Windows Update website crashes and restores, can't get to actual updates (XP Pro)

I recently had a system meltdown which I was finally able to recover from by using the 'Last Known Good Configuration' option which seemed to take me to just a few minutes after my initial install of Windows XP.

Everything is running smooth now except for a few glitches as a result of there being Windows related programs still installed and trying to work that I assume XP thinks shouldn't be in the state they currently are.  I was hoping that going through the Windows Update process would cause XP to then recognize my current (updated) versions of Windows Media Player, etc, but there's one issue.  Assuming my logic is correct, my version of IE is not the one XP is expecting to interact with.  I have IE 8.  According to my 'Add/Remove Programs' list IE is not even on my system.

When I try to go to and proceed past the welcome page it does a lot of flashing and clicking and then takes me back to the same page with a little bubble on the tab bar that says "This tab has been recovered.  A problem with this webpage caused Internet Explorer to close and reopen the tab."

Any ideas on how I can get past this?



Question Info

Last updated March 25, 2018 Views 2,732 Applies to:

[The WinXP SP2 disk that came with your computer may be named System Recovery but it has nothing to do with Windows System Restore so don't confuse youself.]

KB912812 predates the availability of both IE8 and IE7 so there's no way that IE8 is installed properly. So if KB912812 was installed on 13 March 2010, the 'Last Known Good Configuration' recovery you did (on or shortly before 13 March 2010) must have actually been a Repair Install.


   How to perform a repair installation of Windows XP if a later version of Internet Explorer is installed 

Translation: Since you (obviously) did not uninstall IE8 before you did the Repair Install, both Windows and IE are now in a "confused" state. This explains why IE8 isn't listed in Add/Remove Programs and why you're missing so many updates (including the latest Cumulative Security Update for IE8).

Your only recourse now is to back up your personal data (none of which should be considered 100% trustworthy at this point) then format the HDD & do a clean install of Windows.  Please note that another Repair Install (AKA in-place upgrade) will not & cannot fix this!

HOW TO do a clean install of WinXP: See and/or Method 1 in

After the clean install, you will have the equivalent of a "new computer" so take care of everything on the following page before otherwise connecting the machine to the internet or a local network (i.e., other computers) and before using a flash drive or SDCard that isn't brand-new or hasn't been freshly formatted:

     4 steps to help protect your new computer before you go online

Other helpful references include:

HOW TO get a computer running WinXP Gold (no Service Packs) fully patched (after a clean install)

HOW TO get a computer running WinXP SP1(a) or SP2 fully patched (after a clean install)

Tip: After getting the computer fully-patched, download/install KB971029 manually:

NB: Any Norton or McAfee free-trial that came preinstalled on the computer when you bought it will be reinstalled (but invalid) when Windows is reinstalled. You MUST uninstall the free-trial and download/run the appropriate removal tool before installing any updates, Windows Service Packs or IE upgrades and before installing your new anti-virus application (which will require WinXP SP3 to be installed).

     Norton Removal Tool

     McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool

If these procedures look too complex - and there is no shame in admitting this isn't your cup of tea - take the machine to a local, reputable and independent (i.e., not BigBoxStoreUSA or Geek Squad) computer repair shop.

Wish I'd had better news for you. Best of luck!

~Robear Dyer (PA Bear) ~ MS MVP (IE, Mail, Security, Windows & Update Services) since 2002 ~ Disclaimer: MS MVPs neither represent nor work for Microsoft
~Robear Dyer (PA Bear)
Microsoft MVP (Windows Client) since October 2002

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