Article ID: 326686 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q326686
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SYMPTOMS

For computers that are running Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows XP, or Microsoft Windows Server 2003

You may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
  • When you access the Windows Update Web site or the Microsoft Update Web site, you receive an error message that is similar to the following:
    Access Denied
    Network policy settings prevent you from using Windows Update to download and install updates on your computer. If you believe you have received this message in error, please check with your system administrator.
  • When you click Windows Update or Microsoft Update on the Start menu, you receive an error message that is similar to the following:
    Windows Update was disabled by your system administrator.

For computers that are running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003

You may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
  • The Windows Update shortcut or Microsoft Update shortcut is missing on the Start menu.
  • The Windows Update shortcut or Microsoft Update shortcut is missing on the Tools menu in Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • The Automatic Updates tab is missing in the System Properties dialog box.
  • After you configure Automatic Updates, you are not notified about critical updates. Additionally, you do not receive critical updates from Windows Update or from Microsoft Update.
  • Device Manager does not automatically install driver updates from Windows Update or from Microsoft Update.
  • When you click the Automatic Updates Control Panel tool, the Automatic Updates settings are unavailable. You receive a message that is similar to the following:
    The Windows Update Service is unavailable.

CAUSE

This issue occurs if Windows Update is turned off by one of the following settings:
  • Group Policy
  • System policy
  • Registry

RESOLUTION

For corporate users who are connected to a corporate network

To resolve this issue, contact the local system administrator to determine whether Windows Update access is disabled by Group Policy settings.

For home users who are not connected to a corporate network

For users who are running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003

To restore the missing Windows Update shortcut or Microsoft Update shortcut on a computer that is running Windows 2000, follow these steps:
  1. Log on to the computer as a local administrator.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type gpedit.msc, and then click OK.
  3. In the left pane, expand User Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, and then click Start Menu and Taskbar.
  4. In the right pane, right-click Disable and remove links to Windows Update, and then click Properties.
  5. Click Disabled, click Apply, and then click OK.
To restore the missing Windows Update shortcut or Microsoft Update shortcut on a computer that is running Windows XP or that is running Windows Server 2003, follow these steps:
  1. Log on to the computer as a local administrator.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type gpedit.msc, and then click OK.
  3. In the left pane, expand User Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, and then click Start Menu and Taskbar.
  4. In the right pane, right-click Remove links and access to Windows Update, and then click Properties.
  5. Click Disabled, click Apply, and then click OK.
To enable access to the Windows Update Web site, follow these steps:
  1. Log on to the computer as a local administrator.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type gpedit.msc, and then click OK.
  3. In the left pane, expand User Configuration, and then expand Administrative Templates.
  4. Expand Windows Components, and then click Windows Update.
  5. In the right pane, right-click Remove access to use all Windows Update Features, and then click Properties.
  6. Click Disabled, click Apply, and then click OK.

For users running Windows 98 or Windows Millennium Edition

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Expand
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    , expand
    Software
    , expand
    Microsoft
    , expand
    Windows
    , expand
    CurrentVersion
    , and then expand
    Policies
    .
  3. If the
    Windows Update
    key exists, click
    Windows Update
    .
  4. In the right pane, if the
    DisableWindowsUpdateAccess
    DWORD value exists, right-click
    DisableWindowsUpdateAccess
    , and then click Delete.
  5. Expand
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    , expand
    Software
    , expand
    Microsoft
    , expand
    Windows
    , expand
    CurrentVersion
    , and then expand
    Policies
    .
  6. If the
    Explorer
    key exists, click
    Explorer
    .
  7. In the right pane, if a
    DisableWindowsUpdateAccess
    DWORD exists, right-click
    DisableWindowsUpdateAccess
    , and then click Delete.
  8. In the right pane, if a
    NoWindowsUpdate
    DWORD value exists, right-click
    NoWindowsUpdate
    , and then click Delete.
  9. Expand
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
    , expand
    Software
    , expand
    Microsoft
    , expand
    Windows
    , expand
    CurrentVersion
    , and then expand
    Policies
    .
  10. If the
    Explorer
    key exists, click
    Explorer
    .
  11. In the right pane, if a
    DisableWindowsUpdateAccess
    DWORD exists, right-click
    DisableWindowsUpdateAccess
    , and then click Delete.
  12. In the right pane, if a
    NoWindowsUpdate
    DWORD value exists, right-click
    NoWindowsUpdate
    , and then click Delete.
  13. Close Registry Editor, and then restart your computer.

MORE INFORMATION

Windows 2000 supports the Disable and remove links to Windows Update Group Policy setting. Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003 support the Remove links and access to Windows Update Group Policy setting. On other Windows operating systems, you can use System policies, or you can modify the registry.

An administrator can use these policies to remove access to Windows Update and to Microsoft Update for individual users, for domain users, or for Active Directory objects.

For more information about how to troubleshoot Windows Update issues and Microsoft Update issues, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
316524 You receive an "Administrators only" error message when you try to visit the Windows Update Web site or the Microsoft Update Web site

Properties

Article ID: 326686 - Last Review: September 15, 2010 - Revision: 10.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Update
  • Microsoft Update
Keywords: 
kbwindowsupdatev6 kbwindowsupdatev4 kberrmsg kbenv kbprb KB326686

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