On the last episode of Windows Weekly, Leo was talking about not being able to install updates on Windows Update after upgrading to Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3). Scott B. sent along the following link to the Microsoft Knowledge Base that might solve the problem. I’m guessing this is an unfortunately common issue, so I thought I’d post it here as well (by the way, you gotta love Microsoft’s KB titles):

Updates are not installed successfully from Windows Update, from Microsoft Update, or by using Automatic Updates after you perform a new Windows XP installation or you repair a Windows XP installation

SYMPTOMS

When you try to install updates from the Windows Update Web site, from the Microsoft Update Web site, or by using the Automatic Updates feature, you receive a message that states that the update or the updates were not installed successfully. However, the updates are not displayed in the Update History part of the Web site.

You experience this problem if the following conditions are true in the following scenarios:

Scenario 1

• You try to update a computer that is running Windows XP.

• You have repaired the Windows XP installation by using the Windows XP CD.

Scenario 2

• You try to update a computer that is running Windows XP.

• You have performed a new installation of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).

• You have visited Windows Update site directly for updates and immediately performed an update to Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3).

Looks like a straightforward (if needlessly obtuse) fix is available.

Thanks Scott!

Related: Mark Wilson had also written in with his related answer, in the form of a blog post.