The Perils of Windows Update (Error 80070002)



I switched my PC on this morning, and a little message popped up asking me to update my Windows 7 machine. I have configured my machine to notify me when an update was available and to not install it itself – and those wishes were indeed complied with. Now an up-to-date machine is a happy machine so I went through the motions only to be greeted with this…

Apparently Error 80070002 is caused by a mismatch in update databases, and a resolution is to stop the update service, delete some temporary update files, and resume the service. Well, I don’t need to tell you that this did not work.

If stopping and restarting services isn’t your idea of fun, then don’t worry as there is a nice and easy solution known as Fix It. This will run through the process automatically and should fix whatever problem it thinks you have. Once again, this not work. I suspect it was due to the Fix It solution being identical to the advice I had already received. I blame this on Microsoft’s continued attempt to make things “easier” for the non technical; a side effect being everything is harder for the technical.

If you recall, I have already had issues with Microsoft’s decisions regarding the move from Windows XP to Windows 7. The first being the lack of HyperTerminal, and the second is the requirement to use Windows Update (located in the Start Menu, or in Control Panel) when installing updates. There used to be the option to install updates using Internet Explorer, but not any more. users are forced down either a single path or off the road entirely.

Finally I found Autopatcher. Released in 2003 this is a free alternative to Microsoft Update. I think it is worth mentioning that Autopatcher originally used a separate server to host the updates, and was subsequently informed by Microsoft Legal to stop, due to concerns about unauthorised updates and malware. Since then, an agreement was made for Autopatcher to utilise Microsoft’s own servers to retrieve the updates. One important feature of this for network managers, is that it allows the update to be downloaded once, and installed to many PC’s. Autopatcher first gives you a list of update modules you might want to use and then allows updates to be selected, indicating already installed updates in blue. Once the appropriate updates are checked, they will be installed.

Unfortunately my “Error 80070002” still exists, but I am happy with the knowledge that my PC has current updates. Additionally, I can archieve these updates speeding up the inevitable rebuild that accompanies Windows machines. Happy days.