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  1. #1
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    Windows Update errors

    I've just discovered that when Windows Update says "There's no updates available at this time" it ain't necessarily so!

    If it's been a while since your last update, or you expected updates, check the "Windows Update.log" (in c:windows under XP) for errors. Check the errors out at the self help Windows Update troubleshooter for a cure. If the first fix doesn't, check the rest of the list for more possibilities. If that doesn't help, there's also the microsoft.public.windowsupdate newsgroup (useful, but a pain to dig around in).
    <font face="Comic Sans MS" color="blue">TimOz</font>
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  2. #2
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    From what you say Tim it sounds like you go for all the updates available. I have been scared off from doing this from reading the ezines from wopr. I sort of think "if it ain't broke don't fix it". I just looked at windows update and it found 14 critical & sp's 9 win xp and 1 driver on this single user pc. Scary stuff when one doesn't really know/understand from the description of these things if they should be installed or not. I've already experienced one crash after sp1...
    Appreciate your comments or an easy to understand website for dummies like me.
    Joan <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20>

  3. #3
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    I'm with you on the "if it ain't broke don't fix it", but I also believe in "continuous improvement". And given windows, there's always room for improvement. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> And if you spend time online what's safe & secure today may be wide open by tomorrow. I'm not keen on being a guinea pig for each latest fix or update from MS, so I usually wait until I've seen confirmation that they're safe, and certainly don't rush to apply every single one ASAP.

    I posted my "discovery" because I had just reinstalled XP. When I went to Windows Update for the updates I knew were needed, it told me that there weren't any. The reason for no updates was an error, but that fact was hidden in the log file, while the site gave the impression that all was OK. If I had not known about the valid updates, I may have gone on blissfully unaware of the problem until something did break.

    Your approach of picking updates based Woody's mags is a good one if you want to keep up to date, but not on the bleeding edge. And you can't that much of a dummy - you've found your way here! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    <font face="Comic Sans MS" color="blue">TimOz</font>
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  4. #4
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    was the reinstallation an "overlay" reinstall? Then you may not have needed the updates. Windows will try hard to not replace newer files with older ones...

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    Did you boot to CD, reformat, and clean install or simply reinstall within the OS environment?

  6. #6
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    It was an "upgrade" install to (temporarily) correct a suspect vendor install.

    I knew I was missing some stuff from WIndows Update, especially the Feb update for IE6. I got it to behave after disabling ""Check for server certificate revocation" in IE security, which was one several suggested cures for "the Windows Update.log file shows error 0x800C0008".

    I'd guess the same problem would have occurred even with a proper clean from scratch install (due in a few weeks), since I would have used the "Files and Settings Transfer Wizard" to do it's stuff.
    <font face="Comic Sans MS" color="blue">TimOz</font>
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  7. #7
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    I suspect you are right. WU is not a perfect tool by any means, and it is easy to trick it into giving you the wrong information.

    The truth is Windows Update does not really tell you that you are "up-to-date" in terms of your applied patches service packs. To do that, WU would have to scan through your hard disk to locate the specific files that are modified with each update. At the very least, it would have to investigate the "version" or other unique characeristic of each of the files in question. That would be very time consuming and resource intensive.

    Instead, WU only looks for "surrogate markers" to determine if you are "up-to-date". Like it used to say, "No information about you computer is being sent to Microsoft" -- which is true. The WU engine runs completely on your computer, scans through your registry and looks for surrogate markers, and then creates a 'dynamic' HTML page to give you the results. So, WU relies on your registry correctly reflecting the "up-to-date" status of your computer.

    What if you did a bunch of updates, and then "restored" your registry to a time before the updates? WIndows Update will tell you that you need to run all the updates again. This may be only partially true -- the replaced .exe and .dll files will all be the correctly updated files, but any useful modifications to the registry (new or modified keys or values) will have been reversed. The useful registry modifications need to be applied, but the .exe and .dll files will not need to be updated.

    So, WU is not a perfect tool, but otherwise it works fairly well... <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

  8. #8
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    Agreed, not perfect, but far better than nothing. And quite usable, especially when aware of it's limitations and pitfalls. Hence my original post. That problem was a new one for me, and I couldn't find any mention of something similar here, so it seemed worth sharing. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    <font face="Comic Sans MS" color="blue">TimOz</font>
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  9. #9
    billeger
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    That makes good sense. That the XP system restore would wipe out those little trackers while leaving the fact of the updates in place. <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15>
    <font color=blue><font face="Snap ITC">Hawai`i Bill</font face=snap></font color=blue>

  10. #10
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by DaveA on 12-Mar-03 07:37. )</P>About that statement that nothing is sent to microsoft.... http://www.securityfocus.com/news/2746

  11. #11
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    Tim--
    One check or "backstop" I've found for this problem is to get the Microsoft Security Update Newsletter--they also have a more extensive service oriented for IT/businesses. It will give you all the critical and less critical security updates at least and a few days before release. Technically they can be changed, but if they are, they'll email you that update. This won't give you all the featured updates, but at least keep you from missing any Security updates issued that Windows Update may be erratic about offering.

    SMBP

  12. #12
    Silver Lounger Duchess843's Avatar
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    Re: Windows Update errors

    I discovered another stop gap measure for the misbehaving Windows Update. Use the Windows Update Catalog, I did and found all I could handle.
    <img src=/S/coffeetime.gif border=0 alt=coffeetime width=32 height=48>

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