How do I re-enable Windows Update?
May 27, 2004 1:34 PM   Subscribe

How the #*(& do I re-enable Windows Update on my Win2K system? I've just spent three hours farting around with Google searches, registry and GPO hacking, and suchlike, all to no avail. I figure I must have done something some time in the past to turn it off -- I've no idea why -- and the solution is completely eluding me. Grrrr.

I've done all the obvious stuff: hit MS tech bulletins, enabled MSIE as default browser, put the mswinupgd or whatever it's called executable in the system32 directory, checked all registry references to msupdate, played with GPOs.

I think it's probably going to end up being some stupid, obvious reversal of some piddling tweak. But I'm completely stumped as of now.

posted by five fresh fish to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
I found a tech note mentioning that installing sp4 silently re-enable windows update. Maybe try re-installing it?
posted by GeekAnimator at 1:44 PM on May 27, 2004

Is the service started? Is the service set to start automatically?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:01 PM on May 27, 2004

Response by poster: SP4 is already installed, but I'll give a shot at reinstalling it.

There is no Windows Update Service listed. It would normally have been set to start manually, or disabled; whichever is appropriate for running Windows Update manually. I definitely don't want it doing its thing full-time without my explicit permission.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:05 PM on May 27, 2004

Response by poster: Hey, it's getting closer!

I installed the SP4 Express updater and the Control Panel > Automatic Updates application isn't greyed-out any more.

On the other hand, it doesn't seem to do anything, and MSIE's Tools > Windows Update doesn't work (I'm told to install MSIE v5 or better, though I've just installed v6 in an attempt to fix things.)

Any other ideas?
posted by five fresh fish at 2:17 PM on May 27, 2004

I deleted the annoying links to windows update in my start menu, and now I get to it using this method:

1. open IE

2. Go to Tools in the top menu, then select Windows Update


(I still keep firefox as my default browser, and just do this by hand every once in a while because I never enabled the automatic checks)
posted by mathowie at 2:17 PM on May 27, 2004

Did you try this?

How about this?

Maybe try this?
posted by falconred at 2:22 PM on May 27, 2004

IE's "Windows Update" and "Automatic Updates" are not the same thing.

If for some reason the automatic update service isn't started or if it is disabled, then nothing through the other parts of the GUI will allow you do anything with it (like set options or whatever).

Look at this for some help with both WU and automatic updates. Go to "Administrative Tools" (IIRC that this appeared in W2k), "Services" to check and control services.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:58 PM on May 27, 2004

Response by poster: falconred: 1) Doesn't help; 2) Tried it; 3) Still tells me to upgrade MSIE.

EB: Just went through all that list. Nada. Sigh.

So the Control Panel > Automatic Updates seems to work. MSIE > Windows Update site doesn't work. Maybe I've got security clamped down too tight.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:15 PM on May 27, 2004

There is no Windows Update Service listed

is that still the case? the details on my laptop (w2k, latest patches) are:
name: wuauserv
display name: Automatic Updates
path: C:\WINNT\system32\svchost.exe -k wugroup
startup type: automatic

log on as: local system acct
no failure actions
no dependencies
posted by andrew cooke at 6:00 PM on May 27, 2004

Response by poster: "Automatic Updates" is there! (I was looking for "Windows Update")

Er, what does this mean, then? What I want is for MSIE to let me hit the Windows Update site, scan for updates, and install off the web. What I don't particularly want is some sort of automatic dohickey that's going out to the update site without my explicit instruction.

It appears what I've got is the latter; what I want is the former.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:08 AM on May 28, 2004

in control panel -> automatic updates you can turn off the automatic bit (top option). if i do so (afterwards, i checked, the service is still running), then select "windows update" from the start menu, i'm taken to and from there bounced to a particular server (v4 in this case) where i can click a link that says "scan for updates" (and which does so). so it seems that you can have "automatic updates" running as a service without actually having automatic updates.

i think this is what ethereal bligh was saying, so is not new/helpful. sorry!
posted by andrew cooke at 12:54 PM on May 28, 2004

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