Windows Updates is a necessary evil that routinely provides (usually 2nd Tuesday of each month) Windows Operating System Updates, as well as, security or critical updates that help protect us from known malware and security exploits. The general rule of thumb, for the home based computer user, is to have your computer set to install the updates automatically.
When your computer is online, Windows can automatically check for important updates and install them using these settings. When new updates are available, you can also install them before shutting down the computer.
As with anything that has to do with computers, there are those isolated times when Windows Updates do not download/install properly; thus creating a frustrating situation for the end user. This can be anything from an update causing an error message to an update that repeatedly keeps reappearing. The complexity of this entire update process is really an amazing process and finding answers to resolve update problems that occur, as a result of this amazing process, is even more complex. Most end users experiencing these types of issues often accept the problem and avoid finding the fix, thus compromising the stability and security of their computers.
What is the fix and what are you to do when Windows Updates Go Bad?
As I stated, this process is complex and when problems do occur there is not a magical fix that will fix every Windows Update problem you may encounter; HOWEVER, Microsoft has recognized that end users need available resources to investigate, research and ultimately resolve any Windows Update problems that have occurred or may occur.
There are (2)-two online Microsoft resources that I use to not only educate myself about Windows Updates; but, to find the fix for any update problems myself and/or others may experience. Just keep in mind, if you are experiencing an update problem; there is likelihood you are not alone, and someone else has already been down that road. It is important you document (on paper) what issue(s) you are seeing so that you can accurately research the issue (e.g. error message, update ID, update icon repeatedly in system tray, etc…)
1.) Microsoft Update Solution Center – Here you can research the top update issues experienced by other users, information about error messages you may be experiencing, some “How To’s” about Windows Updates and last, but not least, how to contact a support professional (either by email, online or phone).
2.) Microsoft Answers – Windows Updates – This is a forum based option to look at to determine if someone else may have experienced the same problem you have. The forum(s) are Microsoft operated, and in essence can be used to research any Microsoft Windows problem you may be experiencing. In this case our issue is Windows Updates. To give an example, a Microsoft Engineer responded to the following issue that numerous people were recently experiencing: Error Code 0x8007F0F4 or Error Code 0XFFFFFFFF when installing Windows Update MS10-015(KB 977165) . If you notice the error code numbers and Windows Update ID is reflected. This is why you need to document (on paper) what issue, error code(s) and the Windows Update ID you are seeing.
As I always say, “I hope I have been as clear as mud!”. In all seriousness, both of these resources can be of great assistance when your Windows Updates go bad!
(Addendum – 12 June 2010)
TechPaul at Tech-for Everyone , in connection with this article, pointed out that live Microsoft support is free for any security-related issue, such as Updates. Just call 866-PC SAFETY.