For nearly thirty six hours I have been attempting to reinstall my Windows XP Pro following advice I have gleaned from wherever and always hitting the buffers on Windows Update. You will not have seen me on here before (This is my first entry) and so I'll say Hi to you all. The good news is I have discovered how to do a proper XP Pro install and get Windows Update working as it should. And it will not take longer than about three hours from bare hard drive to fully functional and up to date XP.
Firstly I used a slipstreamed XP + SP3 nlite CD which I have used before. Consequence - no update. I tried this on two different machines with the same outcome. I then tried XP+SP2 (my original MS CD) with even dire consequence since I couldn't get on the Windows Update site come what may. I spent some time studying the MS website and going backwards and forwards between people who seem to have made it work.
And then I staggered upon three little standalone programs from Microsoft called WindowsXP-KB932823-V3-x86-ENU.exe, WindowsInstaller-KB893803-V2-x86.exe, and WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86.exe all on the MS site but perhaps not where you think they should be when Windows Update hangs (and believe me I have left it for hours with no result). Certainly MS do not point you to the right place with all those FIxit things doing bits but not the whole job. You need to download the three named files and save them on a USB drive or stick (they are small) before you start your install. Forget your slipstreamed SP3 and get your bog standard SP2 MS disk and install. Choose not to update Windows Automatically when asked. Once installed then get the drivers for mobo, usb, graphics, sound etc loaded and working. Make sure Windows is stable but shutting down and restarting a couple of times. Now install the three files from the USB drive or stick, they should confirm they are installed. Go to Windows Update and it'll work straight away by giving you all the updates (at speed) until SP3. Install SP3. At this stage you will need help from the WSUS Offline Update since the installation will still cause SP3 to hang. WSUS works very effectively when you choose to install IE8 and XP legacy (which is on the last tab) and will bring your machine up to early November 2013, but, better still you will, if you turn Windows to automatic updates, see that it works as well and at superspeed. Turn Windows Update off again until WSUS finishes installing. When WSUS has done turn Windows Update on and schedule the hour just after present time and watch as automatic updates fire away.
Now of course you could slipstream a disk with the three files on it at SP2 stage and then move to SP3 but you'll still need the help of WSUS to get Windows moving on updates again. WSUS is a little quaint to use but it downloads, verifies and installs fast in two separate stages. It also reboots automatically if you tell it to so you can leave it to do its business.
I hope this is an option some people will try, since you folk tried hard to help me and this is the best way I can repay. My XP has never sung sweeter so MS can go.......