New subscriber Richard F. wrote to ask about his problem with Windows XP and its updates:
I hope you can help me with a problem with XP SP3 updates that seems to have defeated Microsoft's technicians.
For years now I have been bugged by updates failing to install. On two separate occasions I have been helped by MS technicians to overcome the problem, but in each case, after countless hours of tinkering and fiddling and sending them various report files, the problem is fixed only for a week or two before the updates start failing to install again.
Is this likely to be a problem with my six-year-old machine, or is it just another fundamental problem with Microsoft’s bug-riddled OS? I use MS Updates rather than Windows Updates, and the failures usually occur with Office 2003 components. Screen shot of the latest failures attached.
Another constant annoyance is a mouse cursor that has a mind of its own. This is characterised either by the cursor suddenly diving to the extreme edge of the screen (not always the same place) while in use, or, if the mouse has been idle, doing the same thing as soon as it’s touched. It’s a standard MS mouse using the built-in driver.
Your help in solving these apparently inherent flaws would be greatly appreciated.
I wrote back to Richard to tell him that I can’t solve the failing updates problem, especially if Microsoft’s technicians aren’t able to keep it running.
Either something is fouled up in his Windows XP installation, or he are running some device driver, service or application that is interfering with some of the updates. It could be his antivirus / antispyware program that is affecting the updates.
My suggestion is that it’s time for a fresh install of Windows XP.
I think he should get an external drive, back up all his data to it — including program configuration information if he can &mdash and then reinstall from his Windows XP operating system CD or system recovery CD’s/DVD’s (whatever his computer manufacturer supplied). For this purpose, I recommend and use Acronis True Image Home 2011.
If his computer manufacturer supplied Windows operating system CD, they probably supplied a separate CD with the drivers for the network card, video card, modem, and other included items.
Be sure to download the latest versions of the drivers for your network card, modem, printer, scanner, video card, etc. before you reinstall. In particular, if you don’t have the drivers for your network card or the drivers and software for your modem, you wouldn’t be able to connect to the Internet to download new copies.
Regarding his strange mouse jumps, he didn’t mention if this happens in all applications or only in some specific ones. Some applications have special functions they call "mouse gestures" — where the program notices a certain mouse movement, sometimes in combination with a keystroke and some mouse-only movements, and do specific things.
Firefox is an example of a program that uses mouse gestures. The first time it notices a mouse gesture, it will offer to turn on its mouse gesture functions. If you OK that and don’t realize what it means, you will get some surprises as a particular movement causes Firefox to do something special.
I also suggested that he search on my web site for articles on reinstalling Windows XP.