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Why Won't Windows Vista Update

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 1/29/2010

There are many causes for why Windows Vista won’t update. The Windows Update program will display error codes, which can be used to find the solution. If the solutions to error codes won’t work, try the other solutions in this article.

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    Reasons Why Windows Vista Won’t Update

    There are different reasons why Vista won’t update. If Windows Update tells you one or more updates failed to install successfully, even if you have enough disk space and the Internet connection is working, here are some possibilities:

    • Missing, damaged or corrupted .ax, .dll and .ocx files that are required to use Windows Update are damaged
    • The Windows Update Agent is damaged or you’re using an old version of WUA
    • Updates have been downloaded but won’t install because some files in the update are missing.
    • The necessary Windows services to run Windows Update are not running or are disabled
    • Windows Genuine Advantage validation failure
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    What to Do if Windows Vista Won’t Update?

    To possibly solve the issues in using Windows Update in Vista, try the following solutions one at a time and in order. Then run Windows Update after each to see if you fixed the problem before you try the next one:

    * Note the Error Code that Windows Update program in Vista provides, when the download or installation of the update failed. Most error codes have possible solutions. You can search for the error code via Microsoft Support website. Enter the error code as the keyword to search and select “Windows Update" in the list of products. You will see the search result for error codes or error code Windows Update.

    * Troubleshoot Windows Update by going to the WU Troubleshooter page.

    * Temporarily disable your antivirus and firewall protection.

    * Fix Windows Update using Fix WU Utility from The Windows Vista Club. This utility will re-register the required .dll, .ocx and .ax files to run Windows Update.

    * In the case where Windows Update continues to fail installing an update in Vista, verify that the necessary services to use Windows Update are actually running: Background Intelligent Transfer Service and Windows Update service. If these services are running already, try stopping and restarting them.

    * Verify that you have the current version of Windows Update Agent (WUA). Locate any of these files: Wuauclt.exe, Cdm.dll, Wuapi.dll, Wuaucpl.cpl, Wuaueng.dll, Wucltui.dll, Wups.dll, Wups2.dll and Wuweb.dll, then note the version number. Compare the version number by visiting KB 949104. If you have an earlier version of WUA, download and install the current version.

    * Check if the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation tool has recognized your Windows as genuine. I’ve seen incidents when the Windows Update failed to properly check that the software has been validated. It will not cost you to check the validity of Windows Vista. Simply visit the WGA website and proceed to validate Windows. You can use Internet Explorer, Opera or Firefox browsers to validate Windows.

    * If none of these solve the problem, proceed to deleting the download directory of Windows Update. Follow the guide in KB910336 on how to remove the download directory.

        If none of the above solutions work, you might want to scan the system using another malware scanner or run a scan using the Malicious Software Removal Tool. The tool is located in System32 directory of Windows. Get the new version of the MRT if you have an older version. This tool is normally updated once a month. If you continue to have an issue installing the updates for Vista, go to the Windows Update forum to post your problem. The Microsoft staff and volunteers such as Microsoft MVP users or people who have had the same problem will help you.