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Cannot turn on Automatic Updates? - Possible Fixes -

by tallin
November 5, 2008
Are you having trouble turning on Automatic Updates for Windows? Is it grayed out? We've collected a few tips from our forums that should help you restore your Automatic Update functionality.

Having problems with your Windows Updates?

After reading the information, please only use the file if you are having problems with your Windows Updates.

Method 1: AUCheck

IMPORTANT NOTE: The AUCheck software has been temporarily discontinued - please skip down to Method 2.

The first order of business would appear to be getting the security and other updates installed on the computer. A Microsoft employee created AU Check, available from and compatible with Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows Server 2008 x86 or x64.

Using the default configuration WUCheck does the following:

  • On Vista and 2008 it downloads and runs the latest checksum
  • Re-registers all WU related DLLs
  • Renames the softwaredistribution\download folder
  • Checks the Service Object Security for WUAUSERV and BITS
  • Logs then Clears BITs Queue and BITS state files
  • Restarts AU and BITS services
  • It incorporates some registry checks (FilesNotToBackup) entries that can prevent BITS from starting
  • Creates an updates.htm in the c:\AULOGS directory with links to all the prerequisites for the update process
  • Creates several troubleshooting logs in c:\AULOGS in case the tool fails to fix the problem
  • Tests PROXYCFG and writes a log indicating if the WinHTTP call succeeded (c:\aulogs)
  • Dumps output to detect MSXML registration problem (c:\aulogs)
  • Tests WGA using the mgadial tool and writes the output to a file in c:\aulogs

To proceed, please follow below:
  • Go to
  • Click on Download AU Check
  • Choose AU Check v:78 codeplex.exe
  • Agree to download the file you must agree to the following license
  • Choose 'I agree'
  • You will be offered the 608K file to download
  • Choose save to your Desktop
  • Double click on the AU Check file on the desktop and click run
You will need to reboot in order to finish the process.

Please let us know if this solves the problem of obtaining the updates.

Method 2: If Windows Updates will download but not install

Go here and see if it works
Fix any issues, then validate it.

If it still doesn't work try this:

Re-register the Windows Update DLL with the commands below:

  • Click the Start button
  • choose Run
  • type cmd and then click OK.

Type the following commands. Press ENTER after each command.

regsvr32 wuapi.dll
regsvr32 wuaueng.dll
regsvr32 wuaueng1.dll
regsvr32 wucltui.dll
regsvr32 wups.dll
regsvr32 wups2.dll
regsvr32 wuweb.dll

Then attempt to run Windows Update again.

Method 3: Other Steps you can take to fix Windows Update

Is it still not working? These steps sometimes work to resolve the issue:

Step 1:
Verify that your computer's date and time are accurate and that Internet Explorer language option is not empty.

To check the language setting in Internet Explorer:
1. Click "Tools" and then choose "Internet Options"
2. Click the lanuage button
3. Make sure at least one language is listed in the "Language Options" dialog.

When checking your date (including the year) and time, also check the Internet Time and Time Zone.

Double click on the date/time in the notification/system tray area (near the clock) select Internet Time Tab and then select update now. If it's not already checked, check automaticallysynchronize with an internet Time Server - WinXP.

Step 2:
Also check these settings:
1. Tools>Internet Options> Advanced
2. Scroll down to the Security Settings.
3. Make sure that the two boxes are checked that say "Enable SSL 2" or "Enable SSL 3".
4. Uncheck "Check for server certificate revocation".

Step 3:
Also delete Temporary Internet Files
1. Tools >Internet Options >General
2. Under Temporary Internet files, click Delete Files, Click OK

Step 4:
1. Tools >Internet Options >Security
Click Trusted sites, click Default level.
Click the sites button and clear the checkbox "Require server verification"
http: for all sites in this zone."
Now add the following:

If required, reboot and try Windows Update again. If still no success, have a look at the following links for more clues.


Method 4: rename the SoftwareDistribution folder

Click START, Choose Run
In the Run box, type "services.msc" (without the quotes)
Click OK
Right click the Automatic Updates service,
Click stop.
Stopping the service will take a moment.

Rename the "SoftwareDistribution" folder :
a. Click Start, click Run, type "%systemroot%" (without the quotes) and then click OK.
b. Right click the SoftwareDistribution folder, and then click Rename
c. Type SoftwareDistribution.old, and then press ENTER to rename this folder.

Choose Run
In the Run box, type "services.msc" without the quotes"
Click OK
Right-click the Automatic Updates service
Click Start.
Starting the service will take a moment.

Reboot if appropriate and try WU again.

Note when you rename the SoftwareDistribution folder - you will lose your history but not important.

Method 5: When all else fails...

If you still cannot get Windows Update to run, it is very important that you at least install the most important security updates and get your PC to a reasonable level of security. As of this writing, Service Pack 2 leaves you reasonably protected, but if you install Service Pack 3, all the better since it incorporates more security fixes.

So basically, here are 2 more options for you:

Further information:

Error 0x800A138F

The aim here is to help you solve this 0x800A138F problem and have you updating your Windows XP
Professional or Home Edition computer as soon as possible.

Windows Update has encountered an error and cannot display the requested page.


Make sure you haven't got anything blocking Windows Update like
Zonealarm etc
Also make sure you don't have a Web Accelerator working in the backgound such as
Net Zero
Speedband etc

Clear out your temporary internet cache. Try a reboot and then try WU again.


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