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Windows Update not running

Posted on 2014-07-30
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Last Modified: 2014-07-31
Win 7 Home.  Update hasn't run in 2 years.  When try, get message that the Update Service isn't started.  Checked services: it is.  Windows Help site has "Fix it for me."  Didn't.  Tried manual steps on the site: at the first step, netstart bits or something like that - this is from memory. Got "System 5" error.

Oh yes, when I try to stop the Update service I get a message about insufficient privileges and to call the administrator.  the account is an admin acct though.

Any suggestions?
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Question by:Ronald Hicks
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 135 total points
ID: 40230846
You can try a couple of things;

Download and run Windows Update Readiness tool.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/download/details.aspx?id=20858

This is for 64-bit, Google for the readiness tool 32-bit if you have 32-bit Windows

Download SP1 for Windows (your version) and see if you can run it again. You could always re-run SP2 for XP, but I am not sure about SP1 for Windows 7. It is worth a try.
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jekautz earned 135 total points
ID: 40230849
I got hit with this bug on several Win7 workstations.  What you need to do is do is update Windows with the install disk. First put the Win7 install cd in while at the Windows desktop.  Run autoplay if it doesn't automatically. Choose to install Windows. Some where early in this process is the option to download the latest updates from Microsoft.  You must choose that option. Continue with the install prompts. Windows will reboot and go to the Windows install process.

When it's done installing, you will have the same Windows install as before. With all your programs and everything as before. This does not wipe and do a clean install. Afterwards you will be able to run Windows update.
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by:jekautz
ID: 40230860
I didn't have this link at the my fingertips earlier.  Here are the instructions from Microsoft's site.  Follow the instructions under the section titled, "Using the Upgrade installation option"
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/installing-reinstalling-windows#1TC=windows-7
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by:Merete
Merete earned 95 total points
ID: 40231117
Yes
My line of thinking is that your just too far behind now and repair reinstall would fix you up as the windows updates would start again.
You would not lose your files or settings but all windows updates have to be re-installed.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 135 total points
ID: 40231155
An m$ OS that hasn't been patched for so long will be very likely to be completely riddled with malware, and it may well be such malware that keeps the updates from running. You could try scanning for and cleaning off malware, but that is a highly time-consuming process, and there is no guarantee for success.

In my point of view you should do a clean OS installation either using the factory restore option included with your PC, or just a reinstallation from your Windows 7 DVD. After that install a good antivirus utility (I have been using the free panda cloud antivirus for years, and never had a problem, but if this PC isn't for private use, you'd have to get the paid for version). Once that is installed, Install the Windows 7 Servicepack if it isn't already included in the OS (you should be able to download it from the m$ site), and once that is installed, run all the updates.

Now you can reinstall the software you need and restore your data from your backups.

A repair installation as mentioned above doesn't remove malware.
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Expert Comment

by:jekautz
ID: 40231568
The update installation will take 20-30 minutes. If you don't suspect malware don't reinstall just yet, because a full machine reinstall with drivers, software, and settings could take hours.  The handful of computers that had this problem for me did not have malware.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40231636
But your OS probably also didn't have a 2 year stretch of being unpatched. Such a long time is a great invitation for hackers, crooks and malware, and is practically certain to be seriously infected, and removing and fixing that will take much longer than a clean, fresh installation, besides, you never know whether you missed something or crippled anything in the process.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Ronald Hicks
ID: 40231644
Great stuff.  Thanks everyone.
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