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Resolving Windows 7 Update Problems

written by: theinkandpen (Robert Mullon)•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 6/17/2009

If you are having problems with updates for Windows’ new operating system, read this article for possible solutions.

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    As most users know, it is important to run updates for your operating system, be it for security purposes (i.e. solving security exploits) or just for purposes of better functionality. This is particularly true when an O/S has just been launched (or is in Beta), and hence less optimised and less stable than something which has been around a while.

    Windows 7, being still in its infancy with an official ‘due-release’ date of mid to late 2009, is particularly vulnerable to various bugs and problems. Hence, updates are necessary for the new O/S perhaps more than your relatively steady Windows XP or Vista system.

    This article will look at how to solve problems one may run into whilst attempting to run updates on Windows 7. Read on if the updates are freezing on you or you are having installation problems.

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    Updates not Installed on Shut-down

    Although the auto-update seems to run fine and download all that’s needed, sometimes it fails to install during the shutdown process; it seems as if everything is fine but on restarting the process repeats, asking to shutdown again and install the same updates.

    You can empty the temp folder used by Windows update and retry to install on restart. In order to do this follow these steps:

    Go to Start, then All Programs -----> Accessories -----> Command Prompt -----> and finally click Run as administrator. Continue if you receive a notification (User Account Control notifications can be disabled).

    Type or paste the following command at the prompt:

    net stop wuauserv

    ren %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistributionold

    net start wuauserv

    You can also check if the updates were actually installed and you don’t need to run it again. Do this by accessing the Control Panel and looking in ‘Windows Updates’ to see if anything was installed successfully.

    You can also try a more thorough clean-up described below.

    You can read the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article for more specific information; note that the article applies to versions of Vista, XP and previous but since the update routine is similar it usually works for Windows 7.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/958043

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    General Clean-up of Updates Folders

    Restart in safe Mode, which means pressing F8 at the boot up screen; just to make sure keep on pressing it in case you miss it.

    Go to the Windows ----> SoftwareDistribution ----> Data Store. Find the file called ‘DataStore.edb’ and delete it.

    Go to the Windows ----> SoftwareDistribution ----> Logs and delete everything in here.

    Go to the Windows ----> SoftwareDistribution ----> Download and delete everything; you can choose ‘Edit, Select All’ then ‘Delete’ from the toolbar at the top.

    Go to the Windows ----> SoftwareDistribution ----> EventCache and delete all you see.

    Now restart normally and the auto-update program should reconfigure itself automatically; this means finding out what has been installed on the machine and what needs to be updated. This usually fixes most problems with updates.