Windows 7 – Problem with Windows Update

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I have a rather ancient HP desktop which I upgraded two years ago from Vista to Windows 7. I check every month to see if the patch Tuesday updates have been processed and noticed mid-Decemeber that there seemed to be a severe problem with Windows Update. It took ages to start and when it finally appeared, there was just a big red “X” It would not manually allow me to check for updates, and the usual fix (making sure the necessary services were running) did not help. I was forced to rename the c:\windows\softwaredistribution directory, after which Windows Update ran correctly and found and installed three updates.

My question is this. I realized that Windows Update had not processed the December patches as I regularly check to be sure everything is OK, but a non-technical user would from this point have a system without any new security updates. Is it not damgerous for Microsoft to have a critical service such as Windows Update that can so easily stop running?

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