The Windows Update Web site or the Microsoft Update Web site does not appear, and you receive the following error message: "Initialization error 0x800A1391"

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When you try to visit the Windows Update Web site or the Microsoft Update Web site, the Web site does not appear. Also, you may receive an error message. This problem may occur for several reasons. Therefore, this article contains several step-by-step methods to help you resolve the issue.

The step-by-step methods in this article appear in order from the most frequent cause of this issue to the least frequent cause. Therefore, it’s best to perform the methods in the order in which they are listed, starting with Method 1.

Important This article contains information that shows you how to help lower security settings or how to turn off security features on a computer. You can make these changes to work around a specific problem. Before you make these changes, we recommend that you evaluate the risks that are associated with implementing this workaround in your particular environment. If you implement this workaround, take any appropriate additional steps to help protect the computer.

These steps are for troubleshooting purposes only. These steps will determine whether any features or applications are causing the issue that you are currently experiencing. After you have confirmed the cause of your current issue, we recommended that you re-enable any security features that were disabled during troubleshooting. Also, we recommend that you contact the vendor of the application that is causing the issue for help with configuring the application to work with Windows.

This content is designed for a beginning to an intermediate computer user.

For more information about how to troubleshoot Windows Update, visit the Windows Update Troubleshooter Web site:
Windows Update Troubleshooter

Symptoms

When you try to visit the Microsoft Windows Update Web site or the Microsoft Update Web site, the Web site may not appear. Also, you may receive the following error message:
Initialization error 0x800A1391

Cause

This issue may occur if you cannot download the Component Object Model (COM) component of the Windows Update Web site or of the Microsoft Update Web site. Windows Update and Microsoft Update use this COM component to scan your computer and install updates. Microsoft COM technology in the Microsoft Windows-family of operating systems enables software components to communicate.

Resolution

Warning This workaround may make a computer or a network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We do not recommend this workaround but are providing this information so that you can implement this workaround at your own discretion. Use this workaround at your own risk.

Method 1: Scan your computer for viruses

This method is rated: Easy.
Estimated Time: 20 minutes to 1 hour or more.

You may be experiencing this issue because you have a virus on your computer. To resolve this problem, you have to scan your computer for viruses and then remove any viruses that you find. To perform this method, do the following:
  1. Scan your computer for viruses.

    To scan your computer for viruses, use the antivirus program that is installed on your computer. How you scan your computer and remove viruses is different for each antivirus program. You should look in the antivirus program's Help system for the procedure that you use to remove viruses. You can usually find the procedure for your antivirus program on the Internet. To find the procedure, type "scan for viruses" and then the name of your antivirus program in your favorite search engine, and then click Search.

    If you do not have an antivirus program installed on your computer, follow these steps:
    1. Run the free Microsoft Security Essentials safety scanner to perform a scan of your computer. To run the Microsoft Security Essentials safety scanner, visit the following Microsoft Web site: 
      http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials
    2. Click the Protection option.
    3. Click Protection Scan. For more information about how to use the Microsoft Security Essentials safety scanner, please visit the following Microsoft Web site: 
      http://help.live.com
    4. After the Protection Scan is complete, run the Clean Up scan. To run the Clean Up, visit the following Microsoft Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/
    5. Click Clean up.
    6. Click Clean Up Scan.
    7. Visit the Windows Update Web site or the Microsoft Update Web site.
Notes
  • You can also download a free 90-day copy of Microsoft Security Essentials. To do this, visit the following Microsoft Web site: 
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials
  • The estimated time of a scan depends on the size and number of your hard disks, and on the kind of scan. A quick virus scan will be very fast (usually less than a few minutes). A complete, full-service scan will take about 90 minutes. You can use your computer while the scanner runs, and you can cancel a scan at any point during its progress.
If this method worked: If the Windows Update or Microsoft Update issue is resolved, you are finished!

If this method did not work: If this method did not resolve your problem, continue to the next method.

Method 2: Disable third-party firewalls

This method is rated: Easy.
Estimated Time: 20 minutes or more.

Third-party firewalls can interfere with Windows Update and with other applications that may download files to your computer. To troubleshoot the issue, you will have to enable the Windows Firewall, disable the third-party firewall, run Windows Update, and then re-enable the third-party firewalls. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. If you are running Windows XP, turn on Windows Firewall before you disable any third-party firewalls. To turn on Windows Firewall, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, and then click Run.
    2. Type the following, and then click OK:
      Firewall.cpl
    3. Select On, and then click OK.
  2. Disable third-party firewalls. Look in the third-party firewall program's Help system for steps that you can use to disable the firewall.
  3. Visit the Windows Update Web site or the Microsoft Update Web site.
  4. Enable your third-party firewalls. Look in the third-party firewall program's Help system for steps that you can use to enable the firewall.
If this method worked: If the Windows Update or Microsoft Update issue is resolved, you are finished!

If this method did not work: If this method did not resolve your problem, continue to the next method.

Method 3: Disable antivirus software

This method is rated: Moderately Easy.
Estimated Time: 20 minutes or more.

Antivirus software can help protect your computer against viruses and other security threats. In most cases, you should not disable your antivirus software. If you do have to temporarily disable it to install other software, you should re-enable it as soon as you are finished. If you are connected to the Internet or a network during the time your antivirus software is disabled, your computer is vulnerable to attacks.

Third-party antivirus software can interfere with Windows Update and other applications that may download files to your computer. In order to troubleshoot the issue, you will have to disable the third-party antivirus software, run Windows Update, and then re-enable the third-party antivirus software.
  1. Disable antivirus software. Look in the antivirus program's Help system for steps on how to disable the antivirus program.
  2. Visit the Windows Update Web site or the Microsoft Update Web site.
  3. Enable antivirus software. Look in the antivirus program's Help system for steps on how to enable the antivirus program.
If this method worked: If the Windows Update or Microsoft Update issue is resolved, you are finished!

If this method did not work: If this method did not resolve your problem, continue to the next method.

Method 4: Add the Windows Update Web sites to the Trusted sites zone in Internet Explorer

This method is rated: Easy.
Estimated Time: 5 minutes or more.

If you have verified that your firewall and antivirus software are not causing the issue, try adding the following Web sites to the Microsoft Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone on the computer where you are using Windows Update. After you have added the following Web sites to the Microsoft Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone, run Windows Update. To perform this method, follow these steps:
  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
  3. Click the Security tab, and then click Trusted Sites.
  4. Click Sites.
  5. Click to clear the Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone check box.
  6. In Add this Web site to the zone, type each of the following Web site addresses, and then click Add:
    • https://*.microsoft.com
    • https://download.windowsupdate.com
    • https://update.microsoft.com/windowsupdate
    • http://*.update.microsoft.com
    • https://*.update.microsoft.com
    • http://download.windowsupdate.com
  7. Click Close, and then click OK.
  8. Visit the Windows Update Web site or the Microsoft Update Web site.
If this method worked: If the Windows Update or Microsoft Update issue is resolved, you are finished!

If this method did not work: If this method did not resolve your problem, and you still cannot use the Windows Update Web site or Microsoft Update, you may want to ask someone for help or contact support. For information about how to contact support, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/

Properties

Article ID: 836961 - Last Review: August 2, 2012 - Revision: 9.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows Update, when used with:
    • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
    • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
    • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Update
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
Keywords: 
kbresolve atdownload kbqfe kbhowto kbexpertisebeginner kbtshoot kbdownload kbwindowsupdate kberrmsg kbprb KB836961

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