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Since last 2 weeks Windows Update is not working at all. No "Updates are available" messages. When I run Microsoft Update, it opens IE 8. Doesn't matter if I select Express or Custom, it is stuck for hours at "Checking for the latest updates for your computer". I have tried repeatedly at different times of the day.

Windows Update

Automatic Updates enabled and service is running. Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is running. I have tried setting all services to default like BlackViper says for XP Professional SP3 and all seem to be fine.

I have run all Microsoft FixIts I could find including http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971058 and also performed all manual repair steps on that page. All successful but no change.

Microsoft Security Essentials is getting updated properly but earlier I was getting updates for it via Windows Update also. Scanned for viruses, trojans and rootkits many times with many different programs. Nothing detected so far and I believe system is clean.

I need Windows XP on this system so what can I try next to fix Windows Update?

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Is it possible there are no updates? –  CharlieRB Oct 9 '13 at 18:12
    
@CharlieRB - Very possible. As far as I am aware MSE is only updated through Windows Update on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. –  Ramhound Oct 9 '13 at 18:25
    
@CharlieRB - Thanks, but as long as WU was working properly the Express & Custom scans used to get over in less than a minute and it would show me if there were relevant updates or none at all. Now it's just stuck indefinitely in the scan process. –  windohs Oct 9 '13 at 21:11
    
@Ramhound: Thanks, but I am using MS Update, not WU. There is a difference. Once the MSU ActiveX control is installed it replaces the WU one and offers definitions updates for MSE too. It's like the MSU option that programs like Office add to Windows 7. Selecting it starts giving you updates for MS products other than just Windows. –  windohs Oct 9 '13 at 21:16
    
Check this out to see if it helps; XP Pro Windows Update Hangs at "Checking for the latest updates for your computer..." –  CharlieRB Oct 10 '13 at 11:30
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1 Answer

Had the same problem on a fresh install of WinXP Pro SP3. This thread is what fixed it for me:

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/163751-windows-update-trouble/

Bottom line was installing this cumulative update took care of an issue that MS had created earlier that was causing the Windows Update to take forever:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40390

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