Automatic Windows Update Confusion

Microsoft Windows xp professional w/serv...
June 2, 2010 at 08:50:33
Specs: Windows XP Pro
Hi everyone, this is bothering me a bit and I was wondering if maybe someone could give me some advice.

For a long time, since I got this computer actually, the automatic updates box has been greyed out. It takes a long, long time on the Windows Update page to download the updates, so I finally decided yesterday to try and do something about the greyed out Updates box.

It was set on Automatically download every day at 3 AM, which made me suspect that although it technically is on, it's not really doing much good.

I did some searching and came up with the Microsoft forums and I checked the service manager, and auto updates was enabled, so I tried (eventually) what was suggested on the second site. The Group Policy was not configured, which had been suggested as a reason it was greyed out, so I edited the registry values as they suggest. I could not find the second value under Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ WindowsUpdate, but did find the others.

It worked, and I was able to change the Automatic Updates. I told it to run at 3 PM rather than 3 AM.

After I turned on my computer this morning, it could barely run. Investigation showed me that windows update and svchost were using so much ram, nothing else was able to run properly. It took ten minutes before System Restore was able to run and restore the registry. Now the computer is running properly again, but I'd still like to find some way to make the Automatic updates run at a decent time so that they might actually do some good, but I also want to be able to use the computer. Would anyone have any ideas on how to change Automatic Updates to run while the computer is actually on, without making the computer unusable for anything else?

The computer is an IBM Thinkpad laptop running Windows XP Pro service pack 3. It's rather old, and doesn't have much ram. (I know, I know - so buy more ram, silly! It's on the list, but there isn't something I can do at the moment.)

See More: Automatic Windows Update Confusion

Report •

June 2, 2010 at 09:23:59
Could simply be that you have MANY updates to install. That would certainly bog down the computer.

There are still well over a hundred additional updates after SP3, last time I checked. Could be many more by now.

BTW, I suggest you NOT allow any hardware driver updates to install from the update site. If drivers need to be updated then get them from the manufacturer.

Report •

June 2, 2010 at 19:37:54
Do Windows Update Manually first, if you are actually very far behind on your updates, you may need to do it a number of times.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.
If all else fails, read instructions.

Report •

June 3, 2010 at 07:04:44
Hey again,
I have tried to do windows updates manually, each time I try it just seems to sit there. Should it be doing that, taking a very long time on the 'Checking for Updates' page? I let it run for about twenty minutes once, some time ago. Should I disable my anti virus or something first, or will it just take a long time because I am behind quite a bit farther than I should be?
But I see what you are saying - it shouldn't take as much ram once I'm caught up. I'm still wondering, though - why was it sucking up everything at 10am, when it was set to run at 3pm?

Report •

Related Solutions

June 3, 2010 at 12:57:04
Is your copy of XP legal and registered?

Has the update site asked you to install WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage)?

What type of internet connection are you using?

Report •

June 3, 2010 at 14:10:37
The copy of Windows XP on this computer is legal and registered, it was installed on the computer when it was given to me by my college a few years ago, likely using their Pro Enterprise version. I have checked that it is registered when I updated to service packs 2 and 3, as well as updating windows media player and IE.

I do not remember if it asked to install WGA, it has been awhile since the first time I tried manual update, but I do not remember being asked to do so. (Edit: I'm pretty sure it did validate my copy of windows, I remember it doing some kind of validation when I updated windows media player.)

I'm using a wireless connection that is protected with a WEP key.

I did a little online searching and found some other people who were having a similar problem, (of the updates site hanging on 'Checking for updates for your computer') so I may eventually try some of the solutions that were suggested to them, but I would like to hear other opinions from this forum first. In particular, the suggestions offered on this site: Does anyone have an opinion on the suggestions offered on the webpage linked?

Report •

June 4, 2010 at 11:33:00
Hey again,
I managed to get the manual update working. I got the Automatic Updates to be accessible again, and told it I would take care of it. Then I followed some of the steps on the page I linked to. After I did that, I restarted, and than tried the updates page again. It installed Windows Genuine Advantage and most of the updates I had missed. I did have to restart again, as some of my startup programs didn't load on the first restart. The second restart took longer than usual to load up all the programs, but it appears that they have all loaded, and Windows Update seems to be working again.
Thanks for the suggestions, it seems to be fixed now. Just going to have some cleanup and fussing to be finished.

Report •

June 4, 2010 at 11:58:47
Glad you got it sorted out.

Report •

Ask Question