My old laptop (purchased from my old job when I left the University of Cape Town) is still sporting a pretty ancient copy of Windows XP and unfortunately thanks to the various policies and whatnot Commerce I.T. implements on their roll-out equipment, my particular version of Windows Automatic Update simply didn’t work any more.

Great if you don’t particularly like that “I need you to waste all your Internet cap on update downloads” notifications that seem to pop up all the time, but definitely not so great if you realize those updates are actually pretty damn critical when it comes to your online security!

Now not eager to delve into the bowels of my registry once again, I instead turned to the Internet to locate an application that could fix this particular problem for me… and came across the brilliant little DjLizard (Michael Cooke) creation called Dial-a-Fix.

Now according to the site, “Dial-a-fix is a collection of known fixes gleaned from Microsoft Knowledgebase articles, Microsoft MVPs, and other important support forums” and once you load up the simple .exe (no installation required), you will see that it has indeed been designed to repair problems encountered with SSL/Cryptography, Windows Update, Microsoft Installer and various miscellaneous shell problems. Fixing problems like my buggy Windows Update turned out to be as simple as clicking the main Windows Update checkbox and hitting GO!

Mousing over any of the checkboxes or buttons gives you a full list of what DLLs or services are going to be registered, restarted, etc. and in a nutshell, pretty much explains what Dial-a-Fix does: stops services, installs selected software, registers DLLs, restarts services, and removes several rogue policies.

In other words, a lifesaver application.

Oh, and it is designed to work on most 32-bit versions of Windows XP in case you are wondering.

Download the application and use at own risk here.

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