Windows Update does not start in Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows 2000

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.

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

Method 1: Register the Windows Update files
Method 2: Replace the Windows Update SoftwareDistribution folder

More Information

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.

Article ID: 2497281 - Last Review: Aug 5, 2016 - Revision: 1