Can’t Download Windows Updates

Keeping your computer’s operating system up to date is important to keep it secure and healthy. Microsoft frequently releases software patches that “patch” holes found in their software. Without these updates, you are leaving your computer open to hackers and viruses. However, if your Internet Security settings are set for highest security, Internet Explorer could be blocking your computer from being able to download those important Windows updates!

I work at a company that makes software. As new versions of the software are created—but before it’s released to the public—I have to install our applications on a “virtual image” and use them so that I can write about what has changed since the last time I used it. A version can have numerous builds before it completely passes quality testing and is good for release. Often there are minor changes that only a regular user—in this case, me—would have noticed. But before I install our software, I have to make sure the OS that I’m installing it on has all of the latest patches—and Microsoft releases new patches pretty much every week.

The virtual image that I use shares an IP address with my desktop, but the image cannot usually connect to the Internet, for security reasons. However, when I download patches, I have to connect the virtual image to the Internet. Not long ago, after an OS update, I was unable to download any more updates using Windows Update. Search after search turned up no help for why my Microsoft Windows image using Microsoft’s browser could not connect to microsoft.com and download its updates! One of the previous updates did something to Internet Explorer’s Internet security options. As usual, making it more secure added more inconvenience. But I eventually figured it out:

To enable Internet Explorer to download updates from Microsoft.com*

  1. Open Internet Explorer, then click Tools > Internet Options.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. In the Select a zone pane, click Trusted sites.
  4. In the Trusted sites dialog box, clear the Require server verification check box.
  5. In the Add this website to the zone box, type http://download.microsoft.com, then click Add.
  6. Click Close to close the Trusted sites dialog box.
  7. Click OK to close the Internet Options dialog box.
  8. Click Tools > Windows Update to restart Windows Update.

If that was your only issue, you should now be able to connect to Microsoft and download the necessary updates. (But it’s never just one issue, is it?)

*The steps may be different on your computer, depending on your operating system and Internet Explorer version, but the idea is the same: add download.microsoft.com to the Trusted sites list.

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