After I installed the SP3 update on three Windows XP machines, I discovered that Microsoft Update no longer worked. The updates would be downloaded, but the installations would always fail. Click below if you’d like to know how I solved this problem.

After poking around the Net, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one having this problem. The solution involved 1) re-registering the Microsoft Update; 2) re-installing Microsoft .NET framework 2.0; and one one-computer re-installing Microsoft Office 2003.

Step One

To re-register Microsoft Update, I followed these steps (taken from Microsoft KnowedgeBase article 943144):

1. Stop the Automatic Updates service. To do this, follow these steps: a) Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK. b) At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER: net stop wuauserv.

2. Register the Wups2.dll file. To do this, follow these steps: a) At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER: regsvr32 %windir%\system32\wups2.dll. b) Click OK on each verification message that you receive.
3. Start the Automatic Updates service. To do this, type the following command at the command prompt, and then press ENTER: net start wuauserv

4. Exit the command prompt. To do this type exit, and then press ENTER.

(Actually, I didn’t bother stopping Automatic Update. I just did step 2.)

This alone wasn’t enough, however, so I proceeded to the next step.

Step Two

I then un-installed .NET Framework 2.0 using the Add/Remove Programs applet in Control Panel. These were actually listed as .NET Framework SP1. In one case, I wasn’t allowed to uninstall because SP1 because its files were supposedly in use. On a hunch, I un-installed .NET Framework 3.0 successfully and then was able to un-install .NET Framework 2.0.

I then re-installed the program using this download page from Microsoft.

And I repeated Step 1, although I’m not sure if that was actually necessary.

On two computers , these two changes allowed me to use Automatic Update successfully for updates to both Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003.

Step Three

On one computer, however, the Windows XP update worked, but the Microsoft Office 2003 updates failed. So I un-installed the suite completely, re-installed it from my CD, and then applied a stand-alone version of the latest Office 2003 SP3 downloaded from this page.

The stand-alone update failed before the re-installation of the suite, but this time it worked. I then allowed Microsoft Update to apply some other fixes to Office 2003, which had failed before. This time everything was successful.