Why doesn't the Windows update site work?

Question

When I try to update Windows at the windowsupdate.Microsoft.com site, it never works. What am I doing wrong?

- Jesse

Answer

This question was answered on October 1, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Keeping your Windows based operating system secure from potential attacks is an absolute must for anyone that connects to the Internet Malicious code, such as the recent ‘MSBlaster worm’ looks for unprotected computers that are innocently surfing the Internet.

Microsoft has made if fairly simple to keep your system updated by creating a website http://windowsupdate.Microsoft.com) that will scan your computer and notify you of the updates that your system lacks.

You can either type in the address above or simply click on the ‘Tools’ menu in Internet Explorer and choose the ‘Windows Update’ option

Once Windows Update scans your system, it will present you with a list of items that are considered critical for your system and in the left margin of the page, links to general updates as well as driver updates that are available for you to download and install.

The process if fairly simple when everything works, but many users experience problems or error messages when they attempt to perform this vital task.

The most common causes for failure in performing the updates are from improper settings in the browser (Internet Explorer) or the need to clear out certain files from your system.

First, make sure your Internet Security is set to the ‘Medium’ level In Internet Explorer, click on ‘Tools’, then on ‘Internet Options’, then on the ‘Security’ tab Verify that the security level is set to Medium If it reads ‘Custom’, click on the ‘Default Level’ button to reset it to Medium.

If you make a change to this setting, you must close the browser and reopen it for the changes to take effect Just for good measure, you may want to temporarily disable your anti-virus or any software firewall programs that could impede the process as well.

If that doesn’t help, the next step is to clear the browsers Cache and History files To do this, again click on Tools, then Internet Options and in the ‘Temporary Internet Files’ section, click the ‘Delete Files’ and ‘Clear History’ buttons then on the OK button.

Once again, close the browser and reopen it and try again.

If this doesn’t work, you may need to clear the contents of the hidden Windows Update folder on your hard drive Double-click on My Computer, then on the Tools menu then on Folder Options Click on the ‘View’ tab at the top then click on the option in the Advanced Settings box to ‘Show hidden files and folders’ then on OK.

Now navigate to the ‘Program Files’ folder on the C: drive and open it, then open the ‘Windows Update’ folder and if you see any files or folders other than the ‘V4’ folder, delete them.

Next open the ‘V4’ folder and click on the IUHIST.XML file, then on the ‘Edit’ menu, then ‘Invert Selection’ which should select everything except the IUHIST.XML file which contains the history of your updates Press the Delete key and then click Yes to confirm the deletion of everything except this IUHIST.XML file.

If none of this steps helps you, Microsoft has posted an extensive list of solutions to actual error messages specific to the Windows Update process at: http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/troubleshoot.</a>

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on October 1, 2003