Had this happen on a few XP computers in the past. Typically I’ll get a computer from someone that has Service Pack 2 or older (SP3 is latest for XP) and it needs updated. So I open up Internet Explorer and go to update.microsoft.com. After telling it to update the computer it ends up in this loop where it just sits at “checking for updates” forever – just spins and spins and doesn’t do anything. Lame.
Here’s how to fix it.
- Go to Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services.
- Right click on Automatic Updates and click Properties.
- Choose Disabled on Startup type. Reboot your computer.
- Rename the folder c:\windows\SoftwareDistribution to c:\windows\SoftwareDistribution_ (yep underscore)
- Go back to Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services
- Right click on Automatic Updates and click Properties. Choose Automatic for Startup type.
- Open Internet Explorer and go to update.microsoft.com.
- Choose the Express option for the update. Sit back, be patient, and everything should update correctly.