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In the Start Menu it appears as an Application. Is it? Where could I download a replacement?

All the various links on that page are unworkable except Check History which shows a few minor updates did install, Important ones Fail.

What I'm trying to do is update to the needed SP2. [Full-bore download 745MB of SP2 also fails. Is there a cross-connection?] After 40 hours I am baffled and admit defeat.

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"Check for Updates" returns the famous 80004002 error. – Robert Litfin Mar 19 '11 at 20:18
This is for 64bit VistaSP1 Home Premium. – Robert Litfin Mar 19 '11 at 20:21
Check for malware. You may have an infection preventing you from running updates. – user3463 Mar 19 '11 at 20:29
I had this same issue on my Vista machine, it was the BITS service that had stopped for some reason. I'm still not sure why, as there were no viral or malware infections (tested intensively and found nothing), but starting the service again fixed the problem. – MaQleod Mar 19 '11 at 21:43

I searched it and found this result, which seems to have links for the windows update application (second post). You can also try the other steps mentioned in that thread.

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Good find. +1 for you. – user3463 Mar 19 '11 at 20:37

This is a slightly tangential answer, but it's a decent first-resort guide for giving the windows update client a kick in the pants:

  1. Stop the Automatic Updates (or Windows Update) service and the BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) service (the services are named wuauserv and bits)
  2. Delete the entire SoftwareDistribution directory under C:\Windows
  3. Run del "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Network\Downloader\qmgr*.dat" from the command line
  4. Start the bits and wuauserv services again
  5. Run bitsadmin.exe /reset /allusers from the command line
  6. Run wuauclt /detectnow from the command line
  7. Wait about 10-15 minutes

After this, if you have updates set to notify you when they're available, you should see the familiar little icon pop up letting you know it's ready to install the new updates.

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