If you've ever ran Windows XP, you probably have run into the Windows XP update forever bug. This is when you see the update cycle for hours on end as pictured below.

Windows Update / Microsoft Update Forever

First things first, go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and look at the last date and time of the most recent file. If it's fairly recent, you may just have to be patient. If your machine sucks, this could take days.

However, if you're sure you are actually stuck or if you wish to monitor the whole update process, you can try the following:

  1. Go to Control Panel
  2. Click on Administrative Tools
  3. Go to Services
  4. Right click on Automatic Updates
  5. Click on Properties
  6. Under Startup type, select Disabled
  7. Reboot your computer
  8. Rename, move, or delete the folder C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution
  9. Redo steps 1-5 and select Automatic for Startup type
  10. Retry Windows/Microsoft Update or open Internet Explorer and go to update.microsoft.com
  11. It looks like more of the same but wait a bit and the updates should pull through

Otherwise, if this doesn't work (which it should), you can check out Microsoft's support page on making sure the Windows Update Agent is at the latest version.

If you have another fix for the Windows XP update forever bug, let me know.

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