windows update prompting


Windows Update Keeps Prompting Me To Install A Patch!


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Windows Update Failure...?

Sometimes Windows Update can do odd things..

One of them is to keep asking you to install a patch even though you have already done so!

This can be very annoying and has happened a lot recently with patch:


Many users of Windows XP have been frustrated with this annoying experience. So this article should help you fix the problem.

This article is now part of the archive and may not be current. (July 2003)

(The technique can also be applied to other troublesome patches, but as with all modifications to the registry. I can take no responsibility for any modifications you make.)


Before we run this potential fix, we must actually make sure that the software patch is on your machine. I know you think it is and update keeps asking you to install it again and again... so there may be a problem with it! Let's first confirm it installed OK, then fix the registry so you will not be asked to install it again!

HFNetChk.exe v. 3.86 is the latest version of Microsoft's well-known free command-line tool that enables you to scan your PC/network for missing security patches.

Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP ONLY...
(HFNetChk.exe will NOT operate on Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows ME systems.)

Download this software: 


When you run the Hfnetchk tool for the first time from a command line (without any switches), the tool must obtain a copy of this XML file so that the tool can find the hotfixes that are available for each product. The XML file is available from the Microsoft Download Center Web site in compressed form. The file is a digitally signed .cab file. Hfnetchk downloads the .cab file, verifies the signature, and then decompresses the .cab file to your local computer. Note that a .cab file is a compressed file that is similar to a .zip file. If the .cab file is not downloaded, Hfnetchk tries to download an uncompressed copy of this file from Microsoft.

After the .cab file is decompressed, Hfnetchk scans your computer (or the selected computers) to determine the operating system, service packs, and programs that are running. Hfnetchk then parses the XML file and identifies security patches that are available for your combination of installed software. Patches that are available for your computer but are not currently installed on your computer are displayed as "patch not found" in the resulting output. In the default configuration, Hfnetchk output displays only those patches that are necessary to bring your computer up to date. Hfnetchk recognizes rollup packages and does not display those patches that are superseded by later patches.

You can download the signed XML file separately from the following Microsoft Web site:

You may also access the uncompressed XML file from the following Microsoft Web site:

Using Hfnetchk...

Once downloaded and installed you can use this utility straight away, however here is a tip:

1) The program will have installed in this directory:

C:\Program Files\Shavlik Technologies\HFNetChk

COPY the files in this folder and put them onto the main directory C:\

2) Now go to the "Start" menu and type the following into the "Run" box.

C:\hfnetchk -v -z -x mssecure.xml -f scan.txt

The utility will run and then create a small text file called "Scan.txt" on your C:\ drive

This file contains all the info you need!

These Q and A's should help you...

Q: Does HFNetChk validate the existence of hotfixes by checking only registry keys?

A: HFNetChk examines several values before it reports on the status of a patch. The registry key that is associated with the patch is checked first. If this registry key does not exist on your computer, the patch is considered to not be installed. If the key does exist, HFNetChk examines the file version and file checksum for each file in the hotfix. If all of these values match, the patch is considered to be installed. If any one of these tests do not work, the patch is either considered to not be installed, or it is flagged as a warning (depending upon the results of the check).

Q: I have already installed that patch. Why does HFNetChk display a message that the patch is not installed?

A: If the patch is identified as "Not Found", either the corresponding hotfix registry key is not present, or the files in the patch are not found on your computer. Try to run the tool with the -v switch to view the specific reason why the patch is considered "Not Found". Also try to run the tool with the -z switch, for example, hfnetchk -v -z. (If you use my tip above these have already been included for you...) Examine the results for the patch in question, and then view these Error Messages for more information if needed.

Ready to move on?

Here's how to fix the patch problem:

Please note that this procedure should only be performed by experienced users of the Windows XP registry..

If you are not experienced then please go straight to the end of the article for another solution!

Step 1)

Open the registry editor and Navigate to:


Step 2)

Now we need to create a new key in this branch called: KB823980

Step 3)

Now we need to create a new String Value for this new key.

The Value Name of this String Value can be left blank.

The Value Data for this String Value is: This Key is required to STOP Windows Update from prompting for an install

Now close the registry editor. You will need to log off for the Tweak to take effect.

And that is it!

Windows Update should NOT ask for this patch to be installed again!

IMPORTANT: This procedure contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article numbers to view the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles:

256986 - Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry

322756 - HOW TO: Back Up, Edit, and Restore the Registry in Windows XP.

My registry guide:

If you do Not know how to modify the registry then:

You can download and run this registry key. However you MUST be using Windows XP Home or Professional Edition with service pack 1 installed!

Get it here: xp_kb823980_fix.vbs

This key works but I can not accept any responsibility for any modifications you make to the registry. Please backup your registry first...

After downloading the key, simply double click the file and you will get a message that says:

Are you sure you want to add the information?

Click Yes.

Then you will that a message that says:

Information was successfully added.

Click OK.

Now restart your computer and the next time you visit Windows Update you should NOT get a prompt to install patch KB823980 again.

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Kind Regards

Marc Liron

Marc Liron - Microsoft MVP

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