Microsoft KILLED Windows Update on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, (Partially, but fixable) 7 in 2020!

It’s currently not possible to install updates on any version of Windows that is older than Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. On this page, I’ll explain how I found this out, what causes this problem, and what options you have left to update old versions of Windows.

Windows Update on Vista always gives error 80244019 when searching for updates

Background story: Re-installing Windows

I was recently fixing another old computer and had to reinstall Windows Vista Home Premium on it. Yes, I know that’s old and unsupported since 3 years, but it’s not a computer that’s going to be used for any sensitive things online.

Like always, I’ve used a DVD with Service Pack 2 already included, but this time I couldn’t get it to install any updates.

Normally, Windows Update would take almost forever to search at first, and I’ve frequently used http://wu.krelay.de/en/vista.htm to fix this issue. Afterwards, I could install the rest of the updates like normal.

404 Not Found

This time, however, Windows update kept giving me error 80244019. “Windows Update encountered an unknown error” was all it said. The help of Windows Vista contained nothing about this error and by Googling it, i couldn’t find much initially.

Then, I decided to check out C:\Windows\WindowsUpdate.log and noticed something interesting. In the log, there were dozens of message like this:

2020-08-17       11:34:55:310    1044     d80      PT         + ServiceId = {9482F4B4-E343-43B6-B170-9A65BC822C77}, Server URL = https://www.update.microsoft.com/v6/ClientWebService/client.asmx

2020-08-17       11:34:55:466    1044     d80      PT       WARNING: GetConfig failure, error = 0x80244019, soap client error = 10, soap error code = 0, HTTP status code = 404

What interested me, was that the HTTP status code was 404. That’s something *very* usual for Windows Update, as it litteraly means that the webpage which Windows update tries to use no longer exists.

You need some SHA-2, bro!

After searching the error code on Google again, this time only showing results from last week, I finally found someone with the same issue in a discussion thread (https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/vista32-home-premium-error-0x80244019/b90c631c-328a-44d5-89f0-cac285d5250e) . The answer given basically said that Microsoft disabled Windows Update on purpose, without having any user-friendely informative page available and without displaying a banner inside the control panel.

The discussion also linked me to a technical document about why Microsoft disabled Windows Update. This document is posted on https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4569557/windows-update-sha-1-based-endpoints-discontinued.

The document states that: “In compliance with the Microsoft Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA)-1 deprecation policy, Windows Update is discontinuing its SHA-1 based endpoints in late July 2020. This means that older Windows devices that have not updated to SHA-2 will no longer receive updates through Windows Update. Your older Windows devices can continue to use Windows Update by manually installing specific SHA-2 enabling updates.”.

We are damned!

Due to a security related change, Microsoft decided to kill Windows Update on clean installations. But hey, it seems like all you need to do is installing the “SHA-2 enabling update” and then you should be able to get Windows Update working again. Or maybe not?

If you continue reading the technical support page, it says that only Windows 7 and some versions of Windows Server can get a fix. Yes, you read that right! They litterally say that Windows Update on 2000, XP and Vista is BROKEN FOR GOOD. Boy did I not expect this!

What options do I have left?

As for now, no workaround is available. This means you can’t update Windows, unless you use special tools such as WSUS Offline Update (https://www.wsusoffline.net/). But even then, you’ll need to find an older version as the creators remove support for any versions of Windows which are no longer supported by Microsoft.

The other solution could rely in an unofficial fix (basically to get the “SHA-2 enabling update” modified to work with Vista and older versions of Windows. However, no such thing exists as of yet.

If someone makes an unofficial fix for this issue, I’ll update this page and add instructions how to install it. Given that Windows Server 2008 *does* have the fix available, it may be relatively easy for someone to port it to Vista. For XP and 2000 though, my guess is that it’s over for once and for good…

To summarize: Windows Update will keep giving errors on all versions of Windows older than Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 and the SHA-2 update already installed. Newer versions of Windows, such as Windows 8 and Windows 10, are unaffected. You are basically left out of luck with 2000, XP or Vista unless you use an older version of a tool such as WSUS offline update.

Finally: if you somehow do know how to get this issue fixed, feel free to share your information to me in a comment!

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