Windows Update Not Working or Fails; Reset Windows Update Settings

This is mostly seen with WSUS but I have run into it from time to time through regular day to day items.

While working on a server today I kept being informed that the Windows Updates were failing. When checking the Windows Update log file I found the error. From there I went about fixing it.

Turns out the junior guys were confused as I said “Ah.” and dropped to a command prompt. That reminded me that sometimes I really need to explain what is going on in my head to others.

This issue is really easy to fix. It usually happens when there is a problem with the installation of an update. In this case I found that the C: drive was in the middle of compressing files and it so happened that one of the folders was the “softwaredistribution” folder where updates are stored to be installed.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Open a command prompt. (If you don’t know how please contact a technical support person)
  2. regsvr32 /u wuaueng.dll
  4. del C:\WINDOWSUPDATE.log (if this tells you that it is in use just go to the next step).
  5. Regsvr32 wuaueng.dll
  6. Net start wuauserv
  7. Wuauclt.exe /resetauthorization /detectnow

There you go, you should be able to request Windows Updates and they will download and install as you expect.

Post here if you have any questions.

UPDATE 11/14/2008:
It has come to my attention, thanks to others posting, that there is another error you might receive in Vista(r) that the above steps will not help you.  That is error 80070246.  You may find it in your event logs as

STOP 0×80070246

This denotes a problem in your GlobalInstallOrder.xml file.  Following is a link to the Microsoft Knowledge Base article that will walk you through the steps to complete to fix this error:

Please, if you have any questions/comments post them here where all can see.