Windows Update is an important part of Microsoft’s operating systems. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more fragile Windows components—update issues are among the most common problems that plague users. And this can be dangerous—without some updates, you may be open to security vulnerabilities! Windows Update just can’t be ignored, so in this week’s blog post, we compiled several troubleshooting tips to help you get this feature back on its feet when it fails.
The images above are just four examples of what can go wrong when you update your PC. This guide will help you if:
- Windows Update no longer starts
- Multiple Windows Updates cannot be installed
- Cryptic error codes appear during updates
- Service Packs and/or individual update or hotfix packages cannot be installed
What’s causing the Windows Update issues?
Updating your Windows machine involves replacing hundreds of files, and the process depends on dozens of built-in Windows components such as System Restore, cryptography features, digital signatures, the Windows Update service, Windows installers, drivers and group policy settings—the list goes on and on. Windows Update and Service Pack installations will fail if one of these components is defective, disabled or not set up properly.
1. Use Microsoft’s Fix It Solution (for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7)
Microsoft is well aware of the issues surrounding its update feature and provided a tool designed to help fix several dozen issues at once. For example, the tool correctly sets up the cryptographic service, re-registers broken file associations, cleans up the Windows Update catalog folder and repairs important files related to Windows Update.
Click here to download Microsoft’s Fix It Solution. Run the tool then restart your machine afterwards.
2. Install the latest “System Update Readiness Tool” (for Windows Vista, Windows 7)
A bug in Windows (specifically the servicing store) may prevent you from installing future Windows Updates or Service Packs. Microsoft released the “System Update Readiness Tool” to allow users to immediately repair these issues—this will help if our first tip didn’t work. Use the following links to download this feature:
3. Run TuneUp Utilities 2011′s troubleshooting wizard
If your Windows Update asks for a restart each time you launch it, TuneUp Utilities 2011 has a solution for you. Our suite features a handful of troubleshooting wizards that solve common Windows problems like this issue. Just install the product (you can download a 15-day trial), go to the “Fix Problems” category and launch the “Fix common problems” wizard. Check “Windows Update does not work, since a previous restart is required”, and hit “Next”.
4. If all else fails…
Microsoft has a huge Knowledge Base topic covering 11 methods for repairing Windows Update—the first five discuss the company’s Fix It Solution, while the others require some nifty workarounds that are explained in detail. We also advise you to temporarily disable your antivirus solution or firewall in order to proceed with the update, but don’t forget to re-enable them after the update is complete.
Is Windows Update or any of the Service Pack installations giving you trouble? Did our solutions work out for you? Let us know!