Vista Windows Update Fails

When attempting to run Windows Update on a Vista SP2 machine I get "Code 80072EFE" and updating fails.  Appears any connection to a Microsoft update server is thwarted (even informational queries).  All other web/browser behavior seems normal.  Using Avast Free 5.0, with the Vista Firewall on.  Have installed new Windows Update agent.  No improvement.  Oddly enough, based on a tip from this site I tried

ipconfig /flushdns

This resulted in success (updating worked).  However, following a restart, updating fails again and dns trick does not help.
hvservAsked:
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c_a_n_o_nCommented:
Go to your control panel > administrative tools > services
Stop Windows Update Service.

Go to your Windows > SoftwareDistribution folder
Delete everything inside of it.

Start Windows Update Service.

Windows Update should work again.
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hvservAuthor Commented:
Same result - Code 80072EFE
this did change the wording on the update window - "Most recent check" and
"updates were installed" now say never.
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remmett70Commented:
I just had a customer whose Vista Business SP2 laptop was stuck on two updates that would not install.  One for .Net 1.1 and another for Power Point.  I used the Microsoft Fix IT to reset the Windows Update Components and so far the problem seems to be resolved.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971058/en-us
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hvservAuthor Commented:
This looked promising, as after I had done it, searching for updates indicated that machine was up to date.  and recorded a date and time for most recent check.  Decided to try downloading Microsoft Update for updating "other Microsoft Products" and got 0x80072EFF error.

Returning to regular update, searching for updates, received my old friend Code 80072EFE again.

"Windows could not search for new updates."
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Here2HelpCommented:
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brandongohwhCommented:
You may want to try Microsoft FixIt method of aggressively resetting Windows Updates. You can get a copy of the .msi @ http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971058/en-us
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hvservAuthor Commented:
All suggestions were excellent and I will retain them for future problems of a similar nature.  However, after using them all, with confidence that all Windows Update parts and pieces were in place, I discovered that malware was poisoning my DNS cache.  I could not get around the problem.  Running short on time, I reinstalled the OS which fixed the problem.
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PFrazerIT Systems EngineerCommented:
I tried everything but this finally fixed it.  The scanner found a rootkit (not sure what that is) on the first hard drive.  After a reboot Windows update worked.

Here2Help:Hey.

You could give this utility a go.

Fix WU
http://www.thewindowsclub.com/repair-fix-windows-updates-with-fix-wu-utility 
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