Windows Update Error services not running

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 9, 2008
Updated • Jan 6, 2013
Windows, Windows Updates, Windows XP

I read today that Windows Update would not work with the beta version of Internet Explorer 8. I did want to check it out for myself before writing about it and went to the Windows Update website which greeted me with the error message "The site cannot continue because one or more of these Windows services is not running", Error number: 0x8DDD0018. The services mentioned were Automatic Updates, Event Log and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS).

I started services.msc and set all three services to manual that I could start them afterwards. I refreshed the Windows Update website but received the same error message that one or more of the services were not running. I double checked and all three were running.

After reading the error description more carefully I discovered that it was not sufficient to just have the service running. No, it was necessary that two of the services, Automatic Updates and Background Intelligent Transfer Service, had to be set to automatic.

Once I did that the error message went away and I was able to update Windows XP using Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1. Yes, that did work which is why I'm writing this article instead. If you run into troubles with services and Windows Updates make sure the two services I mentioned are set to Automatic.

Update: Windows Update can't be accessed via the web browser anymore in newer versions of the operating system. You can either load it directly from the operating system to open it up as a control panel applet, or download patches manually from Microsoft's download center.

If you have configured automatic updates it is important that the Background Intelligent Transfer service and the Windows Update service are set to automatic for the updating to work automatically.


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  1. Suresh said on April 24, 2014 at 9:51 am

    My BITS service is set to automatic and is running,
    Windows UPdate is also set to Automatic and is RUnning.

    Still I get the message WIndows Update service is not running.

    I am bugged with this problem.
    Any other tips to come out of it pls……….

  2. trev said on July 3, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I had the service not started problem after installing a new 1TB HD, then I remembered I changed the SATA BIOS setting from achi to IDE as it would not install Windows on the new HD (to do with sector size or something!) and after installing SP1 I changed the BIOS setting back (as with SP1 it is not supposed to be an issue!)
    Later I tried to run Windows update and had the same error about the service, so I rebooted, changing the BIOS setting back to IDE and Windows update works

  3. touchfrench said on October 2, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Thank you,

    that works great!

    It saved me a lot of time.

  4. Thank you said on November 24, 2011 at 7:10 am

    After spending 2 hrs. online with a support person, who was actually quite good, I found this article. The problem was resolved just as the article said. Thank you so much.

  5. Bryant said on September 9, 2011 at 4:17 am

    It worked!! Now if I can stop beating my head against the wall after finding how simple it was. Reading is fundamental.

    Thank you.

  6. Pravesh Hajela said on July 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Hey ….I am facing a Problem in Windows service….My Windows service runs only Once when just started.And time interval is not working over there.Pls Reply its Urgent.

  7. BW said on March 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Looked all over for this fix -had me stumped for days.

    Thanks you!

  8. Eitan said on November 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    thank you VERY MUCH !
    that stupid error drove me crazy…..
    BIG THANKS martin :)

  9. Cognivore said on September 26, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    W00t! Good solution. Deservedly appears first in the Google search for the error.

  10. picbuck said on August 14, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    You solved the problem for me. Thanks!

  11. Gagan Vithal said on June 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks.. it worked for me.

  12. Gora-buddu said on April 28, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Works great! Respect to the author disclosing it and saving me from wasting time of fighting with that stupid IE! Microsoft, trush IE and save the planet!

  13. Joan said on July 6, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Dear experts,
    I am facing a problem after my computer having virus and it seems that everything is not working well…most important is:
    When I click on “Control Pannel->Administrative tools->Services”, system will prompt me to choose program to run from list…which most likely the service.msc is corrupted…

    Most of the programs in the administrative tools will ask me to choose prgram to run…

    Can anyone advise how I can restore back my administrative tools?

    Thank you.

  14. EJ said on March 16, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Switching ‘Automatic Updates’ from Manual to Automatic fixed the problem for me (on Windows Server 2003), but I didn’t need to change BITS from manual to auto.

  15. Clark said on February 26, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks!! This has been driving me crazy for a while but your solution worked!

  16. Borg said on December 14, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Yeah you is right bro it detects if all 3 services are set to auto.Not just started.But the funny part is BITS doesn’t even come default auto with XPPRO SP2.Its set to manual.Therefore MS Update wont work with default Pro SP2 settings.

  17. Anonator said on December 10, 2008 at 4:25 am

    Thanks. Worked like a charm and saved me with wasting my time with support. btw microsoft support is free for update related issues.

  18. phillip said on October 16, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Donavan says: I did the but when i went to AUTOMATIC UPDATES and changed it AUTOMATIC, it keeps changing itself back to DISABLED!!!

    This is very frustating cuz i can’t get any updates!! If anody can help, please do!!

    Same problem here e-mail me if you know what to do please: [email protected]


  19. Donavan said on October 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I did the but when i went to AUTOMATIC UPDATES and changed it AUTOMATIC, it keeps changing itself back to DISABLED!!!

    This is very frustating cuz i can’t get any updates!! If anody can help, please do!!

  20. Seth said on October 9, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Thanks. Why they need to be set to automatic is beyond me, but after trying numerous lengthy fixes, this worked. Whole lot of wasted effort with such an easy solution to shifty coding.

  21. Albert James Cornejo said on September 21, 2008 at 3:49 am

    Please help me. ive done everything from what martin.s posted. when i set the start up type to automatic and then start the service status, this error message pop up — Could not start the Automatic Updates service on Local Computer.
    Error 1058: The service cannot be started, either because its disabled or because it has no enabled devices associated with it. — and ive already set the automatic update to automatic at the control panel.

    and also this message appears when i press start service.


  22. Steven said on September 19, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Well what do you know, it worked like a charm! Thanks dude!

  23. faridrid said on July 29, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    thank you
    you just solve my big problem it took me 2 days until i fund you solution.
    God bless you

  24. JamesR said on July 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Margie, change the Automatic Updates and the Background Intelligent Transfer Service startup type to automatic (as per Martin.s original post). Mine where running but configured to manual. I had the same problem on a Windows 2003 Server and it solved it.

  25. Margie said on July 19, 2008 at 8:46 am

    I have been trying to solve the same problem these last few day and none of the solutions I have found worked.
    My problem is, it says automatic updates are not enabled, but when I go check in the control panel, it says it is on. And all the other things it says to run automatic are on!
    I wish I could find the solution

  26. Eyad Salah said on June 7, 2008 at 11:45 am

    This is a great solution, I’ve tried many workarounds but yours is the only one that worked.. Thanks

  27. Chris W said on October 19, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Hiya Martin,


    Your solution worked for me.

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