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Problems with Windows Update for XP

Posted on 2013-11-20
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
Hello Everyone,

I have been recovering a few WinXP Pro 32bit PCs recently, and I have noticed that the initial Windows update attempt takes hours to finish searching for updates. And thereafter there are updates that fail to install often. This is a few different PCs. These are PCs that recover to factory default settings that include SP3. I have BITS running as well as Automatic Update. Has anyone else noticed this odd behavior by chance? Thanks!
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Question by:mrosier
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Nick Rhode earned 500 total points
ID: 39663879
In an honest opinion I think the XP update servers are a little screwed up.  A user posted a decent guide you can follow to hopefully speed up the process.

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r28656191-Windows-XP-Pro-SP3-fresh-install-won-t-update
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by:mrosier
ID: 39663891
I think so too at this point. Thanks for the link, I will give this a shot. Thanks!
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by:mrosier
ID: 39663893
I am sure these steps will help
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39663925
On my Windows XP SP3 computers I've seen them be very slow to check for new updates.  Once they finally get them installed, they're back to 'normal'.  This has been happening mostly on older slower computers running Microsoft Security Essentials.  But I also have one older one that seems to need to run Avast anti-virus for about 30 minutes if I haven't used it in the past month.
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by:garycase
ID: 39709596
I see this is closed, but I've isolated exactly how to resolve this, so for anyone else with the same issue, these steps may be useful ...

(1)  Install XP but do NOT attempt any updates.   The only thing you need to do is install any device drivers necessary to get network access [You can install all the drivers needed for a "clean" Device Manager if you want].

(2)  If your install media didn't include SP3, then install SP3 from the standalone download. [ http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=24 ]

(3)  Install Internet Explorer 8 (from the standalone download), but UNCHECK the box that says "Install Updates".  [ http://download.microsoft.com/download/C/C/0/CC0BD555-33DD-411E-936B-73AC6F95AE11/IE8-WindowsXP-x86-ENU.exe ]

(4)  After the reboot from installing IE, answer the initialization questions when you load it.   Then do a search for the KB898461 download, and download it.   Before you can download it, you'll be prompted to install Windows Genuine Validation ... let that install, then download the KB installer (but don't run it yet).

(5)  Download the installer for KB905474. [ http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=20888 ]

(6)  Download the Windows Update Agent. [ http://download.windowsupdate.com/windowsupdate/redist/standalone/7.4.7600.226/windowsupdateagent30-x86.exe ]

(7)  Run the installer for KB905474.   Uncheck the "Show me the advantages" checkbox when it finishes.

(8)  Run the installer for KB898461 (the one you downloaded in Step 4).

(9)  Run the installer for the Windows Update Agent.

Done :-)    You can now run Windows Update and it will work fine.   The first time you run it it will install an update to the installer;  then it will take a VERY long time to do the checks (an hour or longer).    After you install the first round of updates, it will work normally (a minute or less to do subsequent update checks).
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by:mrosier
ID: 39709600
great thanks! next time I need to reinstall a station, I will follow this!
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by:garycase
ID: 39709635
You're welcome.   I was reloading a system for a friend when I encountered this issue last month, and resolving it became a bit of a challenge :-)

I've tested this process with retail keys; OEM keys; BIOS-tied keys; and on both physical hardware and virtual machines.   Works every time ... so I'm confident it's the best way to install XP these days given the issues Microsoft's changes to the Windows Update site have created.
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Author Comment

by:mrosier
ID: 39722041
Hey garycase, I don't know if you are still there, but what if my machine I am recovering has the XP recovery disc with SP2 already installed? You said don't attempt any updates in step 1, so should this be a problem that my OS disc just comes with SP2?
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by:garycase
ID: 39722675
Read what I said above:

(2)  If your install media didn't include SP3, then install SP3 from the standalone download. [ http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=24 ]
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Author Comment

by:mrosier
ID: 39722839
oh no, I got that, my install included SP 2. I didn't know if that would cause any problems though since it wasn't an install previous to any updates. I got SP3 standalone no problem.
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