Windows Update Checklist




See also: "Windows XP Service Pack 2" for information for Service Pack 2.

Checklist for some of the most common problems with Windows Update issues

Changed 10 September 2005

Check the Windows Update Fixes to see if there is already a fix for your issue.

Use the information from step 1 with the Windows Update Troubleshooterif the Troubleshooter does not solve your problem follow this checklist to resolve your issue.  If applicable, give this information to the person assisting you with the problem.

Be sure you are logged in to a profile that has Administrator privileges

REBOOT before beginning.


1. Check the Windows Update Log for the exact error message.  The appropriate error(s) should be near the end of the log.

"C:\Windows\Windows Update.log"  (Windows 98/ME/XP)
"C:\WINNT\Windows Update.log"  (Windows 2000)

Update.log may be hidden, if it is hidden:
Click the top TOOLS, click FOLDER OPTIONS, click VIEW
Check the radio button. "Show hidden files and folders"
Click OK and you should now see more files.

Use the Windows Update Troubleshooter or give this information to the person assisting you with the problem.

2.  Disable ALL antivirus components, Web Trap component of PC-cillin, Surfin Guard Pro, download accelerators/enhancements, Download Accelerator Plus, spyware applications and anything unusual installed.
Third-Party Products That Conflict with Windows Update, this is NOT a complete list, but it gives you an idea what to look for.
Make sure you repeat this step after every reboot before continuing.

3.  Reboot computer then try updates one at a time if issue involved multiple updates.

4.  Check Date/Time (Look Closely, this is a major cause of update issues).
Also verify the computer is set to the correct Time Zone:
Double click Clock in Notification area (bottom right corner normally)
Click Time Zone tab.

5.  Try another profile with Administrator access.
If you do not have one, go to User Accounts in the Control Panel.
Select "Create a new account"
Select "Computer Administrator" when the option arrives.
Follow the prompts to create the profile.
Log out of old profile, log in to new profile.

6.  If you use AOL, minimize AOL and open Windows Update:
Start/All Programs/Windows Update

7.  Verify the following services are not disabled (Windows XP Windows Server 2003)
Type "services.msc"
Click "OK"
Automatic Updates
Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)
Cryptographic Services
Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
System Restore Service

8.  Try it in Safe Mode (Windows XP)
Reboot tapping F8 each second.
Select "Safe Mode" at the menu.

9.  Go to windows update
Click "Pick updates to install" on the left panel instead of "Scan for updates".
Follow the prompts as usual.
"Scan for updates" should work properly the next time.

10.  Run an updated virus scan.
Or Scan for Viruses online.
Sometimes it is a good idea to run more than one to ensure nothing is missed:
Kaspersky Online Virus Scanner
Panda ActiveScan
Trend Micro House Call
Symantec Security Check

11.  Check this link:
Do you have parasites?

Run Ad-Aware (free version)
Update if you already have it.
Update if you already have it.
You may want to use both of these tools to be sure all spyware is gone.

12.  Download CWShredder.
Be sure to update to the latest version.

13. For troubleshooting, temporarily disable any 3rd party firewall but FIRST enable Internet Connection Firewall "ICF" (Does not apply to Windows 9x)

14.  (Windows XP):
Reboot computer.
Go to Control Panel
Open Administrative Tools
Double-click Services.
Right-click Cryptographic Services.
Click Properties.
Click Automatic for Startup type.
Click OK and follow prompts.

Reboot, login to an Administrator account.
Double click My Computer.
Double click C drive.
Double click Windows file.
Double click System32 file.
Right click catroot2, click rename, type "catroot2old"

15.  (Windows XP)
Go to Control Panel.
Click Windows Update on the left panel

16. Go to Internet Options in the Control Panel:
Delete Cookies
Delete Files (check box "Delete all offline content")
Clear History
Perform Disk Cleanup:
Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disk Cleanup
Check all boxes except "Compress Old Files"
Click OK and follow prompts.

17.  Set a language in Internet Explorer:
To check the language setting in Internet Explorer:
(1.) Click "Tools" and then select "Internet Options".
(2.) Click "Languages".button
(3.) Make sure at least one language is listed in the "Language Options" dialog box

18.  Disable the options "Automatically detect settings" and "Use automatic configuration script."
To do this:
(1.) Open Internet Explorer.
(2.) Click "Tools," and then click "Internet Options."
(3.) Click "Connections," and then click "LAN Settings."
(4.) Make sure the check boxes for "Automatically detect settings" and "Use automatic configuration script" are not selected.

19.  Open Internet Explorer
Click Tools
Click Internet Options
Click Security tab.
Click "Internet Zone"
Click Default
Click OK and follow prompts.

20. Uncheck "Check for server certificate revocation"
a. Open Internet Explorer
b. Click on Tools
c. Click on Internet Option from the drop down menu
d. Click on the Advanced tab
e. Scroll down to the Security Section
f. Unselect "Check for server certificate revocation"
g. Reboot the machine

21. Follow this link:
WINUP: "Software Update Incomplete, This Windows Update Software Did Not Update Successfully"

22. Upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer with the latest Service pack if you have not already done so

If you already have the most current version, repair Internet explorer:
Go to Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel

Windows XP
Select "Microsoft Internet Explorer"
Select "Change/Remove"
Choose the Repair option

Windows 9x
Select "Microsoft Internet Explorer and Internet Tools"
Click Add/Remove
Choose the Repair option

23. Verify Internet Explorer is using 128 bit encryption. If not follow the steps above to upgrade/repair Internet Explorer.
To check:
Open Internet Explorer.
Click "Help", click "About Internet Explorer"
"Cipher Strength" should be "128-bit"

24.  Disable all Start-up items
Type "msconfig" ENTER
Click Start-up tab and make a note of what is checked and unchecked.
Go back to General tab.
Select Selective Start-up (unless already selected).
Uncheck "Load Start-up group items".
Click OK, follow prompts and reboot.
Try windows Update again.
When done, go back to MSCONFIG.
Recheck Start-up tab items and place to normal Start-up if that was original configuration.
Click OK and follow prompts.

25.  Change the URL prefix to "https" instead of "http"
If this resolves your issue, this is most likely a caching issue referencing outdated Microsoft data with your ISP.
This workaround may be necessary until your ISP clears their cache, usually less than a week.

WINUP: Problems When Viewing or Downloading From Windows Update

27.  Display contents of hidden folders:
Open My Computer
Click "Tools"
Click "Folder Options"
Click "View" tab
Under "Hidden files and folders"
Select "Show hidden files and folders"
Uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types"
Uncheck "Hide protected operating system files"
Click OK
Delete Windows Update data:
Open My Computer
Double click C drive
Double click "Program Files" folder
Double click "Windows Update" folder.
Delete everything except the "V4" folder
Double click "V4" folder
Delete everything in the folder except "iuhist.xml"
Close the window and attempt update again.

28.  You Cannot View Updates on the Windows Update Site Using Secure Socket Layer

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This site was last updated Monday, 17 September 2007