Bad Windows advice

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. That would be because sites like are shit. Really shitty advice. While it is temping to follow some of the advice they list, be warned that there tends to never be a reflective diagnosis of what will happen as a result of this advice.

From the link:


I found a solution to my problem when Windows would search for updates, but then when it started downloading it would stay at 0% forever. I started by stopping the Windows Update service (in my case the service proved to be frozen so I restarted my computer and disabled the service before it starts) and the Application Experience service. After that I went to the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder and pressed ctrl+a and shift+delete to empty its contents. Mine contained more than 70,000 files so it took a while. I started Application Experience and enabled Windows Update. I let it check for updates and try to download them. It worked perfectly.

Do not worry about deleting important windows files in this case. The contents of SoftwareDistribution is used as a cache and data for Windows Update. When Windows Update starts again it rebuilds the cache repopulating it with up-to-date versions of the files and chewing up a ton of harddisk space again.

Many folks will be familiar with making sure to cross reference information to see the full scope of a change before applying it, but let me tell you what happens here in the quoted case:
Prior Windows Update history is removed. You will need to wait for a scan to re-check what is installed and give an accurate list of what updates are still needed. So you go from updating being stuck from installing, to the following error: “WSUS clients fail with WARNING: SyncServerUpdatesInternal failed: 0x80244010. Congratulations! A bad scenario got even worse. Thanks

Now enter the TechNet article. Luckily these are a bit more inflective than the answers site, because the TechNet article is more based on how something works, instead of someone blasting blind solutions and getting upvotes. Notice how this gives information on what happens when you go ahead and blast away “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution”. Short hand is, after a few queries, the machine *should* rebuild the installed updates then be able to install the pending ones.

I wanted to share this rant as I have seen lots of people fall info the answers site trap. Especially when people give up but instead of saying ‘I don’t know why that is broken’, they return with ‘You need to reinstall the OS’. I’m guessing you could imagine that is not practical in many situations. Also full disclaimer, I may have fallen for seemingly innocuous advice late in the morning, that turns an issue into a full blown bad news scenario.

ServerFault / StackExchange is somewhat better than Answers, but they also have their fair share of really shitty advice. Hopefully this story and cross-reference helps you avoid some BS and maybe explain to some trigger-happy colleagues , why the 1st solution pitched online, may not be the best one. Also of course you have factoring in how you ask the question, quality of results and resolution. It might make me a bad person for saying so, but so be it. is a dangerous and shitty site.