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// Tales from software development

Windows Automatic Updates stops working on Windows XP SP3

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Microsoft appears to have introduced an error with in a recent update that causes the Windows Update client to fail to identify new updates to apply. Even if you go to the Windows Update web page and invoke a scan from there, the scan will just run without ever completing.

Because the Windows Update client is failing to identify new updates to apply, the most common symptom of this problem is that:

1. If you’ve configured Windows Update to install updates automatically, it won’t, or;

2. If you’ve configured Windows Update to notify you regarding new updates, you won’t be prompted to install updates.

A separate but possibly related symptom is that your PC may become very slow for no obvious reason. If you open Task Manager you’ll see that the Windows Update client, wuauclt.exe, is using 90%+ CPU.

After a little bit of research I applied the following critical update manually:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms13-097

You need to scroll down the page to the ‘Affected and non-affected software’ table and then the entry for the update that applies to the version of Internet Explorer installed and the operating system (column 1).

After applying the update the Windows Update client appeared to be working again but in order to identify and apply relevant updates quickly I opened the Windows Update web page, http://update.microsoft.com/, and invoked a scan. The scan completed in a few minutes and showed that there were several critical updates that needed to be installed.

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Written by Sea Monkey

December 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Environments

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