Windows Update errors? Follow these steps for a possible solution.

One of the most popular articles that I have written in Dutch are my steps to solve problems with Windows update. Therefore I thought it was a good idea to create an English version of this blog entry. If you are looking for the Dutch version you can click here.

If Windows Update gives you an error message it can be a challange to find a solution. On the Internet youïll find many webpages that mention only one error, have limited instructions or only a part of the solution. The steps below are general steps to check and fix the infrastucture which is needed for Windows Update. If you get specific error messages like 0x80248011 or 0xc80004c0 you can also try the steps in this article.

Ofcourse it is always a good idea to check the Windows Event Viewer. Click Start and then click “My Computer” with the right mouse button. Select Manage from the list and in the new window that appears doubleclick on “Event Viewer” (Below the “System Tools” line). Check the Application and System log for events that have errors. Every message in the event log has its own unique event ID which can be checked on the website http://www.eventid.net/. You’ll find more information there on what these specific error messages mean.

Feel free after each step to restart the PC and check if it is already working. If it is then there is no need to go through the other steps :-). Please note that this article applies to Microsoft Windows XP. It doesn’t apply to Microsoft Windows Vista as this will work on a different way.

A) Remove all the Internet Explorer temporary files
1. Start Internet Explorer. 
2a. For Internet Explorer 6:
Open the menu Tools and click on Internet-options. 
2b: For Internet Explorer 7: Press ALT on the keyboard, then click Tools and select Internet options.
3. Make sure you are on the General tab. 
4. Underneath the “Temporary Internet Files” section click on the button that says “Delete Cookies”. (As this may also remove the passwords for some websites you have chosen to save these make sure you have all your passwords before you do this).
5. On the dialog “Delete Cookies” click OK. 
6. Now click on the “Delete Files” button.  
7. Check the box that says “Delete all offline content” and click OK.
8. Then click on the “Clear History” button in the “History” section. 
9. Click on Yes and then click OK.

It never hurts to go the extra mile by erasing the TEMP folders. Restart the computer and hit F8 a couple of times before Windows starts. Then select “Safe Mode”. In Safe mode you can click Start, click RUN (if you don’t have a RUN option hit Windows Key+R) and type “%TEMP%” (without the quotes, but with the percentage signs.). Delete all the files that are in this folder. If some files cannot be removed the are most likely in use and this can be ignored.

B) Check if the BITS service is running
Especialy with the errors 0x80246008 and 0x80246007 there is a pretty good chance that the Background Intelligent Transfer Service hasn’t started or is not correctly installed. This service will take care of downloading the updates and as such is pretty crucial for the Windows Update process. 
1. Click on Start
2. Click on RUN (if you don’t have a RUN option hit Windows Key+R)
3. Type CMD and hit OK
4. In the MS-Dos screen that appears type the following commands:
regsvr32 qmgr.dll [Enter]
regsvr32 qmgrprxy.dll [Enter]
5. Click Start and then click “My Computer” with the right mouse button.
6. Select Manage from the list.
7. Double click on the “Services and Applications” line and then click “Services”.
8. Check if there is a service called Background Intelligent Transfer Service and if this is listed as “Automatic” and “Started”
– If this isn’t the case then doubleclick the service and set the Startup Type to Automatic, hit apply and then hit the start button. Check the Event viewer if the service won’t start. 
– If the BITS Service isn’t available in the list of services it may not have been installed (correctly). Download and reinstall the BITS v1.5 service from this URL and then download and install the update to BITS v2.0 with this file.  

C) Registrer the DLL’s 
Dynamic Link Libaries contain all sort of routines that can be used by all applications. When a neccessary DLL isn’t loaded or replaced by an older version a routine cannot be called and excuted. Windows Update uses the following DLL’s that we will re-register.
1. Click on Start
2. Click on RUN (if you don’t have a RUN option hit Windows Key+R)
3. Type CMD and hit OK
4. In the MS-Dos screen that appears type the following commands:

regsvr32 MSXML.DLL     [Enter]
regsvr32 MSXML2.DLL   [Enter]
regsvr32 MSXML3.DLL   [Enter]
regsvr32 Wuaueng.DLL  [Enter]
Every time you hit [Enter] a message box from RegSvr32 will appear stating that “DllRegisterServer in [name].dll succeeded.”. The DLL is than registered and can be loaded if needed. If the DLL file doesn’t exist then you’ll get a message box from RegSvr32 stating “LoadLibrary (“[name].dll”) failed – The specified module could not be found.” This isn’t that much of a problem and can be ignored, continue to register the next DLL.

D) Let Windows repair the Windows Update database
A history of all the updates that are installed is kept in a database file. If for whatever reason this database is corrupted or mismatches the actual situation you can have it rebuild.

1. Click on Start
2. Click on RUN (Guess what yoy have to do if you don’t have a RUN option?)
3. Type CMD and hit OK
4. In the MS-Dos screen that appears type the following commands:
net stop wuauserv  [Enter]
This will stop the “Automatic Updates” service that is using the database.
5. Now lets switch to the Windows directory – Type
CD Windows    [Enter]
(If you get “The system cannot find the path specified” then Windows is installed in another folder. Type SET [Enter] and look at the option “windir”) 
6. Type:
Rename SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution_OLD
which will rename the folder containing the database.
7. Type:
net start wuauserv [Enter]
8. Now try Windows Update again. This may take a while (With the green bar going back and forth) because the database has to be rebuild.

Tip: Try the new Microsoft Update Service instead of the Windows Update Service! Go to http://update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate and follow the steps. The biggest advantage is that this will update all installed Microsoft Software instead of just for Microsoft Windows.

Tip 2: Make sure that the Date and Time are set correctly on your PC. A big difference will cause problems as well.

I hope that these steps have solved your problem with Windows Update. If this is not the case and you have a solution that is not in this article please share this by using the “Post a comment” button, which ofcourse is also great in case you want to let me know that it DID solve your problems :-).