Updates fail when using Windows XP Update after a new Windows XP installation or repair

Windows Update fails with Windows XP SP3

The Problem: When you install updates from the Microsoft Windows Update Web site, you receive an error message that states that the update or the updates were not installed successfully. This problem can apply to Windows XP clean installs, upgrade installs, and recovery installs.

Reason: The original Windows XP installation CD does not have the new wups2.dll file present. When the original XP CD media is used, the original registry entries pointing to wups2.dll are removed (or made invalid) by the CD repair install.

Windows Updates fail

What Solutions exist: We need to register the newer update dll's. To resolve this problem, use one of the following methods:

Resolution 1: Register the wups2.dll file in Windows XP

To register the wups2.dll file in Windows, perform the following steps:

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

Note For a computer that is running Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

regsvr32 %windir%\syswow64\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.

This problem occurs because of how the Windows XP repair operation replaces Windows system files. When you repair a Windows installation by using the Windows XP CD, the install and repair operation performs the following operations:

  • The installation replaces the Windows system files with the older system files from the Windows XP CD.

    Note: This includes the more recent Windows Update files (wups2.dll).
  • It restores the older Windows registry (causing loss of wup2.dll registry registration).
The latest version of the Windows Update package includes a file that was not available in the release version of Windows XP. This file is named wups2.dll. Therefore, after the repair operation is complete, the following situation exists:
  • The wups2.dll Windows System file remains on the computer.
  • The registry entries that correspond to this file are invalid.

Resolution 2: Download and install the latest Windows Update Agent

The following update agent applies to Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4

Download one of the following: - (official releases from the Microsoft Download Center)

For an x86-based computer


Download the Microsoft windowsupdateagent30-x86.exe package here (outside this site) (Intel-x86 System)

For an x64-based computer


Download the Microsoft windowsupdateagent30-x64.exe package here (outside this site) (Intel-x64 System)

For an Itanium-based computer


Download the Microsoft windowsupdateagent30-ia64.exe package here (outside this site) (Intel-ia64 System)

Microsoft Release Date: Thursday, October 30, 2008

Resolution 3: Manually register several critical Windows Update dll's

After the installation of Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), you may find problems occur installing new updates. It is common to find that you see 85 or more of updates that all fail at the installation stage. This update problem is typically reported as "A problem on your computer is preventing updates from being downloaded or installed - Searching for help on the resulting error code does not always find a current Microsoft website solution.

The most likely reason for this is that some of the newer Windows Update files (dll's) are not re-registered with Windows XP. To fix this problem, copy and past the text below, click onStart -> Run and type cmd then Enter, and paste the text into the cmd (command prompt) text box. For each entry, a status window will pop up, reporting that the DLL was registered. Finally, restart the computer and the Windows Updates should work fine.

The solution for this problem is re-registering some important Windows DLL files. The steps below fix the problem if auto updates fail after a fresh install of Windows XP SP3:

Open Start, Run, and run these commands, one by one:

Sample Window for above process:

Windows registration for Windows Update System files

Next time you open Windows Update or Microsoft Update, you should have no problems installing the new Windows XP updates.

Resolution 4: Ensure that the latest Windows Installer package is installed

Windows Installer 3.1 v2 (3.1.4000.2435) is available (official package from Microsoft) for the following Windows operating systems:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3)
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4)
  • Windows XP
  • Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Windows Server 2003

Download the installer for all versions of Windows (except 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 or the 64-bit versions of Windows XP)

The following file is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:


Download the Microsoft Windows Installer 3.1 Redistributable (v2) package here (outside this site)

Release Date (Microsoft): May 12, 2005