \Explorer]

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \WindowsUpdate]
    DisableWindowsUpdateAccess=0 ("Remove access to use all Windows Update features")

    More Info MS KB Q283288
    More Info MS KB Q228548
    More Info MS KB Q316524
    More Info MS KB Q326686

  • If the Windows Update doesn't load properly at all then you might have answered No to the Trust Certificate. Or the security level in Internet Explorer is set too tough.

    More Info MS KB Q174360
    More Info MS KB Q252829

  • If your Internet Explorer is damaged, then it might cause the Windows Update failure.

    Repair Internet Explorer 5.0+ when its acting weird

  • If there are leftovers from a previously failed update, then it might conflict with the new update. Delete the contents in the following folders:

    C:\Program Files\WindowsUpdate (Except the directory V4 and the file Wuhistv3.log)
    C:\Program Files\WindowsUpdate\V4 (Except the file IUHIST.XML)
    C:\WUTemp (Can be found on another drive depending on free space, note this can make it use mapped network drives unmap these)

    More Info MS KB Q193385
    More Info MS KB Q241122
    More Info MS KB Q243787

  • If the WinXP service cryptographic service is disabled, then the WU will fail (It can become disabled if broken database, use link for more detail)

  • If Win2k/XP/2k3 DLL files required for running Windows Update needs to be registered (Besides those registered when repairing Internet Explorer):

    regsvr32.exe regwizc.dll
    regsvr32.exe Mssip32.dll
    regsvr32.exe Wintrust.dll
    regsvr32.exe Softpub.dll
    regsvr32.exe Initpki.dll
    regsvr32.exe Dssenh.dll
    regsvr32.exe Rsaenh.dll
    regsvr32.exe Gpkcsp.dll
    regsvr32.exe Slbcsp.dll
    regsvr32.exe Cryptdlg.dll

    For WinXP/2k3 only:

    regsvr32.exe licdll.dll
    regsvr32.exe Sccbase.dll
    regsvr32.exe Msxml.dll
    regsvr32.exe Msxml2.dll
    regsvr32.exe Msxml3.dll

    Note if using WinXP SP2 then one can just run this command:

    "%ProgramFiles%\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" /rereg

    More Info MS KB Q870700

  • Look at the trace log created by Windows Update to pin point the cause of failure:

    %Windir%\Windows Update.log

  • Enable Stepping Mode to diagnose the Windows Update failure. This is done with this STRING registry key:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\ Microsoft\ Active Setup]
    SteppingMode = "Y" (Disabled = "N", ENabled = "Y", Default = "N")

    More Info MS KB Q178081
    More Info MS KB Q248439
More Info Reset Windows Update
More Info Windows Update Troubleshooter
More Info MS KB Q241234
More Info MS KB Q313817
More Info MS KB Q319585
More Info MS KB Q813444

Updated: 4 November 2009

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