Common Update Issues
Never-ending “Checking for updates…” on Windows Vista
While Legacy Update manages to work around the never-completing “Checking for updates…” bug in a standard installation of Windows Vista, installing Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 appears to trigger this issue again. I’m continuing to look into how we can solve this.
Microsoft Security Essentials
Attempting to update Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows XP or Vista will display an error message with code 0x80072EFE - “The definition updates couldn't be installed. Please try again later.” Instead, you will need to manually download and install the final definition update that supported these versions:
Updating Security Essentials still won’t be possible, because no more updates exist. However, once manually installed, these definitions can always be used to scan your PC for malware.
Windows Live Essentials 2012
Attempting to install Windows Live Essentials 2012 on Windows XP or Vista, as offered by Windows Update, will fail. This is because it ignores your PC’s Windows Update configuration, and will always try to retrieve updates directly from Microsoft, bypassing Legacy Update. Instead, you will need to manually download and install the full/offline installer of Windows Live Essentials 2012.
Security Update for Windows XP (KB2686509)
This update, a security patch for a vulnerability in how Windows XP parses keyboard layout data, is notorious for failing to install. The cause is that the update is slightly different between standard Windows XP and Windows Embedded 2009, so if you’ve selected to receive Embedded 2009 updates on XP, the incorrect version of this update will be downloaded.
To fix this, manually download and install the Windows XP variant of the update:
“NTLDR is missing” after installing updates
The final version of the Windows Update Agent released for Windows XP has a bug that triggers a limitation of XP’s bootloader (NTLDR). This seems to only occur on Windows XP Home Edition and Embedded, and is not an issue on Professional. Specifically, the bug is that the installer enters an infinite loop of creating temporary folders in the root of C:, which causes the NTFS Master File Table (MFT) to become too fragmented for NTLDR’s master boot record (MBR) program to make sense of. This is covered by KB320397, a patch for XP SP1 that was later built into XP SP2, but the issue still seems to occur despite the fix.
Legacy Update 1.6 and later work around this by using an older version of the Windows Update Agent without this bug. If you’ve installed an older version of Legacy Update, or manually installed Windows Update Agent 7.6.7600.256, you can resolve this in one of a few ways:
If you have a bootable third-party defrag tool, it may be able to defragment the MFT. If it provides this option, you should be able to boot into Windows again once it has done this. Note that the Windows built-in defrag tool will not work, as it doesn’t support defragmenting the MFT.
If your PC has a floppy drive, and you have a spare floppy and another PC with a floppy drive, you can use the Microsoft bcupdate2.exe utility. Download it from this link, and copy it to a bootable MS-DOS floppy. If you need to make an MS-DOS floppy, you can right click A: → Format → check the “Create an MS-DOS startup disk” box, or use Bootdisk.com’s MS-DOS 6.22 floppy. At the MS-DOS prompt, type bcupdate2 C: and press Enter (assuming your Windows installation is on drive C:). Once you return to the A:\> prompt, remove the floppy and press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to restart.
If you have a dual-boot, or bootable Windows PE CD/USB such as Hiren’s Boot CD, you can repair this without additional tools. Browse to your C: drive, then sort by Date Modified. Click the first folder with a long, random name, then scroll to the last folder, hold Shift, and click that. Make extra sure you have only selected folders named with a long, random hash, which will look something like “8a3df9adb37cd66105f9c2”. Cut (Ctrl-X) the selection, then find somewhere else you can put them (perhaps make a folder on your desktop in C:\Documents and Settings\MyName\Desktop), and paste (Ctrl-V). Then, open a Command Prompt (likely from the Start menu), and run chkdsk C: /r. This will perform a full repair, which can take a long time.