Updating xp sp2
One of them, involving re-registering DLLs, was my fallback if the first suggestion didn't work.
A Microsoft technician responded to my plea for help well within their 24 hour goal.To see, try running Windows Update manually from the website to insure it can install patches.A brief search turned up forum postings at from others with this problem.Support for SP3 and IE7 is offered on the phone (866-234-6020), although, I had Windows Update in IE6 and IE7) and click on the "Get help and support" link in the gray stripe on the left. The best way to do this is with Internet Explorer on the computer with the problem.This allows Microsoft to download an Active X control that gathers assorted debugging information and sends it back to them. Good news: Microsoft offers free technical support for Windows Update and that support provided a solution to my problem.
While consumers are conditioned to call their hardware manufacturer for technical support, Microsoft offers free support for Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, IE7 and Windows Update.
After rebooting, run Windows Update immediately to get the patch shown below Update July 27, 2008: After installing XP SP3 and all the subsequent patches on three more computers, my best guess is that the problem has to do with the type of license for Windows.
On all four machines that were purchased from the same hardware vendor (very different models), Windows Update broke.
A technician at Microsoft suggested getting the software from here.
This fix is also offered here, for a similar Windows Update problem. There's no way for me to know how widespread this problem is.
It turns out that Windows Update has 2.5 activity log files.