Reinstalled the OS on a tower running XP Media Center. After installing the ethernet driver I clicked on Windows Update. It always aborts with the above code, and I can't use Microsoft Assisted Support (the Fix-It tool) since I don't have SP3 on the PC (which is of course one of the things I'm trying to do by running Windows Update - a bit of a Catch-22 scenario if you ask me). The MS webpage with the stand-alone SP3 download indicates in bold letters that it should not be downloaded for just one PC, and suggests I use auto updates, which are already turned on but are not updating when I shut down the PC.
Scott H Bowman
Since your Windows Update is not working fine, I suggest you to download the full Windows XP Service Pack 3 installation package (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=24) and to install it manually by running the installation program as Administrator. After the installation completes, run again Windows Update.
If Windows Update fails again, try using the automatic troubleshooter that you can find at http://support.microsoft.com/mats/windows_update/en-us.
I always prefer to download the full installation package for a Service Pack and run it from my PC rather than waiting for it to be download and executed via Windows Update.
That's not a warning but a suggestion; anyway, in my opinion you've made the right choice.