When Windows Update Won’t Update

Windows Update occasionally gets a bee under its bonnet and simply refuses to work. Really, should that surprise anyone?

Unfortunately, unlike some other Windows problems, this one seldom goes away on its own. You have to fix it. And the exact cause isn't always easy to diagnose and fix.

Try the Windows Update Agent. You can download versions for the 32-bit version of XP, the 64-bit version, and the Itanium. Once you've downloaded the file:

  1. Click Start, then Run, then the Browse button.
  2. Locate and double-click the file you just downloaded. Doing so will insert the path and file name into the run box.
  3. Enter the text /wuforce (be sure to enter a space before the slash) after the file name. Press ENTER and follow the wizard.

If your not using XP, or if this fix doesn't work, you might try downloading the problematic update manually, then installing it off of your hard drive. I doubt it will work, but it's worth a try. In Internet Explorer (not Firefox), go to the Microsoft Update Catalog to find and download the problem updates.

Finally, there's the Windows Update Troubleshooter, where you stand a good chance there of finding the cause of and solution for your particular problem. Once again, this Web page really doesn't like any browser except Internet Explorer.

There's a separate Vista Troubleshooter. Amazingly, this one works just fine in Firefox.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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