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a Windows Update was downloaded, but I don't want to Install

by ashfordst / October 25, 2008 7:13 AM PDT

I inadvertently downloaded SP3, but I don't want to install it because of all the problems I've read with its installation; so, how do I delete the downloaded file? Where is it on my hardrive? Also, ever since it's been "sitting" downloaded but not installed, I haven't gotten any new notifications of any more recent XP updates. (I have it set to ask me if I wish to download new updates)

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And a few other notes
by Jimmy Greystone / October 25, 2008 7:27 AM PDT

And a few other notes. There are no problems with the installation of SP3. If you own an HP system with an AMD processor, you need to install a special update prior, but that's because of something stupid HP did.

Otherwise, if your system is free of all malware and viruses, it should go just fine. Unlike SP2, SP3 does not contain significant new features. It is primarily a collection of security updates and other misc fixes, which should be seen as a mandatory install, lest you put your system at greater risk of compromise.

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Potentail SP3 Problems?
by ashfordst / October 31, 2008 11:58 AM PDT
In reply to: And a few other notes

thanks for responding ... you sound pretty sure of what you're saying, and convincing, but what about all these other folks, that I've read about on this site who have encountered problems with installing SP3? just due to malware? what about this guy who lost gigs of hardrive space? what precautions should I take? thanks again.

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Re: Potential SP3 Problems
by Carol~ Forum moderator / November 1, 2008 1:00 AM PDT


Most of the problems you read about, were experienced by those with Hewlett Packard's AMD based systems and Symantec's A/V products. Do you have either? For now, I'm going to presume you don't. If you do, please post back and I, or someone else, will help you with what you need do.

In the meantime, maybe these 2 articles will help. I know it may sound intimidating, after having read about all the problems shortly after it's release, but with a few precautions you really shouldn't have a problem. You'll be creating a Restore Point first, if it eases your mind any. Maybe the following will help.

"Windows XP SP3 - Read all prerequisites for a successful installation"

"Steps to take before you install Windows XP Service Pack 3"

You've asked a couple of times, how to remove the download. Bob suggested using the "Windows Installer CleanUp Utility", which will remove it. Eventually, you're going to have to take some action. You wrote above, "ever since it's been "sitting" downloaded but not installed, I haven't gotten any new notifications of any more recent XP updates". One way or another, you're going to need to continue getting your updates. Or at least that's the way I look at it.

Whatever you should decide, let us know if you need any further help.

Best of luck..

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by hrlow2 / November 1, 2008 9:22 PM PDT

I have recently done a fresh re-install of Windows XP Home. Bought a brand new OEM disk just for that purpose. It came with SP3 preinstalled. Have been running for about 3 weeks now and have not seen any problems.

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SP3 Installation Successful!
by ashfordst / November 6, 2008 10:07 AM PST

To Carol and Jimmy ... thanks for your encouragement, and your toleration of my concerns about installing SP3. I took all those precautions and, although time consuming, all went well. Thanks again.

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(NT) Great news! Thanks for posting back. :)
by Carol~ Forum moderator / November 6, 2008 9:27 PM PST
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To remove a Win Update download & keep it from installing-
by websissy / October 5, 2009 1:10 PM PDT

I have a Toshiba Satellite that belongs to my aging (75 y.o.) mom.
It's running Win XP Media Center Edition with SP 2. A few months ago
she began complaining that her PC was having trouble connecting to
AOL (v 9.1) and when I finally got a chance to check the machine and
analyze the cause I narrowed it down to some sort of conflict that
arises between AOL and windows as soon as XP SP3 is installed on her
machine. Once that happens her ability to reliably login to AOL
vanishes and AOL email is just about the ONLY thing she uses the
machine for!

That amazed me -- in fact, I honestly didn't believe it until I had
wiped the machine and reinstalled all the original software TWICE and
watched everything work flawlessly until XP SP3 was pushed down to
her machine by Windows update. Each time that occurred, the problem
of program aborts and GPFs during AOL logins came right back again.
I've seen it happen three times now. So I KNOW the installation of XP
SP3 is the definitely cause of this very weird problem.

So yesterday I went back again and wiped the drive yet again. And I
reinstalled all her original software and then I allowed the first
set of windows updates to download and install. However, as soon as
that first set of updates was installed, I disabled the automatic
update feature and reconfigured it to NOT download but only to offer
each update and let ME decide which ones I would and would not take.

That didn't really work as advertised. Instead, it still on and
downloaded the updates and then offered them to be installed. Once I
realized it was still downloading the updates despite having explicit
instructions to the contrary, I immediately went back to the windows
updates site and tried to head-off the Service Pack 3 update and
disable it before it got downloaded.

But that approach failed too because I was unable to BLOCK the
download and HIDE it before the blasted thing had already been
downloaded to Her machine and is now waiting for Mom or somoeone else
to accidentally press the wrong button when turning off Her machine
and thus screw up Her system for the 4th time.

I need to know how to completely remove that downloaded (but not yet
installed) update from her machine and then block it from being
downloaded so that it never gets presented again.

I have successfully used the "hide" feature before to precent other
updates from installing. And I'm assuming I'll be able to do the same
thing for the XP SP3 update once I figure out how to remove this
kiss-of-death download from her PC.

Two Questions:

1. Can anyone tell me how to remove the downloaded XP SP3 from mom's
PC before she or someone else accidentally pulls the pin from that

2. How can I completely prevent this download from ever being offered
to Her machine again?



Here's the answer to my questions and the one raised by the original poster for this thread. I found this information (provided
by a user named TaurArian) at: I then tried it
on my system and it worked! This procedure should work to remove ANY
downloaded Windows update and prevent it from installing.

I modified it slightly in my case by going to

start/control panel/performance & maintenance/system/[Automatic Updates]

and disabling ALL automatic Windows updates before I started this process.


To hide an update, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, point to All Programs, and then click either Windows
Update or Microsoft Update.
2. Click Custom.
3. Click to clear the check box that is next to the update that you
want to hide.
4. Expand the update that you want to hide, and then click the "Don't
show this update again" check box.
5. Click Review and install updates.

usually named \windows\SoftwareDistribution):


1. Click Start, Choose Run.
2. In the Run box, type services.msc.
3. Click OK.
4. Right-click the Automatic Updates service.
5. Click Stop.

Stopping the service will take a moment.


1. Click Start. Choose Run.
2. In the Run box, type %windir%\SoftwareDistribution (usually
%windir% is "\windows")
3. Click OK.
4. Open the Download folder.
5. Delete all contents of the Download folder.
6. Close the window.


1. Click Start. Choose Run.
2. In the Run box, type services.msc.
3. Click OK.
4. Right-click the Automatic Updates service.
5. Click Start.

Starting the service will take a moment.

By deleting the contents of the Download folder - you have removed
any downloaded updates that were pending.

You can now confirm the downloaded updates have been disabled by
going to the Start / Turn Off screen. You should find NO windows
updates listed as waiting for installation there.

Congrats! You're done.

Thanks a bunch, TaurArian!

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