Windows Update Disfunctional?

I routinely do a Windows Update check on my XP Pro system, like once/day. Over the last week or two, I've noticed that it's taking longer to get through the scanning portion, but as of yesterday sometime, it's gone completely south.

At this point, when I start Windows Update from the Start menu, the IE browser window just hangs with the status line at the bottom saying that it's opening the windows update page at microsoft.com. The little flag stops waving, the window doesn't refresh itself. I let it "run" for a while and still nothing happens. Eventually I need to kill it from the ctrl+alt+del menu, at which point it prompts whether I wish to "send report to Microsoft?".

Last night I did (once) manage to get through and after a *long* scan it reported there were two items to download and install, but when I tried to do so, the popup download/install progress panel never showed any activity, and when I eventually clicked on the cancel button, it failed to go away, and ended up having to kill the IE browser. That was the last time it has gotten past the hang at displaying the update page.

I use Mozilla for all my other browsing, so I tried using IE with a regular site and it worked fine, so I doubt that it's something wrong with my box (although that's certainly not proof of such). My guess is that there's something disfunctional about Microsoft's update page server(s).

Anyone else having similar troubles?

My Windows Defender update/install has downloaded and installed the same update 4 times in the last 30 minutes; after the install, the computer says it wasn't installed (or even downloaded, apparently). I've been reading that some of the recent patches have been causing problems.

Time to REBOOT and see if anything "sticks". Bye!

I can now get through, but after a *long* scan, I'm told there is one critical update, but when I attempt to download and install, it says that I've chosen *not* to download and install anything. Weird.

Maybe tomorrow it'll be happier.

Croaker, have you tried deleting the ActiveX component(s) Microsoft uses to check your system for updates? (I have no idea where these components reside though. :()

I had a quick look around at Microsoft's Support site, but all I could find was this. I suggest digging around a bit more to see if something useful turns up.

Good luck!

If/When you get it working, there's no need to run WU every day. They only deploy patches on the second Tuesday of the month (unless one of those patches is F'd up but still a Tuesday).

This is a long long shot, but it's a problem I ran into and it's nearly impossible to find information about. Do you happen to have an APC battery backup on your PC.. and if so, do you have their APC software installed? If the answer is yes and yes.. uninstall the software immediately. Apparently their software is some kind of java web-based thing with an embedded SSL certificate (even though it's run locally on your PC) and when the SSL certificate expires it plays havoc with your system and one of the major symptoms is completely breaking Windows Update. We had this issue on our domain controller at work. Suddenly one day Computer Management stopped working properly and Windows Update would lock up during the update process. I spent weeks searching for a solution based on the symptoms before I found some little blurb about APC's software and uninstalling it fixed the server right up.

If none of that is relevant, here's a website that may help you. It's a huge list of step-by-step instructions to fix most Windows Update problems.

Vega wrote:

This is a long long shot, but it's a problem I ran into and it's nearly impossible to find information about. Do you happen to have an APC battery backup on your PC.. and if so, do you have their APC software installed? If the answer is yes and yes.. uninstall the software immediately. Apparently their software is some kind of java web-based thing with an embedded SSL certificate (even though it's run locally on your PC) and when the SSL certificate expires it plays havoc with your system and one of the major symptoms is completely breaking Windows Update. We had this issue on our domain controller at work. Suddenly one day Computer Management stopped working properly and Windows Update would lock up during the update process. I spent weeks searching for a solution based on the symptoms before I found some little blurb about APC's software and uninstalling it fixed the server right up.

Good God that sounds like a troubleshooter's nightmare.

Update:

I've continued to get the "EULA not accepted" complaint whenever I tried to update the one item left from last week (or the week before). Getting rid of the APC software from the system didn't make any difference. I reinstalled it, since I want the system shut down nicely when the power's failed and the UPS is about to give up.

Today, there were two more critical updates present. I was able to install the two new ones (after requesting all three) just fine. I didn't even see a complaint about the old one, but then again, I needed to reboot, so it could easily have been missed.

When I recheck for updates, the same old single critical update item is still present, and when I attempt to download and install, I get the same EULA not accepted blather. Oh well. At least it's not getting any worse.

Oh, and thanks for the pointer to the update problems page. Unfortunately, nothing there seemed to help anything. And, given my ability to download and install *other* update items, I'm still not convinced that it isn't some Microsoft screw-up here.

Okay, couple questions. Do you even get a Eula window to accept it or just get immediate error? What's the specific Update that won't work (Does it have an ID # or something to identify it?)

Vega wrote:

Okay, couple questions. Do you even get a Eula window to accept it or just get immediate error? What's the specific Update that won't work (Does it have an ID # or something to identify it?)

Strangely, this morning's regular attempted Windows Update ran rapidly and just fine. It reported the same update and, as usual, I attempted to download and install, but this time the popup window I had never been able to see (as it used to disappear immediately) this time stuck around and waited for input. As expected, it was the EULA acceptance popup. I accepted the EULA, and the download ran happily through along with the install. A reboot later, and I no longer have any pending critical updates to install.

Heck, I even went ahead and upgraded (successfully) to a newer video driver for my ATI 9800, which Windows Update had as available.

Note that I hadn't touched anything on the box since the last few failed attempts, but this time it worked like a champ. Go figure...

Ah, Windows -- The font of nonreproducibility.