When you try to start Windows Update from the Start menu, the Windows Update window is blank or does not open.

You should be able to access the Windows Update website. If you can't access this site, try to use the Windows Update Troubleshooter to fix the problem. If Windows Update still doesn't start, try the following steps:
  1. Install the latest Windows service pack.

    Obtain Windows XP Service Pack 3

    Obtain Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2

    Obtain Windows 2000 Service Pack 4
    Important If you are using Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, we strongly recommend that you install Internet Explorer 8 from the Microsoft Download Center.
  2. Turn on Automatic Updates.

    To turn on Automatic Updates automatically, click the Fix it button or link, click Run in the File Download dialog box, and then follow the steps in the Fix it wizard. If you want to turn on Automatic Updates manually, click here.

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Additional methods

If you still can't start Windows Update on your computer, try the following methods.

Method 1: Register the Windows Update files

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To register those files that are related to Windows Update, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type notepad, and then click OK.
  2. Copy the following commands, and then paste them into the Notepad window:

    REGSVR32 WUPS2.DLL /S
    REGSVR32 WUPS.DLL /S 
    REGSVR32 WUAUENG.DLL /S 
    REGSVR32 WUAPI.DLL /S 
    REGSVR32 MUCLTUI.DLL /S 
    REGSVR32 WUCLTUI.DLL /S 
    REGSVR32 WUWEB.DLL /S 
    REGSVR32 MUWEB.DLL /S 
    REGSVR32 QMGR.DLL /S 
    REGSVR32 QMGRPRXY.DLL /S
  3. On the Notepad File menu, click Save As.
  4. In the Save as type list, click All Files (*.*).
  5. In the File name box, type register.bat.
  6. Save the register.bat file to your desktop.
  7. Double-click the register.bat file to register the Windows Update files.
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Method 2: Replace the Windows Update SoftwareDistribution folder

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Important The following changes occur when you perform this method:
  • Updates files that you have already downloaded from Windows Update but that you have not yet installed will no longer be available to install. Therefore, you must download the updates again.
  • Your download history will be deleted.
The SoftwareDistribution folder is used to store Automatic Update files. To replace this folder as a troubleshooting method, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type notepad, and then click OK.
  2. Copy the following commands, and then paste them into the Notepad window:

    net stop wuauserv
    cd %systemroot%
    ren SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
    net start wuauserv
  3. On the Notepad File menu, click Save As.
  4. In the Save as type list, click All Files (*.*).
  5. In the File name box, type Rename.bat.
  6. Save the file to your desktop.
  7. On the desktop, double-click the Rename.bat file to rename the SoftwareDistribution folder to SoftwareDistribution.old.
  8. Try again to download the updates.

    Note The SoftwareDistribution folder is re-created.
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For more information

How to manually turn on Automatic Updates

To turn on Automatic Updates manually, follow these steps:
  1. Exit all programs that are running.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then click OK.
  3. On the Automatic Updates tab, click Automatic (Recommended), and then click OK.
  4. Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.
  5. Type wuauclt /detectnow, and then press Enter.
After you turn on Automatic Updates, wait one hour, and then scan for updates again.

About this article

Article ID: 2497281
Last review: June 5, 2014
Applies to: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Starter Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86), Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86), Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86), Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition, Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition, Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Standard Edition, Microsoft Windows Update
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