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I'm confused. Windows Update has failed

by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 11, 2005 9:10 PM PST

My profile shows my specs but briefly they are;

Dell Dimension 8300
Windows XP Pro with SP2 - installed and running with no problems
Pentium P4, 3.00 Ghz
2GB Ram
220 GB HD
128 DDR ATI Radeon 9800 adapter

I've just failed to update the following High Priority Windows Updates;

Security Update for Windows XP (KB888302)
Security Update for Windows XP (KB890047)
Security Update for Windows Messenger (KB887472)
Security Update for Windows XP (KB885250)
Security Update for Windows XP (KB891781)
Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer for Windows XP (KB867282)
Security Update for Windows XP (KB888113)
Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool - February 2005 (KB890830)
Security Update for Windows XP (KB873333)

I get no error codes, and the only error message I received was an "Installing Updates" dialogue window stating "Updates were unable to be successfully installed", and "The following updates were not installed". The following list is the list above.

None of the updates listed installed. When I went to the View Installation History page and clicked on any of the "Failed" status entries, there are no Error Codes for me to check and refer to, and the Update Troubleshooter does not list anything that suggests it relates to my problem.

The first time I attempted this today, I got a User Agreement to tick as accepted, (which I did), and a "brief" download window, (the actual time suggested was 6 minutes, but it was a few seconds), then the failure of each update listing in the dialogue window.

I have updated and scanned with;

Spybot S&D
Ad-Aware SE Personal,

and have no infections, virus, trojans, spyware, adware or other malware that they could detect. I have not error checked the disk or de-fragged, but will do if anyone recommends it.

My firewall is enabled and is Zonelarm Pro newest version,, this has only this week been updated, so a possible conflict there may exist, but nothing relevant is disallowed in Programs, and in Components wuauserv.dll is allowed, as are all the other windows update components.

I use Firefox 1.0, (updated), and IE for Windows Updates only.

Each time after the initial update attempt, (and after I scanned), I don't receive the user agreement, and no download is attempted, ie, the "Installing Update" unsuccessful dialogue immediately appears. I have also tried to install individual updates, but get the same error.

In Add/Remove, none of the updates are shown. (The last Windows XP Hotfix displayed is KB890175 on 1/12/05, (US date format). Prior to that are hotfixes for 12/14/04 and 11/13/04 (US dates)).

Prior to today, I had configured XP's Security Center to "Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them. After the first failed attempt, I amended the SC to Automatic, every day at 11:00 am, but in the Windows Update site, configuring the Update settings gives me a time of 03:00, (ie 3:00 am), and when I try to change it to 11:00 am, it allows the change but immediately reverts back to 03:00 am when I re-check it. My own time settings in SC on my computer remain at 11:00am. I close down my PC every night, and don't fancy staying up until 3 O'Clock to see if Automatic Updates kick in then.

Needless to say, at 11:00 am today nothing happened. No connection was made to automatically update.

So, I'm confused. What have I done wrong? What can I do to download and install these updates? I have read Grif's suggestions in this thread about downloading individual updates manually and I am willing to do that, but I'm interested to know why I haven't been able to update from the Windows Update site. Besides, Grif's suggestion was for a problem that doesn't exactly match mine, and I have searched these forums but can't find anything similar.

There you go. As I have seen many times in these forums, HELP! Happy


Er.... sorry for the long post.

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Maybe nothing is wrong
by glb613 / February 11, 2005 9:45 PM PST

I've had problems with Windows updates failing to install at one time or another and it wasn't my computer's fault. Try again installing one at a time and see if it completes.

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Hmm, perhaps you're right
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 11, 2005 10:00 PM PST
In reply to: Maybe nothing is wrong

But if that's all it is and I've done all this work and wriiten a 600 word essay, I'll be a little bit peeved, Happy


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by DDGGRR / April 6, 2005 9:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Maybe nothing is wrong

Some Times to Use windows updates you need to turn your firewall off while dowmnloading them. I had the same problem checked with Microsoft on line help and they told me that any security up date need to be installed with no fire wall. Then after you download and install the update turn the fire wall on and then everything will be working fine.

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I agree with Gail
by roddy32 / February 11, 2005 10:05 PM PST

Mark, I've had trouble myself more than once with the exact same message. This last time I downloaded 10 at the same time, I got that message with the third one. I installed all the others and rebooted as told and went back for the other one and it failed again. I tried once more and it was successful. I had a problem with one of last month's updates also but that DID install on the second try. A friend here where I live had ALL 10 fail like you did and she was able to do them invidually so I would try that.

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Yes I might do that Rod
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 11, 2005 10:09 PM PST
In reply to: I agree with Gail

I did already try a couple of individual downloads and they failed. But I will go back sometime and try again.

Perhaps tomorrrow though!


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I have no idea why BUT
by roddy32 / February 11, 2005 10:17 PM PST

I have seen where deleting temporary internet files, history, etc. before you go back there seems to help sometimes. It won't hurt anything though if it doesn't work.

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Tried that
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 11, 2005 10:49 PM PST
In reply to: I have no idea why BUT

but didn't work.

I used Disk Cleanup then rebooted and tried Windows Update again, but the stubborn little old........ refused to play.

I will try WU another day.

Many thanks for your suggestions.


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It seems strange seeing YOU
by roddy32 / February 11, 2005 10:55 PM PST
In reply to: Tried that

on the receiving end of a help thread. You are always giving help. Please keep us posted as to how you make out Mark.

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I know,
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 11, 2005 11:38 PM PST
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Yes, I noticed that you
by roddy32 / February 11, 2005 11:51 PM PST
In reply to: I know,

are using Caps now LOL. You shouldn't feel like a newbie, everybody has problems occasionally. This forum should go out of it's way to help you because of all the help that you have given others IMO. BTW I have another suggestion that has worked for others but it will take a little bit more time. This link is for the security bulletin. You can scroll down to the updates and download the ones that you need without using the actual windows update website. You already know which KB numbers you need so just download the version of each update that is for XPSP2.There are 12 but you shouldn't need them all. Maybe it will work that way instead.

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by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 13, 2005 5:08 PM PST

Just to let you know that WU updated successfully today, Monday Feb 14, 09:00 gmt.

All 9 high Priority updates downloaded normally, (ie not manually but through the normal update proceedure). That had to be the problem when I tried before. The downloads had not completed properly.

Many thanks to Gail and Rod for their advice and support. I'm not completely useless after all, Happy


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Glad to hear it
by glb613 / February 13, 2005 6:45 PM PST
In reply to: Success!!

That is one of the benefits of having more than one computer. When I have something fail or I get an error message, I can't try it on a different computer and see what happens. I find that vary often, it isn't my comptuer having the problem but rather, the web site or connection.

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Good point
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 13, 2005 7:38 PM PST
In reply to: Glad to hear it

I have a Win ME PC sitting next to this, and I could have tried that first before posting here. i didn't even think about it.


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(NT) (NT) Greats news Mark, Congrats :D
by roddy32 / February 13, 2005 8:15 PM PST
In reply to: Success!!
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Same Problem with Windows XP updates
by cbradley / February 18, 2005 1:29 AM PST
In reply to: Success!!

Hi Mark:

I'm a novice and while I read all of your messages and what you were doing to try and remedy the problem, I didn't get what you finally did to get it to work.

I have my system to automatically update too but it hasn't worked. I tried what was suggested to you about downloading the updates individually, but that doesn't work for me either.

Could you fill me in please on what you finally did to get it to work?

I appreciate any help!



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One more thing
by cbradley / February 18, 2005 1:32 AM PST

My boss seems to think it's registry settings that are causing this...

thanks again. Claudia

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Hi Claudia
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 18, 2005 4:55 PM PST
In reply to: One more thing

In the end with my problem, despite everything I tried, nothing worked.

I left it a day and tried again at the Windows Update site the next day and all the updates downloaded as normal.

I don't think it was me, but perhaps Microsoft were having problems that particular day.

If you try the same, leave it for a day or so, then instead of relying on the automatic settings, just leave them as they are and goto your Start menu, and select Windows Updates. See if that works for you.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on with it.


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Claudia's problem is not uncommon.
by cps / April 21, 2006 11:46 PM PDT
In reply to: Hi Claudia

I have seen it several times with different O/S releases since MS went to the latest WU process. W2K is by far the worst to experience this and there are several different solutions, but seldom is the same solution appropriate for any individual failure.

I am personally experiencing the same WU problem that Mark and Claudia experienced, but unlike Mark (and like Claudia), over a month has passed and the failures still occur. I can not download updates, either manually or automatically. (XPP O/S). And like Mark, I too, now feel like a newbie and I have been in the business more years than I care to count.

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Same thing happed to me
by vince7 / February 18, 2005 11:11 PM PST
In reply to: I agree with Gail

You didn't mention it but did you lower your firewall?

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Firewall indeed
by elceres4medctr / February 19, 2005 1:50 AM PST

Have read this with interest. I have had these problems for several years, but mainly with XP viz WinMe. With XP I have found I can not download automatically from Microsoft or Hewlett Packard unless I disable all firewalls and proxies. Even then, it varies from day to day. On the WinMe I had this problem with Symantec as well. Often I downloaded individual updates as you have. However, even these are often blocked, especially Microsoft's. I really believe it has something to do with these companies adherence to proprietary software protection.

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Work around
by MattBurton / February 22, 2005 12:16 AM PST
In reply to: Firewall indeed

I have just had a similar problem with a laptop. A colleage of mine has found this work around:

Bring up a command prompt and type 'proxycfg -d' to clear the proxy cache (if you are using one).

Type 'net stop wuauserv' to stop the automatic updates service.

Open Windows Explorer and browse to C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution. Delete the contents of this folder.

Go Back to the command prompt and type 'net start wuauserv' to restart the automatic updates.

Now retry Windows update.

worked for me, hope it works for you.

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Thanks Matt !!
by hobsonjobson / February 24, 2005 4:46 PM PST
In reply to: Work around

I had been facing this problem for the last 10 days. The solution provided has finally fixed the problem.

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Many thanks!
by ThadChaney / March 1, 2005 1:46 AM PST
In reply to: Work around

Very grateful for everyones suggestions. In the end, Matt had the one that worked for me, but I have ran into this problem on several XP boxes and usually several days later it seems to fix itself. Glad I had several work arounds to try as I would not get back to this problem computer for several weeks. Thanks again Matt!

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by allmayer / March 7, 2005 3:03 AM PST
In reply to: Work around

MattBurton, I can't thank you enough for posting this solution. I've been trying for months to run Windows Update on the 25 machines that I maintain, and was just about to give up. This worked like a charm! You are a lifesaver!!!


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Didn't help
by hm2k / March 18, 2005 8:41 AM PST
In reply to: Work around

I've got a similar problem.

I have tried everthing suggested. The updates will download but always fail.

However this system did have over 300 different types of malware, however I have removed these now using MS Antispyware and Norton Antivirus 2004. I even got SP2 installed from a CD.

But I still keep getting:
"The following updates failed to be installed successfully:
816093: Security Update Microsoft Virtual Machine (Microsoft VM)
Microsoft GDI+ Detection Tool (KB873374)"

Any suggestions?

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Update unable to install
by ericrmaki / March 20, 2005 12:19 AM PST
In reply to: Didn't help

I have the same problem with 14 updates that won't install. I tried to install the Critical and Cumulative updates first, but now the downloads fail, so will try deleting all updates in the SoftDist directory and try installing them in the correct order. With 16,000 different orders to install, does anyone know where the recommended install order list can be found?

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It works!
by cornishraider / April 26, 2005 1:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Work around

Thank you,

It worked a treat after trying a few unsuccessful work arounds.


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It works!
by bigted / May 17, 2005 8:43 PM PDT
In reply to: Work around

Having failed with all the other fixes I was shocked when this worked - cheers

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Tried last week, worked today
by diverdan007 / April 8, 2005 10:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Firewall indeed

Last week I tried to download updates unsuccesfully and I tried again today and everything worked fine with no changes done? Maybe a MS problem?

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What worked for me ...
by Philll / April 3, 2005 12:20 AM PST

go to services (control panel > administrative tools> services) and make sure Cryptographic Services is started.

Worked like a charm.

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