I just managed to win my three day fight with Windows Update. What an ordeal to get updates to install! I figured I’d post my experience here so that anyone that happens to have a similar problem might find the solution or at least a direction they should start looking should they happen to find my blog in their search results.
3 days ago, I got a user’s laptop to the point where it needed 11 updates from “Microsoft Update”. I don’t believe that the specific updates were an issue, but for the sake of full disclosure, I’ll list them:
After displaying the list of updates that needed to be installed, I clicked “Install”. Normally, for 11 updates, I’d let the machine sit for fifteen or twenty minutes before checking to see if it was done installing. That day happened to be a fairly slow day so I sat and watched it out of the corner of my eye while fiddling w/ my Twitter client’s request-rate-limits (Oh, Twitter… /sigh). Within a few minutes, a result window popped up declaring that all 11 updates failed to install. I didn’t think it was a big deal… restarted the laptop and tried again. Same result.
“Ok, I’ve had this trouble before.” I recalled. “What did I do?”
Previously, when encountering this issue, I’d perform the following:
- Stop the Automatic Updates service.
- Navigate to “C:WindowsSoftwareDistributionDownload” and delete all contents.
- Navigate to “C:WindowsSoftwareDistributionEventCache” and delete all contents.
- Start the Automatic Updates service.
- Re-visit Microsoft/Windows Update site and get updates detected and installed.
Normally, that’d take care of it. It didn’t yesterday. I’d empty those folders, restart the service, return to Microsoft Update and upon detecting the 11 updates I needed to install, it would inform me that it had already downloaded the necessary data and wouldn’t require any time to do so. BAH!
After fighting with it some more today (wasting time!), I remembered that the company I work for has a WSUS machine setup at corp. HQ in California. They’ve used this WSUS machine to block certain updates that have not been qualified by corp. IT yet or have been marked as disruptive to internal applications. At this point, I assumed that this was the cause of my problem.
I unplugged the network cable, turned on the wireless card, and hopped onto our ‘test’ wifi that isn’t connected to the internal company network. The Download and EventCache folders were still empty, so I figured I had a good shot of getting the updates installed this time. However, I had the same symptom: “11 updates, 0MB, 0Min.”
“What the hell?”
I did some more poking around in the SoftwareDistribution directory. I found a “C:WindowsSoftwareDistributionWuRedir” directory w/ some .cab files and .xml files sitting in subdirectories. After stopping the AU service again, I removed the whole “WuRedir” directory and restarted the AU service.
Still on the external wireless, I revisited Microsoft Update. This time: “11 updates, thirty-something MB, 10Min.” Fifteen minutes later, they were all downloaded and installed successfully.