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  1. 3 Star Lounger
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    First of all, the following pertains to a Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop running on 32-bit Vista Home Premium, SP2. A couple of weeks ago, it stopped installing Windows Updates at all, and as I write this the number was up to a dozen or more available but not installed, and no matter what I do I can only get a "Code 646 - Windows has experience an unknown error" which tells me absolutely nothing of any value. I've been doing some research, and apparently that code means Windows Update is broken, and needs to be replaced. To that end, I've found the following information on the MS webpage:

    1. Article 971058 - How do I reset Windows Update components?
    2. Article 949104 - Hot wo obtain the latest version of the Windows Update Agent to help manage updates on a computer
    3. Directions titled "Windows Installer 4.5 Redistributable to download Windows Installer

    #1 is a tool to effectively clean up and reset WU automatically, with #2 and #3 downloads to reinstall Windows Update and Windows Installer. In #1 it states to use the "default" mode when running the tool, then to use the "aggressive" mode if default does not work. My source told me verbally to simply use "aggressive mode," but now I am curious to know BEFORE I do it what the difference is. What happens in aggressive mode that does not happen in default, and what are the consequences of it afterwards? I am NOT AT ALL COMFORTABLE doing this in the first place, and I DO want to resolve the problem, but I likewise do not want to get myself into a position of deleting files and such and then disabling the laptop and not be able to fix it.

    Before I start and go over the edge with this, can someone offer any advice and/or keep me from getting into trouble with it? I am very nervous about doing this.

    David E. Cann

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  3. Plutonium Lounger
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    MSKB article How do I reset Windows Update components? explains the difference between "Default" and "Agressive" modes in the section "Let me fix it myself". The process consists of steps 1 through 12. Default mode skips step 4, which renames some system folders (which will then be recreated automatically) and resets two services. But it's all rather technical - I won't pretend to understand what each of those steps does.

    It won't hurt to run the Fixit tool (which is much easier than the "Let me fix it myself" method) in Default mode first, and see if Windows Update runs correctly. If it doesn't, you can then run the Fixit tool in Aggressive mode.


  4. 3 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by HansV View Post
    MSKB article How do I reset Windows Update components? explains the difference between "Default" and "Agressive" modes in the section "Let me fix it myself". The process consists of steps 1 through 12. Default mode skips step 4, which renames some system folders (which will then be recreated automatically) and resets two services. But it's all rather technical - I won't pretend to understand what each of those steps does.

    It won't hurt to run the Fixit tool (which is much easier than the "Let me fix it myself" method) in Default mode first, and see if Windows Update runs correctly. If it doesn't, you can then run the Fixit tool in Aggressive mode.

    Thank you, but one more question if I may. As I mentioned above, in addition to directions on using the Fix It Tool, I also have directions for downloading and installing the Windows Update Agent and Windows Installer as well. I'm not clear on this and it doesn't specifically say, but will the latter two need to be reinstalled after using the Fix It Tool, or are they to be reinstalled afterwards ONLY if the Fix It Tool does not fully correct the problem?

    Thank you for the help. I am obviously very nervous about poking around in this part of the computer, and I just want to get all my directions straight before I jump in and try to follow all of the instructions.

    David E. Cann

  5. Plutonium Lounger
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    The Fixit tool is supposed to solve the problem completely, so you shouldn't need to download and install the Windows Update Agent separately.

    I'd run the Fixit tool in default mode and see if Windows Update works again.
    If so, you're done.
    If not, run the Fixit tool in aggressive mode and see if Windows Update works again.
    If so, you're done.
    If not, it might be a good idea to contact Microsoft Support.


  6. 3 Star Lounger
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    First of all, I apologize for taking so long to respond, but last week was a big holiday here in the US and I wasn't at the computer much. My thanks to you and the others for helping me, but the problem is now resolved and the initial indication is that it is working normally once again and all available updates are finally installed. For future reference, following are the precise steps I followed, along with the results:

    1. Ran the Fix It Tool in DEFAULT mode then did the required reboot, but the problem remained afterwards. :-(
    2. Ran the Fix It Tool in AGGRESSIVE mode then did the required reboot, but with the same results noted in #1 above.
    3. Ran the Fix It Tool (yes, again) in AGGRESSIVE mode, did the required reboot, then downloaded & (re)installed the Windows Update Agent per instructions for doing so in Windows Article ID 949104. THIS time, following the installation all of the MS Updates piling up over the last few weeks all installed normally.

    I can only presume at this point the automatic updates will occur in the future when they become available, but that cannot be confirmed until one shows up but I am trying to be optomistic here. :-) Based on what I've seen, the problem in my case was that the Windows Update Agent was somehow corrupted, which explains why the Fix It Tool by itself did not work, but that is a guess. All I know is that it is working normally now, so I'm not going to tamper with it any more. :-)

    My thanks again to you and the others here for your help. I am most grateful to you.

    David E. Cann

  7. Administrator
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    Quote Originally Posted by decann View Post
    First of all, I apologize for taking so long to respond, but last week was a big holiday here in the US and I wasn't at the computer much. My thanks to you and the others for helping me, but the problem is now resolved and the initial indication is that it is working normally once again and all available updates are finally installed. For future reference, following are the precise steps I followed, along with the results:

    1. Ran the Fix It Tool in DEFAULT mode then did the required reboot, but the problem remained afterwards. :-(
    2. Ran the Fix It Tool in AGGRESSIVE mode then did the required reboot, but with the same results noted in #1 above.
    3. Ran the Fix It Tool (yes, again) in AGGRESSIVE mode, did the required reboot, then downloaded & (re)installed the Windows Update Agent per instructions for doing so in Windows Article ID 949104. THIS time, following the installation all of the MS Updates piling up over the last few weeks all installed normally.

    I can only presume at this point the automatic updates will occur in the future when they become available, but that cannot be confirmed until one shows up but I am trying to be optomistic here. :-) Based on what I've seen, the problem in my case was that the Windows Update Agent was somehow corrupted, which explains why the Fix It Tool by itself did not work, but that is a guess. All I know is that it is working normally now, so I'm not going to tamper with it any more. :-)

    My thanks again to you and the others here for your help. I am most grateful to you.
    Thanks for posting your solution. The normal Microsoft patch schedule is the second Tuesday of every month (AKA - patch Tuesday).

    Joe

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