Vista Home 32 - popup balloon tells me there are updates available, click on it and get the windows update window ...with the "check for updates" option greyed out. Checked my list of installed updates and found the few most recent installed successfully, then a string of dozens failed. (The only succesfull installs since mid January are for Defender.) Checked the error codes of the failed installs on the MS site, most solutions involved making sure certain services were running (they all were). Spent a futile evening stumbling around that quagmire of MS tech help, no matter what thread I followed I eventually ended up at the same page - which merely told me "to download updates use the Start button>All Programs>Windows Update". Well, I do not have an "All Programs" option; there is the normal Programs option, but there is no Windows Update in it.
So I went to the oldest failed install, tracked it back to MS, d/l'd and installed it manually (successfully); same for the next three or four failed installs. I decided to restart at that point, then see what I had. Start>Shutdown, now I had an option to "install updates and shut down". Success! or so I thought. In a few seconds I had the shut down window with "Installing 1 of 60 updates. Do not power off or unplug the computer." A couple of minutes later it was up to "...5 of 60..."; an hour later, still "...5 of 60..."; another hour and "...5 of 60...". Well, maybe this is a large file; I went to bed. Seven hours later and ...you guessed it - "Installing 5 of 60 updates....". Nine hours and it still hasn't installed this blasted update?! I turned off the computer and turned it back on, went to CP>Windows Update and found the updates I had installed manually (and received a successful message on each) were now again shown as failed, just with a newer date. And the "check for updates" option is still greyed out. Another couple of hours wasted at the MS site; if I understood half the technobabble and tortuous instructions I found there I wouldn't need to be there. (And I'll not waste my time on MS tech help; they'll just tell me (all together now) "first, you need to reinstall windows". I'll buy a new system before doing that.)
So, just what the profanity is going on here?