XP Won’t Update

Dear Computer Lady,

I am running Windows XP on my desktop computer which is my primary use computer. Several times over the past few months when I have received notice of updates and download them, my computer messes up and I have to boot it up in the safe mode and restore it to an earlier date prior to installing the downloads. This happened again a couple of days ago when the Windows XP Service Pack 3 was downloaded. Do you have any idea why this happens and what I can do to stop it?



Dear Donnie,

This is actually a fairly common problem with XP computers, and usually the only way to solve it is to format the hard drive and do a clean install of Windows XP, then it will usually take the updates.

You could also try to locate a CD with Service Pack 3 on it, and install the service pack from the CD. This sometimes works when the downloaded version is not working, but not always.

You can also download the service pack from Microsoft’s website and then install it. Again, this sometimes works, but not always.

Microsoft has an article on their website that explains how to download the service pack, and how to order it on a CD. Here is that website:

If these two steps don’t work, the one remaining option available to you is to format the hard drive and install Windows XP. This is something that you will probably have to take to your local computer shop. I do this for my customers quite frequently. Make sure you tell the person who will be working on your computer what information you need backed up, and provide them with the disks and licensing information for your programs like Office, and your antivirus program.


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    • entsala
    • May 27, 2010

    elizabeth, i just wanted to offer you condolences for your precious pet. i know that your family’s heart is broken and lonely without her. much love, angelia

    • alexnetherton
    • May 31, 2010

    Also Donnie, sometimes it is a virus that causes you to be unable to update, and other times it is just “software rot”. Many people format their drives and start over every six months to a year. Just remember to back up everything you want to keep.
    It is not all that hard to re-install Windows; I am 59 years old, and do it regularly. You can Google “re-install windows” for tutorials. Set out a block of time, about a half day, and go for it. It will solve your problems, or just go to a computer store and have it done – doing it at home costs nothing…

    • Bess Ann Lewis
    • June 3, 2010

    I’m running Vista on my Acer desktop. When it tries to boot up most of the time the curser does not appear on the screen. Therefore, cannot do anything but unplug it and try again. Sometimes I get a blank screen and error message that the display driver is not working. This pc is only 2 yrs old and this is driving me crazy. What can I do to solve these problems. been putting up with it so long. Also the dvd/cd drive does not work and its no longer under ser contract. any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks and love your newsletter. sorry about your doggy. been there done that too. right now i have 2 sweet smart shelties (breed I bred, trained and showed for 30 years) and 1 schnauzer who has adopted me. lol
    Bess Ann Lewis

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