Windows 7 Update Won't Install/Cannot Check for Updates Automatically

I have been having problems installing windows updates for the last several months. I didn't notice right away as I have my system set to automatically install all updates. About a month ago I noticed that the action center flag was appearing when I booted up my system Windows 7 64-bit-full; details below: system info
The exact message is: action center error
--basically states that Windows is unable to automatically check for updates. Besides being unable to check for updates automatically, there is one particular update that will not download or install despite dozens of attempted troubleshooting steps. The problematic update is a security patch for .NET Framework 3.5.1.
error-1update history

I have tried everything from troubleshooting via windows support, using repair tools from the Microsoft download site, booting my system clean mode, disabling antivirus software, using a .net repair utility, etc.

I have no idea where to go next but I do know that since it is a security update it is important to have it addressed. Any help would be greatly appreciated-I am happy to provide any additional data needed, I'm just not sure what is pertinent. Thank you in advance-
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Open Control Panel, Programs and Features, Turn Windows Features on or off, then disable the .net 3.5.1 framework. Chances are you don't need them anyway.

Otherwise download the cleanup utility from the M$ site. I assume you have already got it, but here's a Link to it again:

With it you can cleanly remove .net stuff you have installed.

Also here I'd leave .net uninstalled unless you need it.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Windows 7 left behind some optional updates that ultimately needed to be done. If you only did critical updates, the optional ones never happened.

So in addition to the above, also go back to Windows Update and do any optional updates that can be done. Do these first, restart and try critical updates.

.... Thinkpads_User
.net 3.5.1 framework updates often cause problems.  One solution is to install them separately from other updates.

That error message from UAC is mystifying.  With the exception of .net 3.5.1 framework updates you certainly are able to check for and install updates.  Try changing the Windows Update setting from "Install Updates Automatically" to  "Check for Updates but let me decide whether to Download or Install".

You could also run SFC /SCANNOW from a Command Prompt.

Did you click the link "Check for solutions to unreported problems"?
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CuriousAboutAuthor Commented:
Which checkbox correspondsto the .net framework in Windows services? I recall trying to do this but not knowing which option to check...

I also tried "...let me decide which updates to install" to no avail.
On my PC I have "Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1" right between the "Media Features" and the "Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ) Server.

Maybe it doesn't show in all Windows 7 versions like Windows 7 Home Premium (I'm using Windows 7 Ultimate).

If you don't have it in yours, use the Cleanup utility I posted a Link to earlier.
"I also tried "...let me decide which updates to install" to no avail."   What happened?

Did you do any of the other things I suggested?  http:#a39580450

Your screen shot is not of Services, but rather  Windows Features.  However, my PC shows Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1 just as rindi described.  If you do not use .NET Framework you can Hide those Updates (right click|Hide) and they will not attempt to install regardless of your UAC settings.
You also should be able to uninstall it from Control Panel|Programs and Features.  (Which raises an interesting question.  Do you have .NET Framework installed--if not that could explain why those Updates are causing problems?)

Unless you are a program developer, there are few programs that use .NET Framework and when you find one that does, it should tell you to install .NET Framework.
CuriousAboutAuthor Commented:
Apologies for the delay in reply. Spent several hours w/ Dell tech support and got cut off after many failed attempts to correct the issue. The latest info is:


'Did you click the link "Check for solutions to unreported problems"?'
-Yes. Completed the check with a general statement that Microsoft couldn't identify the problem.

"Your screen shot is not of Services, but rather  Windows Features."
-A typo on my part.

"Do you have .NET Framework installed--if not that could explain why those Updates are causing problems?"
-Only 4.5 was showing up; however, see below for info given to me by Dell tech support

"With it you can cleanly remove .net stuff you have installed. Also here I'd leave .net uninstalled unless you need it."
-Ran this tool twice; the log reported many errors and warnings regarding accessing the files and ultimately did not remove all of the versions. I have attached the log.

Dell said something about virtual memory which needs to be cleaned in order for Windows to stop prompting for the updating of a. non-applicable updates (.NET) and b. addressing a loop where several other security updates repeatedly reinstall everytime Windows starts (and I am still getting error message that Window's can't automatically check for updates).

The woman helping me tried to install a Dell 'Fixit' program to take care of it but it wouldn't load and then she got disconnected and I am left basically where I started...
Have you tried installing the .NET Framework updates one at a time.

Are still getting that somewhat mysterious message from Action Center?  Can you give us a screenshot of what you see at the Windows Update settings window?
CuriousAboutAuthor Commented:
@jcimarron: I haven't tried that; the last step I completed was the .net removal tool suggested by rindi. There is only one update that is/was failing anyhow, and it was for 3.5.1. I'm chalking it up to a loss for now...sucked up sooo much time already!

Yes, I'm still getting the Action Center message. It's interesting you ask, because it made me notice that I keep being prompted to install the same updates (see screenshots below). Very weird. Any insight? If no I'm probably going to divide up points and close the query, as it doesn't seem to be leading anywhere.

The repeated installation of a Windows Update may be due to Windows not perceiving the update as having fully installed.  The most likely fix would be to Uninstall the Update and then try installing again.

Concerning that mysterious message from Action Center, I erred in my request for a screenshot of "Windows Update settings" .  What I really wanted to see was the window you get when you click "Change Settings" (top left) of the main Windows Update window.  (The latter would correspond to your screenshot of "updates".)  That might show us the setting which Windows is interpreting as "Could not check for Updates Automatically".

However, you are right to note that a lot of time has been spent.  And now you are raising a new issue--that of repeated installation of updates.  So I do not know if you are interested in pursuing the following

Telephone MS with your problem since it involves Security (one of the updates is a Security Update).
1-866-pcsafety  1-866-727-2338
Be sure to emphasize this is a matter or Security and Safety so you will not be charged.

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