Windows Update for XP

Within the last few months, Microsoft updated its Windows Update service so that to update Windows XP, the user must have Windows XP service pack 3 installed. Service packs 2 and 1 will not update via Windows Update. (I know — update of service packs 1 and 2 worked until recently, but Microsoft broke Windows Update. Maybe this is one way of encouraging XP users to update to Windows 7 or 8.)

windows update failure screen

Windows Update doesn’t report the cause of its refusal to work.

Older OEM setup CDs won’t allow Windows XP to update. I have a recent generic OEM Windows XP service pack 3 setup CD that works. You may be able to download just XP service pack 3 from, and then install service pack 3 locally.

Don’t ignore this problem. It’s critical that you keep Windows up to date.

Update, 10 Nov 2013:
This message thread contains a couple good ideas. It sounds like downloading a recent update agent does the trick:

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695


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