Why Do Half of Windows Updates Fail?

Heaven or Hell

New Member
About that much, seemingly, regardless of the version one's running.

So many updates fail on a regular basis it's not even funny. More ridiculous,
recently I've been noticing Windows 7 doesn't even automatically check all the
updates it claims are important. Yes, I have it set to install Windows Updates
automatically, but this would still prompt me to "start" the updates.

I'm pretty sure it has something to do with my having Microsoft Office 2003
(the 2003 version of MS Word, Excel, PPT, etc.) but, that's not an excuse.
They're prompting me to install updates for my software they're JUST releasing,
and yet they fail seemingly almost every time? Do they even test the sh!t they
release to the public?

And how come sometimes they'll install if I manually do it myself as opposed
to when I try doing it automatically? Why should it be any different?



Essential Member
Why do you not know where to post this? Moved to support. Read stickies or even the section title (Windows 7 Discussion?)


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
The automatic updates probably do not work on the schedule you expect. They download in the background using BITS and will check for updates when you designate. But they may not install until later, like that afternoon or even the next day. On some installs a shutdown is required to complete.

Anti-virus software can mess with updates. If you are not using Microsoft (MSE) you may want to try turning off both Real time protection and any type of boot protection for testing.

You do not have to allow Windows Update to get the Office 2003 updates. For testing, you could try turning it off. And there are several different type of update clients. You may have one that is not working while the others still are. Also, in some cases, future updates can not download or install if a prior one has not been installed.

A good internet connection is very important for updates.

I normally have mine set to download updates, but not install until I allow. That way I can be present and the system is not waking from sleep or starting the install when I am not aware.

If you are given any type error messages, you might post them.


Extraordinary Member
I'm in Saltgrasses camp, but I have updates switched off. Takes me all of twenty seconds to check if updates are available, especially knowing that critical/important updates are released on the second Tuesday of every month. I then decide which ones I need, hiding (to me) non critical (e.g. drivers, Silverlight). If there are then a group of downloads I'll split them in to groups of two or three and install them like that. I've never had an update that wouldn't install, although I've had a few refuse at first.