Windows Update site - IE "cannot display the webpage"

Hi all
I've been tinkering with a bunch of old laptops over the last month or two, getting them ready for some legacy applications (things that require hardware serial ports and so on). There's money in it for me and I enjoy it. XP is an appropriate fit for the hardware and software involved.

5 laptops now, one P3, two P4, one PM and one Turion, have all had XP Pro (with SP3) installed fresh off the disc. I've been using OEM media and the keys off the bottom of the laptops so it's all super easy, and legit on top of that. My strategy has been:
  • Build hardware
  • Install OS from disc
  • Install required drivers brought over from another machine by USB stick (e.g. ethernet, wifi)
  • Activate Windows
  • Turn on automatic updates and do all the updates it will fetch (e.g. high priority)
  • Once fully updated, open IE8, go to Windows Update site, and proceed with updates that Automatic Updates will not fetch (e.g. more drivers, optional updates)
Thing is, the latest one I built, completed last night, cannot go to the Windows Update website. IE8 says it "cannot display the webpage" which is typically a cert or other security-related issue. However, the Windows Update website at least does not initially load with HTTPS so I'm a bit confused.

I then booted up a couple of the others that are still hanging around, and which within the last few weeks DID successfully access the site, and none are able to go to it anymore.

This is not a "computer-specific" issue at this point; something changed with the certs or authentication server-side. Has anyone run into this and corrected it?

The common suggestions for when this has occurred in the past are not working. I'm thinking MS has (intentionally or otherwise) changed something that has made IE8 permanently unable to get to that site.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

download above and let it do the downloading of updates online and then install offline, and then try to get to microsoft updates

the last time I reinstalled xp pro was on a laptop just 2 weeks ago and had no problem connecting to microsoft updates, after I had installed the majority of updates with portable updates.
Thanks, I'll give it a shot.
However, can you please open IE8 and try to go to the Windows Update website? I suspect you'll get the same thing I'm getting.

As recent as a few days ago it worked. It stopped working within the last few days, I just can't pin down an exact date.

Worth noting, this laptop did receive ALL of its "high priority" updates via Automatic Updates successfully. There is no issue connecting to, downloading, or installing updates. The problem is that the website won't load in a browser.
I went right to it with no problems, I connected by going to all programs and at the top of the list is microsoft updates and I clicked on that. :)
Weird. I'll see if I can figure out what's needed here.
Have now confirmed 4 laptops cannot go to the Windows Update site anymore, when they successfully could up to at least 2 weeks ago. The 5th is unknown status as it's living in an environment with no internet access (but before it went there, it got fully updated via the website).

Not an issue for the ones that already got all the stuff they needed, but this obviously is an issue for any new installs going forward and this one that isn't finished yet.
Weird. I'll see if I can figure out what's needed here.
Have now confirmed 4 laptops cannot go to the Windows Update site anymore, when they successfully could up to at least 2 weeks ago. The 5th is unknown status as it's living in an environment with no internet access (but before it went there, it got fully updated via the website).

Not an issue for the ones that already got all the stuff they needed, but this obviously is an issue for any new installs going forward and this one that isn't finished yet.

I have exactly the same issue. I have a number of Windows XP Systems that were able to connect to the Windows Update page a couple of weeks ago ... but now they cannot and have the same symptoms described above. Nothing on the PCs has changed in the interim - I just get the "Internet Explorer is unable to connect to the webpage" when attempting to manually access the Windows Update page.

What's curious is that I have Automatic Updates set to "Notify but don't download" ... and am able to receive updates that way.

Windows XP SP3 with IE8
I have the same issue. I keep auto update "off" so that it doesn't bog down my system. I usually wait until the second "Wednesday" to manually look for updates. My OS has all of the updates, so I'm really only looking for updates for my Office Suite. Everything worked fine as of the "April" updates, but can't get through as of just a few minutes ago. I use the "start" menu and then the "Microsoft Update" hot button. It opens up IE-8, then searches to see if I have the "latest" update SW, then a panel comes up with a choice of "express or custom" search. (express is for just high priority and custom is for all). The search traveler starts going as it searches for any updates and "never" finishes. I let it run for 25 minutes yesterday (Wednesday) and it never came up with the page of updates available. By using the "custom" option, even if there were no high priority updates, it should show me that and all of the other updates that I've chosen never to install. Somethings up with MS for sure I feel.
well, I seem to be having a prob also, after reading DonP22's post, I went straight to the updates page, then it searched for 20 mins which it did not do before, then I went and made IE my default browser and froze my pc, once I fixed that I left it as default and went back to the website and svchost.exe took 99 % of my cpu for over 30 minutes while searching and I finally just stopped it and went back to firefox as my default and will test the update site next week to see if the problem still persists, if it does then I urge everyone to take an image of their pc for the next reinstall planned and/or use portable update (link above) and let it get all the downloads and save it to a flash drive as I have, and any updates that it did not download I manually downloaded them and saved them to portable updates cache folder. :)
I've been trying most every day to see if things change as to getting updates. As of just a few minutes ago, getting updates from MS is still not working. Is there anyone on this forum that has an "inside" contact at MS ?? We need to get some answers on this topic. MS won't "publicly" deal with anyone asking a question related in anyway to XP, even though they still are updating other SW that is running on XP machines. i.e. Office Suite. Sad situation for sure !!!
I have been trying , also. I just now posted a question in the MS forums, Hopefully I will get an answer other than to upgrade from xp. :)
@DonP22, unfortunately no, all I got from PA Bear was to upgrade from xp, that is the only advice he gives anyone on the ms forums for xp, I was hoping that I would get a better advisor but not to many people at ms are concerned with xp anymore.

I am going to check 2 other xp pc's tomorrow and see if the problem is there also I will post back my results

you can read the responses to my post at ms at the link above, I admit I got pretty frustrated at the response. :)
Thanks Elizabeth, looked in on link that you post.

Thought it quite disgusting of the guy to suggest your system had virus, and probably root kit, without having any evidence whatsoever.
yeah , me too, in my previous post I said I would check to other xp's, both have the new security patch installed.

the xp pro will get to updates and search and find any updates in less than 10 minutes, the xp home searched for an hour and never got off the search bar, I could not reach the website through the all programs link but could through a direct paste of the url to the address bar.

so I have one pro (mine) and one home (other) that can not get updates, I will have to see if I can figure this out :)
This is what I posted on another forum:

I can still use the Microsoft Updates page - that has not been blocked.
This forum does not allow me to post the link to the MS update site so I will do it as a puzzle
update microsoft com forwardslash microsoftupdate

To change to Microsoft updates from Windows Updates in WinXP either install Siverlight and at the end there is a checkbox to enable Microsoft Updates or visit the link above and install the ActiveX control
Thanks for the pointer about Microsoft Update, as opposed to old-school Windows Update. I don't have other MS products on these machines so I didn't even think of trying it.

If you go to the Microsoft Update page as Tovad suggests above (update dot microsoft dot com forwardslash microsoftupdate) and install the ActiveX control as it will prompt, you'll regain access to updates via the website.

It will force installation of the WGA Validation update, KB892130. I have as a matter of routine always excluded and hid this update on principle even on legitimately licensed systems. I do wonder if it being missing is part of the issue.

Be aware that the "Windows Update" Tools menu item in IE will still go to "IE cannot display the webpage". This surely has something to do with a certificate issue but at this point I can't be bothered to chase it any further. Make a Favorites toolbar shortcut to the URL given above and that'll do the job.

Now, that being said, I doubt MS is nuking the old updates for XP yet. If you didn't know, 2k and 98 updates are still on the site, but compared to XP it's a real monster of a task getting those two updated enough manually to be able to get to the updates site (paradoxical, really). Of course, I haven't tried either of them since the issue in this thread popped up for XP, so maybe 2k and 98 are both out of luck as well.

Important to note for anyone looking at this: XP is not a secure OS. XP is extremely vulnerable and it's a terrible idea to use it for anything other than disposable purposes. It doesn't receive new patches and hasn't for a long time now. My intent here was simply to regain access to the old updates that were available. It's also really handy for hardware drivers like weird off-brand PCMCIA WiFi cards, which typically use a common Broadcom chip internally but require a driver nobody has posted online since the links went dead in an example.
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Hmm...not quite. You can't install those updates if you don't have Office installed (I tried, it won't go, which makes sense since there's nothing to update).

Also the issue you described having in that thread is not the same issue I brought up in this thread. Based on your replies in the thread you linked, you were able to get to the Windows Update website, but once there, unable to check for updates and svchost was going crazy on the CPU. That's a more typical Windows Update failure.

The one in this thread that I was targetting is an inability to go to the updates site at all. The page won't load, the browser acts as if it can't access the internet (but it can, just not that one site).

It's almost certainly a certificate or other security protocol related incompatibility.