Stealth Windows update prevents XP repair

Scott dunn
By Scott Dunn

A silent update that Microsoft deployed widely in July and August is preventing the “repair” feature of Windows XP from completing successfully.

Ever since the Redmond company’s recent download of new support files for Windows Update, users of XP’s repair function have been unable to install the latest 80 patches from Microsoft.


Repaired installations of XP can’t be updated

Accounts of conflicts with XP’s repair option came to our attention after Microsoft’s “silent install” of Windows Update (WU) executable files, known as version 7.0.600.381, was reported in the Sept. 13 and 20 issues of the Windows Secrets Newsletter.

The trouble occurs when users reinstall XP’s system files using the repair capability found on genuine XP CD-ROMs. (The feature is not present on “Restore CDs.”) The repair option, which is typically employed when XP for some reason becomes unbootable, rolls many aspects of XP back to a pristine state. It wipes out many updates and patches and sets Internet Explorer back to the version that originally shipped with the operating system.

Normally, users who repair XP can easily download and install the latest patches, using the Automatic Updates control panel or navigating directly to Microsoft’s Windows Update site.

However, after using the repair option from an XP CD-ROM, Windows Update now downloads and installs the new 7.0.600.381 executable files. Some WU executables aren’t registered with the operating system, preventing Windows Update from working as intended. This, in turn, prevents Microsoft’s 80 latest patches from installing — even if the patches successfully downloaded to the PC.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2007-09-27: