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Windows Update not working? This might fix it!

When I first wrote this article, it applied to a Windows XP system. Since then, I've found the same technique works with Server 2003 as well as other flavors of Windows. There are updates inline.

Here is the original scenario: You've got a computer you've just re-installed all of Windows XP. Like a good computer professional, before turning it back over to the client, you are going to apply all the service packs, patches, and updates that Microsoft might want the system to have.

Except when you go to (or, or, or whatever URL that redirects you to the Microsoft update engine), all you get is a referral to article 2497281 that says you should try a few steps manually.

I'm going to jump ahead quite a bit - I tried all the things suggested in that article, then tried other things others found and did, and had no success.

In another scenario, Windows Update's GUI is endlessly looping around on itself and never actually updating your system. Different symptom for some of the same types of problems!


Click Here for Press Release

New Data 12/2013! Server 2003 has the same issue!

I was making a virtual machine of a fresh from the CD installation of Server 2003 R2 and upon the first update attempt came up with a 0x80190194 error code in IE6 which complained of a Windows update error. After much hoop jumping and Microsoft Fix-It downloads that didn't fix it, I turned and did the same procedure below (though I did have to do more than just 2 files) and that server is now happily updating.

So if you have a server with a similar problem, follow along and get Windows update updating again! Details of my particular server faults are near the end.

New Data 12/2014! Server 2003 Windows Update Broken by MS- 14-068

Actually, I don't know if KB3011780 broke it for sure or not, but it was one of the updates that came in the November Patch Tuesday block. It could have been any of these: KB2993254, KB2998579, KB3000061, KB2978114, KB2989935, KB2993958, KB2992611, KB3002885, or KB3006226. Windows Update was so broken I couldn't even manually download the patch set for MS14-068 - it would run, unpack, give an error, not write a log file, and exit.

What fixed it: I did the manual install procedure below, though other files had to be copied as well and renamed in the process. Once that was done, Windows Update ran - the first thing it did was run an update that updated Windows Update components. Then it ran fine, did its updates, and then proceeded to go into a loop bouncing between two screens in IE and not run again.

At this point, for fun I gave the Microsoft Fix-It tool another try - this tool has never worked in the past, but to my amazement this time it worked perfectly!

The FixIt tool was found here:

Fix the problem with Microsoft Windows Update that is not working

This might not work in the future - my path to this link was:

Click on the Windows button, "Fix performance, errors or crashes, Windows Update. It was the first link in the screen, all shown here:

FixIt for Windows Update

The screen says it is for Windows 7, but it worked perfectly for me on a Server 2003 box.

Problem Details (the first one, not subsequent ones)

I was setting up a couple of notebooks with new hard drives and fresh installs of Windows XP Professional as that's what their restore disks & COA (Certificate of Authenticity) said they were sold with. One was a restore disk for XP, the other was a restore disk for XP with SP1 already integrated. Yes, they were older notebooks. But the price was right at $0/each and it was for a good cause.

The first system was a Gateway, the second was a Dell - but based on what I've read about others with this problem, it can be any system at all. In the first case, I put in a CD with XP SP3 to do all the updates at once. No good, windows update was broken. In the other case, I tried a small step - first to XP SP2, then up to XP SP3 - and it was broken as well.

Here is the the screen that comes up - click on any thumbnail image to bring up the full size version:

Windows Update Broken Article 2497281

They suggest a lot of things - like turning on automatic updates, then running the command to force updates now (wuauclt /detectnow), and none of those things worked for me. Others suggested manually downloading the Windows Update Client and forcing the install by running it from the command line with /wuforce to force the update to happen, some said they were calling Microsoft support, and other things - none of which fixed the problem for my two laptops.

What is happening

The short version is the install for Windows Update for some reason isn't installing all the files it needs to run. It is leaving a couple of older files as dust bunnies, and the whole update process is failing due to the new code trying to talk to an older .DLL file. The fix, until Microsoft fixes it for real, is to manually copy the files. A catch is those files are in use, so you'll have to do some DOS prompt type commands to make it so you can update those files.

Don't worry - I'll walk you through everything.

What you will need:

Download a copy of the Windows Update 3.0 install package. I found it at:

or, I also found a pointer to this download at:

That and some bravery to do some command prompts and you'll be all set!

Fixing Windows Update!

With the link downloaded, run it but don't go through the install. A screen will come up that shows what directory the files are expanding into - note that directory name or at least the first 2-3 characters of it as you'll see here:

Windows Update Agent expanding all its files

So in this example, which I captured after I'd already done the procedure, the files were expanded into the directory c:\41a<other stuff deleted>. We don't care about all that stuff, just enough of it we can find that directory. When all the files are expanded, you'll see the next screen about installing the update agent:

Windows Update Agent install screen

DO NOT PRESS NEXT OR CANCEL YET! Just let that window alone. If you cancel or hit next, your temporary files will be deleted before you can copy them to someplace else.

Now go to your DOS prompt by hitting Start->Run->CMD.EXE

Go into the directory listed by typing cd \ThoseFirstTwoOrThreeCharacters and then hitting the <TAB> key to auto-complete the rest of the directory name. So in the example above, you would type:

cd \41a<TAB><ENTER>

Note: <TAB> represents the tab button, not a less than sign, capital T, capital A, capital B, greater than sign. Same thing with <ENTER>

You'll now be at a DOS prompt inside the directory with all those nice files expanded.

Make a directory to save them:

mkdir c:\junk

Then copy the files to that junk directory:

copy *.* c:\junk

If you've already installed this update prior to searching and finding this article, you can hit the CANCEL button in the Windows Update Agent Installer window and completely skip the next paragraph.

If you haven't installed the update yet, hit Next and let the update proceed forward. If Microsoft fixes the problem, you should be able to go to and see everything working nicely. If it doesn't work yet, continue on.

In my case, the directory created with c:\0e6b22a4344a25.... so you'll see my screen shots reflect that directory tree. Plus I made my temporary directory C:\temp\wu - it really doesn't matter where you copy them, as long as it is a place you just created so nothing else is inside as you'll be wiping that temporary location out at the end of this.

Stop the auto-update service by typing:

net stop wuauserv

Stopping Windows Auto Update

I ran this from the windows\system32 directory, but you can run it from anywhere.

Here are fragments of the two directories, side by side. On the left are the good files as they come from Microsoft. On the right are the files as installed in the c:\windows\system32 directory. I highlighted the two files that weren't updated by the installer with red arrows. These have to be copied by hand.

On the left you can see wuauserv.dll is dated 8/6/2009 and has a size of 22,744 - on the right it is older, 4/14/2008 and only 6,656 bytes.

Similar item with wuweb.dll - new on the left, old on the right. Both these files need to be copied from your temporary directory to c:\windows\system32

Since you are inside your temporary directory, you can type the first line and copy wuweb.dll:

copy wuweb.dll c:\windows\system32

If you get an error saying the file is in use, close all your Internet Explorer windows. The Windows Update website likely has one of those DLL files open.

You can see I had that error with wuauserv.dll - so for that, I had to rename the file first, then I could copy it. So type:

rename c:\windows\system32\wuauserv.dll wuauserv.dll.old
copy wuauserv.dll c:\windows\system32

Right after that, without even a reboot, I was able to go to Windows Update and it worked!

The system did a full suite of updates, updated its updating engine, and is running fine.

When you are done, you can delete that temporary directory you saved all the files into.

For Server 2003 installations:

Following the similar procedure above, I had to copy wups.dll, wups2.dll, wuauserv.dll, and wuweb.dll from the temp directory into the c:\windows\system32 directory. This was on a fresh installation off a Windows Server 2003 R2 install disk. Even though I'd stopped bits and wuauserv services, I still had to rename wuauserv.dll to .old in order to make the copy work.

I didn't look for a different update installer package for Server 2003, but used the same update installer as I did on the Windows XP SP3 system.

Another Server 2003 Looping Failure:

In this example, I came across a Server 2003 that was looping on itself when the user went to the windows udpate web site. The two screens looked like this:

Windows Update Loop

Followed by:

Windows Update Failure Loop

In this case, looking over the WindowsUpdate.log file revealed a huge clue - here is a snip from that magical file followed by the actual text that is important:

Windows Update Broken - Log File

FATAL: Update required for C:\WINDOWS\system32\wuweb.dll:
target version = 7.2.6001.788, required version = 7.6.7600.256

So the update is looping for a similar reason, this is because of a version mismatch between a file required for Windows Update to function properly. How it got messed up is anybody's guess - searching around, I found 3 different versions, and the one up in the dllcache directory was the correct version. This screen shows me searching around, followed by the properties on the version in the dllcache directory:

Looking for updated wuweb.dll

Found correct wuweb.dll version 7.6.7600.256

Seeing this, finding the new version, I had to copy it into the c:\windows\system32 directory from the dllcache directory. At first, it wouldn't copy - it turns out the file was still in use. You can see my progression here, first the file won't copy, then I run process explorer to see who has the file open, I found an Internet Explorer instance without any GUI windows still running the DLL, killed that process, then retried the copy and the file now copied over:

Copying the correct wuweb.dll file

And just like that, Windows Updates start working again:

Windows Update Working Again!



Next time, I'm going to try the "new" fix-it tool first. Who knows, maybe it actually works 100% of the time now! That would be way nicer than the manual (ugh) installation I had to go through. Interestingly enough, the fix-it tool is what left the older DLL that prevented Windows Update from running via the GUI. So Fix-It still isn't fixing it all.


If you found this helpful (or not), please send me a brief email -- one line will more than do. If I see people need, want, and / or use this kind of information that will encourage me to keep creating this kind of content. Whereas if I never hear from anyone, then why bother?

I can be reached at:
das (at-sign) dascomputerconsultants (dot) com


David Soussan

(C) 2011, 2013, 2014 DAS Computer Consultants, LTD.  All Rights Reserved.


Everything below this line is to help search engines with finding this content - some of these are right out of my WindowsUpdate.log file which are likely things that more advanced users might search for. Seriously, there is no reason you need to be reading all this gunk!

Help error message 0x80190194 windows update server 2003!
Windows update failed with 0x80190194

2014-12-05 09:58:15:365 884 5b24 DnldMgr Regulation server path:
2014-12-05 09:58:15:709 884 5b24 DnldMgr * Regulation call complete. 0x00000000
2014-12-05 09:58:15:740 884 5b24 DnldMgr *********** DnldMgr: New download job [UpdateId = {66898F85-E7D5-41EF-B88A-84733092C62C}.205] ***********
2014-12-05 09:58:15:740 884 5b24 DnldMgr * Queueing update for download handler request generation.
2014-12-05 09:58:15:740 884 5b24 DnldMgr Generating download request for update {66898F85-E7D5-41EF-B88A-84733092C62C}.205
2014-12-05 09:58:15:740 884 5b24 Misc FATAL: Failed to delete file C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\30315f8a55ccb16d15cc91b705df503b\update\update.url (hr = 80070005) after 0 retries
2014-12-05 09:58:16:021 884 5b24 Handler Windows Patch download for UpdateId = {66898F85-E7D5-41EF-B88A-84733092C62C}: selected action is download express (delta).
2014-12-05 09:58:16:209 884 5b24 Handler Updateci: CreateFileForWrite( C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\30315f8a55ccb16d15cc91b705df503b\update\update.url ): CreateFile failed (5)
2014-12-05 09:58:16:209 884 5b24 Handler Updateci: ExpandCabinetToDirectory( C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\30315f8a55ccb16d15cc91b705df503b\windowsserver2003-kb3011780-x86-express-enu.exe,a000 ): failed (5)
2014-12-05 09:58:16:209 884 5b24 Handler Updateci: WinSEUpdateHandler::_UnpackCab: Failed extracting C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\30315f8a55ccb16d15cc91b705df503b\windowsserver2003-kb3011780-x86-express-enu.exe to C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\30315f8a55ccb16d15cc91b705df503b (5, 0x5)
2014-12-05 09:58:16:209 884 5b24 Handler Updateci: WinSEUpdateHandler::_Unpack: C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\30315f8a55ccb16d15cc91b705df503b\windowsserver2003-kb3011780-x86-express-enu.exe failed (5)
2014-12-05 09:58:16:209 884 5b24 Handler FATAL: UH: 0x80070005: Unpack failed in CUHWindowsPatchHandler::ValidateAndUnpackPackage
2014-12-05 09:58:16:209 884 5b24 Handler FATAL: UH: 0x80070005: ValidateAndUnpackPackage failed in CUHWindowsPatchHandler::GetRequiredFilesForSandboxState
2014-12-05 09:58:16:209 884 5b24 Handler FATAL: UH: 0x80070005: GetRequiredFilesForSandboxState failed in CUHWindowsPatchHandler::GenerateDownloadRequest
2014-12-05 09:58:16:209 884 5b24 DnldMgr FATAL: DM:CAgentDownloadManager::GenerateAllDownloadRequests: GenerateDownloadRequest failed with 0x80070005.
2014-12-05 09:58:16:209 884 5b24 DnldMgr Error 0x80070005 occurred while downloading update; notifying dependent calls.
2014-12-05 09:58:16:224 884 5b24 Misc FATAL: Failed to delete file C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\30315f8a55ccb16d15cc91b705df503b\update\update.url (hr = 80070005) after 0 retries
2014-12-05 09:58:16:224 884 5b24 Agent *********
2014-12-05 09:58:16:224 884 5b24 Agent ** END ** Agent: Downloading updates [CallerId = AutomaticUpdates]
2014-12-05 09:58:16:224 884 5b24 Agent *************
2014-12-05 09:58:16:224 884 5f0c AU >>## RESUMED ## AU: Download update [UpdateId = {45B5C5A8-D042-48CC-8838-AFB6B32A6952}]
2014-12-05 09:58:16:224 884 5f0c AU # WARNING: Download failed, error = 0x80070005

2014-12-17 16:51:12:715 884 75d8 AU Featured notifications is disabled.
2014-12-17 16:51:12:715 884 9414 Report REPORT EVENT: {FBAAB773-75FA-4950-B46C-FCC2CA4A55C7} 2014-12-17 16:51:06:137-0500 1 182 101 {B01F648F-99E2-4CD5-948B-195FF76418D3} 201 80070002 MicrosoftUpdate Failure Content Install Installation Failure: Windows failed to install the following update with error 0x80070002: Security Update for Windows Server 2003 (KB3013126).
2014-12-17 16:51:12:715 884 9414 Report REPORT EVENT: {C2F76B97-731A-4ED9-A503-D8EB3D956CA4} 2014-12-17 16:51:06:668-0500 1 182 101 {E2D027AE-6FE2-48FE-AC56-A7927D2A27E3} 201 80070002 MicrosoftUpdate Failure Content Install Installation Failure: Windows failed to install the following update with error 0x80070002: Security Update for Internet Explorer 8 for Windows Server 2003 (KB3012176).
2014-12-17 16:51:12:715 884 9414 Report REPORT EVENT: {64DDD9E6-7838-4F4D-8CFD-009EC4059F0F} 2014-12-17 16:51:06:981-0500 1 182 101 {26662B73-1D69-4956-B3D3-CF97ADFFFD3B} 204 80070002 MicrosoftUpdate Failure Content Install Installation Failure: Windows failed to install the following update with error 0x80070002: Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 8 for Windows Server 2003 (KB3008923).
2014-12-17 16:54:28:309 28732 9310 CltUI AU client got new directive = 'None', serviceId = {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}, return = 0x80010108
2014-12-17 16:54:28:309 28732 9310 CltUI FATAL: Failed to show client UI, directive=7, hr=80010108
2014-12-17 16:54:28:309 884 68a8 AU ########### AU: Uninitializing Automatic Updates ###########