Windows XP Automatic updates not working [Solved/Closed]

Yodi - Dec 12, 2008 at 10:19 AM - Latest reply:  Jay
- Dec 20, 2013 at 02:28 PM

My computer will not allow me to turn on the windows automatic updates. Part of the issue was that I found out that I had a virus so I was able to run full scan and got rid of the virus atleast I hope so.
There is a big x over the automatic updates shield. I tried going in under control panel and turn the updates on but it will not allow me to do so. Also, I went through the security center as well but the system will not allow me to change it from off to on. Can you explain why its doing this and tell me how to fix the problem?
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26 replies

Best answer
Thank you
1 >GO ahead and rename the "software distribution" folder to "software distribution old" on the c drive. Path is C:\WINDOWS\
2 >Once rename the folder go to Automatic updates from the control panel and disable and enable the Automatic updates.
3 >Once it is done restart the computer the Automatic updates will start download.

Good luck.

Thank you, Arun Soman 50

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nonameatall 1 Posts Monday October 21, 2013Registration date October 21, 2013 Last seen - Oct 21, 2013 at 04:44 PM
That was the move. Nice!
NickyCee 2 Posts Friday October 25, 2013Registration date October 25, 2013 Last seen - Oct 25, 2013 at 07:03 PM

I registered to this site just to thank you so very much for this solution. I spent 1.5 hours with Microsoft and another 2 hours on the web trying to fix this XP update problem. Your amazing and brilliant solution had me fixed in less than 5 minutes. Thanks you times 10 for your insight and for posting this solution!!!!
NickyCee 2 Posts Friday October 25, 2013Registration date October 25, 2013 Last seen - Oct 25, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Also, you may want to add that you must boot into XP safe mode to change the folder name. Ju7st restart and hold down the F8 key. Boot into Safe mode with networking, change the name, and reboot.
Steps I had to take:
Install IE8
Turn off Automatic Updates
Restart to Safe Mode (F8)
Rename Software Distribution to Software Distribution 2
Restart normally.
Turn on Automatic Updates
In about 10 minutes the little yellow shield appeared in the lower right corner of the screen, notifying of updates available.
(sometimes I was impatient and would check for updates online instead of waiting - was working on several at a time)
Updates did install!
bunker51 1 Posts Wednesday November 27, 2013Registration date November 27, 2013 Last seen - Nov 27, 2013 at 02:25 AM
tried that could not rename file. what did work was to download and run windows update agent, I let it run for 4 hours before it succeeded getting and update past sp3, and now it works perfectly. have to be patient. I tried every other possible solution offered and none worked. I am sure you know what they are too.for what its worth this worked for me. thats my 2 cents. :-)
Thank you
I was wondering if you got the problem fixed and what was your solution because I'm also having the same problem.

I was told to update my java and run malwarebytes

Good luck!
Thank you
windows is worthless!
Thank you
Stop automatic update service and BITs service. Download and run

I had to reboot one machine to get it to work but the rest worked without.
Thank you
You need to stop the automatic updates service. Then you can change the folder name without needing to boot into "safe mode"
Hopefully this help somebody the same way as helped me.
Install first this latest cumulative update for IE8:
for IE7:
After restart Windows automatic updates work immediatelly as well as Windows Update.
Thank you
I had the same issue with being unable to rename the folder due to protection issues. The solution for me turned out to be rebooting into safe mode which then allowed me to rename the folder. While still in safe mode I turned on the automatic updates and rebooted into normal mode.
Thank you
I was pulling my hair up after formatting my hard drive--and installing windows xp...then windows update wouldn't work. Tried microsoft update engines....finally stumbled across this site while searching the internet. And presto!! tried Arun's fix-------restarted pc and now window update works.

Thanks Arun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you

for me it was enough to stop and start windows update services
Thank you
Worked!! Awesome bro, thanks!!
Thank you
I'm having the same problem but cannot rename the Software Distribution folder because it says it is protected. How can I overcome this? Ty.
Thank you
To delete the folder "Software Distribution" do the following:

1. Browse start menu to programs>accessories
2. Right click on command prompt and run as administrator
3. Type "net stop wuauserv" (don't close out the command prompt just minimize it)
4. Browse to the windows folder and delete or rename the software distribution folder
5. Now back in the command prompt type "net start wuauserv"

Open windows update and check for updates. Should fix the problem.
Thank you
thank you Arun!