For some reason, if you’ve studied informatics, people tend to believe you can fix their computers. I really don’t like cleaning up the mess other people create, since most of the time it’s a trivial task.Just read the error message or go to the all mighty google and you’ll be able to fix most problems.
However the latest problem I encountered was more of a challenge. After formatting the hard disk and installing a fresh copy of Windows XP I let it update itself, leading from one error to the next. So I turned off automatic updates, went to the update site myself, selected all the available updates, crash… Although some updates were installed successful some kept on crashing the windows update process. After trying several things the solution that worked in the end was to create two folders ( c:temp and c:wutemp) and clear all the contents of the folder SoftwareDistribution which is under the root directory of where you installed Windows. Note that for this last step you need to turn off the running Automatic Update service. To do this go to control panel, select computer management, select services, then select automatic updates and press the stop button. After you’ve deleted the contents of the SoftwareDistribution folder you can turn this service on again.
So, no more Windows Update crashes, hurrah! The update process continued now peacefully, and the list kept getting smaller until there were 4 updates remaining. These last kept returning in the list of essential updates, even though every time I installed them it was reported as a successful update. I resolved this by turning on automatic updates again (which I wanted to do when no more updates where available),now Windows installed them when I turned off the system. Powered the machine back on, went to the windows update site and saw that there were no more essential updates. Victory!