I recently reinstalled Windows XP SP2 on a Dell Vostro laptop, and Windows Update wouldn’t work. I knew malware wasn’t the cause, it’s a bug in Microsoft’s Windows Update and how it refuses to interact with older Internet Explorer 6 or 7, and if you try to update to IE8, it hangs if you let the install file check for updates before installing the browser.
I had to update to IE8 without checking for updates at time of install, then manually apply
and reboot, then it finally began updating automatically.
This is a clean install of XP SP2 updated to SP3 by manual download, but it wouldn’t show any updates for Windows Update, it would never finish checking.
The checking for updates, never completes.
To fix it I first tried a manual download of SP3 and installed it. No change.
I tried Fix It (because .NET wasn’t on this computer yet), but had to do the commands manually because of the missing .NET. They didn’t help after stopping and starting the WU service after doing proxycfg.exe -d and other things.
What finally worked days later when I went back to it, was manually updating IE8 with three patches.
I’m not sure if the combination of patches fixed it, or the last of the 3 I tried. The last one was IE8-WindowsXP-KB2898785-x86-ENU.exe
Downloading updates has been at 7% for the last half hour, so I hope that it hasn’t stalled out, but at least the little yellow update shield has returned to the system tray.