Windows Update Fails

3d human with big negative symbolThere are several situations which can cause Microsoft Windows Update to fail to properly download and update a computer. This could be either through the Automatic Updates mechanism, or via the Windows Update website. Windows Update commonly fails because of the following changes have been made:

  • The system is an image of another system;
  • The system is a restored backup;
  • Windows 2nd Restore Option was used;
  • Windows Rollback was used;

What is often observed is that:

  • Automatic updates do not occur as expected;
  • Windows SUS/WSUS reports errors in client receiving updates;
  • Windows Update website fails;

There are two recommended methods for working around this problem:

“Simple Fix”

I have found that the easiest way to fix a Microsoft Update problem is to switch back to Windows Update from the “Change Setting” option on the left-side menu. Click on “Disable Microsoft Update software and let me use Windows Update only” and then click on “Apply changes now.” It will then launch Windows update. Run it and then switch back to MS Update.

This process of switching from the newer method to the older one and then back again seems to fix a host of registry errors and other wastes of time. It is simple and fast and has almost always worked for me.

Repairing Microsoft Update the old way

WSUS has a good monitoring and reporting feature that allows me to see at a glance which machines are struggling with the stuff Microsoft is trying to send to it. So I do a Remote Desktop session to the machine in question and run the process manually. I know something is really messed up when I get a 0×8024001D error or some other hex number. Simply delete the c:\windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download folder, run the update again and all is well but it takes a long time to go through that long download and update process.


This solution was copied, in part, from Tech Republic

Basic Troubleshooting 101

3d human with a red exclamation markTroubleshooting is a fundamental key to the information technology field. At one point or another you’ll be asked to resolve a problem that does not have a clear-cut source/cause/resolution. They key to successful and quick troubleshooting is following the following process:

  1. Dont’t assume you understand the problem based on the users description. However document and attempt to understand what they are saying:
    1. Document the symptom(s)
    2. Document when did it first occur, has it occured before, who does it affect, what is all affected, what have you already tried to resolve it, can you make it occur again?
  2. Watch the user make the problem happen (this will help you reproduce the problem to test your resolution, it also provides the opportunity to observe operator error)
  3. From a reboot state, you try to reproduce the problem
  4. Collect auxillary data from the system:
    1. Application error messages, error logs, window event viewer, etc.
    2. Check for application/vendor logs, as well as hidden logs
    3. Evaluate other external sources which may be interfeering
  5. Attempt to determine the cause of the problem.
  6. Document newly discovered, relevant information, including source and symptoms
  7. Consult resources – technet, web, other staff, vendor resources
  8. Plan to isolate problem using the half-way method
  9. Make one change at a time. Be sure to reboot systems as necessary. Many appliciations do not appear to need this step, but many times in troubleshooting this will help.
  10. Determine a reasonable amount of time an issue should be resolved in, and then escalate as necessary

The last step is perhaps the most critical step, and while all are very important, failure to realize when you’re in over your head is essential. And while the inner “geek” in most IT people push them to figure it out on their own, many times the right choice is to escalate the issue. This may be escalating to a higher skilled technician, contacting the vendors fee-based technical support, or contacting a third party IT firm. Of course, it would be in your best interet to try and glean as much information from the next person in line and advance your own skills.

70-290 Concepts: Server Performance and Troubleshooting

graduation·          The event viewer can only open log files stored in the .evt format, but can save as .txt or .csv

·          To sort entries or to view a subset of entries for a log, you can use a filter

·          The system monitor displays both real time and logged performance data via the perfmon.msc – task manager displays a simple subset

·          The performance logs and alert tools is also a node within the performance mmc snap-in and supports logged performance monitoring and alerts through event triggers. Export as .blg .csv .tsv .sql

·          You measure a computers performance y specifying performance objectives, performance counters and instances of those selected performance objects.

·          The system monitor tool opens with three sets of performance objects:

o    Memory: pages/sec – the value should be between 0-20; not constantly higher than 20

o    Processor: % Processor time: _Total: This should remain consistently below 85%

o    Physical Disk: Avg. Disk Queue Length:_Total: This should remain between 0-2; not constantly higher than 2

·          Task manager >  network performance, should be lower than 30%

·          Licensing icon in the control panel lets you configure licensing for the local server. Enterprise version lets you do it site/domain wide; must be an administrator and licensing service must be started – default is disabled.

·          IIS 6 and the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) must be installed on a server if you want to enable users to connect to printers using port 80 and their web browsers.  (http://server01/printers an http://server01/printername/.print)

·          For Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) to work properly, the target computer must have the Automatic Updates software installed. Already installed on (2000 SP3, XP SP1, 2003); NT, ME, 9x are not supported. Two GP settings are required: configure automatic updates & specify intranet MS Update Service – both are under Config\Admin Templates\Windows Comp\Windows Update

·          Use the RUN AS command to run programs and utilities as a different user. (runas /user:domain\username cmd)

Magic Touch – Customer Service

magic hat and wand with clipping pathThis process known as Magic Touch relates to the customers experience and viewpoint regarding our on-site service. Specifically, it is the illusion of our ability to magically fix technology problems without panic or stress. This results in an end user perception of professionalism and experience.

However in reality, a great majority of the problems we will be asked to resolve will be relating to software, hardware or problems we have never seen before. Our professional illusion is maintained by out ability to properly handle these instances. Below, is a methodology which is common in the industry, and the terminology taken from Adrian Grigorof, B.Sc, MSCE.

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Dell DAT72 Powervault Storage Cleaning – known issue

backup storage tapeI have been noticing a significant increase in the number cleaning related errors onDell DAT72 internal Powervault100 Tape drives. During my most recent call to our Gold Technical Support, it was confirmed that there is a known issue with Dell’s PowerVault 100 DAT72 drives.

I wouldn’t recommend directly confronting Dell on this issue. Rather realize that this is a common problem, and if your drive never seems to clean properly, doing delay and call Dell for technical support. Typically the drive requires to be replace.

However, be sure you still perform regular troubleshooting steps including:

  • Upgrading the Tape Drive Firmware/Drivers
  • Upgrading the server BIOS
  • Upgrading the SCSI controller Firmware/Drivers

Dell Broadcom Drivers

usb cableWe experienced a strange problem lately with a client where we enabled the second Broadcom integrated NIC on a Windows 2003 Enterprise Server. What we discovered was that when we set the static IP address on the server’s second network adapter, the first network adapter dropped into this semi-DHCP state. When we corrected the first adapter, the second one would go into the semi-DHCP state. I say semi because it actually showed the adapter in DHCP mode, but unable to find a DHCP server so it used the automatic IP address – which is typically 169.x.x.x, but instead of that, it actually retained the static IP address. But when the server rebooted, it would loose the static IP address (since it was set to DHCP mode) and would pickup a new, dynamic IP address.’

So I performed the normal troubleshooting steps from uninstalling the network drivers, reinstalling the existing driver, and then finally installing the latest drivers – which would always fail. So after a bit of messing around I called Dell Enterprise Support and to my surprise the provided a shocking list of prerequisites before we could upgrade the drivers…

Continue reading “Dell Broadcom Drivers”

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