Tool: Windows Update
Windows Update is an essential component of Windows, and for that reason alone, deserves its own section. If you followed my first XP Guide (please tell me you did...), we turned off Automatic Updating as it is both annoying and unnecessary. However you should regularly run the Windows Update tool manually (or click this link and add it to your Favorites). Without the latest updates, especially those released in SP1 (see Installation Issues section), Windows XP has several known problems which can make life difficult for you. Be smart and keep your machine right up to date by downloading and installing all the Windows Critical Updates and Service Packs.
In this section we cover a common problem people have, and that's the inability to access the Windows Update site, strange messages when they try, or freezing while Windows Updates scans for available updates. The main resolution is below.
Please note that if you're running a pirated copy of Windows XP, Windows Update will most likely not work for you because your copy is pirated. This is by design, and the fix below will not help you. I suggest you purchase a legitimate copy as Windows XP will not function properly without regular security and performance patches being applied to your system.
Fixing Windows Update
Tool: Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer
The best way to fix Windows Update so that it behaves as normal is effectively to uninstall all its components from your machine and allow it to reinstall. You can do this by following all of the procedures below in sequence:
1. Reboot your PC and don't open Windows Update.
2. Go to Internet Explorer>Tools>Internet Options and click on the Delete Cookies and Delete Files (tick 'Delete all offline content') buttons. Click OK to finish and close Internet Explorer.
3. Open Windows Explorer, and go to your Windows Update folder, typically C:\Program Files\WindowsUpdate. Delete the folder and all subfolders and contents.
4. Still in Windows Explorer, go to your Windows Update Temporary folder, typically C:\WUTemp. Delete the folder and all subfolders and contents. Note that you can delete this folder any time in the future after a Windows Update session and a reboot. Close Windows Explorer.
5. Click on Start>Run and type "REGSVR32 IUCTL.DLL /U" (without quotes) and click OK. Click OK again when done.
6. Go to Start>Search, select All Files and Folders and type in "IUCTL.DLL" (without quotes) in the top search box, then Press ENTER. Delete every instance of this file found - highlight the files in the right pane and press DEL.
7. Repeat step 6 for "IUENGINE.DLL" (without quotes) and delete all entries found again.
8. Reboot your PC. Open Windows Update and Windows will redownload the Windows Update software and everything should be fine from there.
Note if your icon doesn't work for accessing Windows Update, use this link. The difference is this link is a secure (HTTPS, not HTTP) website link. Add it to your Favorites if other methods of access don't work.
How much to upgrade to x64 Edition?