Friday, December 15, 2017

@*($&%#! Computers! - Part 3 - Windows Update Problems Again

I thought I had some sort of "stupid @*$&%#! Computers!" post within the last year, but I guess I've gotten off easily. Part 2 was in October of '16.

I have one of those little problems that ends up being an expanding PITA.  I have a cheap dial indicator, 0-1" in .001 increments, 10 rotations.  Mine doesn't have a brand name on it, but it looks more or less like this one.  Some time ago, I noticed that only one of the tiny screws holding the back on was there, and I took it off the bench before the last screw went to a parallel universe.  I went through every small screw I have and nothing fits. 

I want to put it back together.  Trying to get accurate measurements on a screw that measures across the threads at .076" and is .150 long is difficult for me, even under magnification.  Then I remembered we have a USB microscope that I got some time ago.  I could measure the pitch by counting thread turns under the microscope.  I'll just plug it in right here...

And it won't work on my computer.  Go to Windows Update and get the latest driver version.  Then I find Windows Update isn't working.  So the troubleshooting begins.  Microsoft has a support page for troubleshooting failures in Windows Update.  It had me type about 80 lines of commands into a Command (DOS) window and I found about 15 .dll files that are bad or missing.

So since I need Windows update running more than the microscope itself, I need to go troubleshoot that.

Then I can get back to the problem that started this cascade.  Measuring across the peaks of the thread, the screw looks really close to the M2x0.25, but the pitch is wrong.  By the pitch it looks more like a #1-72.  Neither of those are common screws that I could just find locally and try. 


  1. Yeah, I just got the wife's PC from Long Beach running again, and I noticed WU wasn't working. It's running Win 7 Pro, so I'll have to dig a bit.

    And the wife's friend from Kalifornia who moved here several months before we did dropped off her PC. Seems a Windows Update on her Win 10 system totally blew away her desktop. I remember seeing this posted on the Flex radio reflector, so it's sort of a known problem.

  2. I have ordered such odd screws through Grainger, in West Melbourne. Usually, it is only 3-4 days for them to come in.

  3. Correct me if I am wrong, but when Microsoft first marketed Windows, wasn't the very next software they sold called "First Aid for Windows"?

    I don't recall this, either: was First Aid for Windows free, or did you folks have to pay to fix the bugs MS left in Windows before they released it?

  4. Sometimes our mindset is non productive- especially if you did not grow up with lots of money around- use it up , wear it out, don't throw nothin' away....etc. it gets really bad if one is a perfectionist...

    By the time you buy the screws, and pay the postage, it will be cheaper to just buy a new indicator.

    Here is a weird tip. everybody has a "hell box", filled with all the left over machine screws from a lifetime of fiddling around with stuff. A great source of tiny screws is in obsolete electronic equipment, like hard drives etc. I take them apart, save the screws and chuck the rest. A old pellet tin makes a good warehouse for them and makes them easy to find in the box of doom. Plus you get to see what a fabulous mirror a hard drive is, and speculate on the fact some little nation in south Asia can build such incredibly fine stuff.
    Recently I ran into a similar situation, looking for a screw to hold on a plastic cover for something- after about 20 minutes I realized the next stop was Western State Hospital and took a wrap or two of strapping tape and called it good. Perfect is the enemy of satisfactory.
    I bet you could cut off a brad, push it in with a drop of loctite and it would stay forever.

    1. This ends up being the winner. I found I had a dead 10 Gig HD (from Y2K?) stuck on a shelf. The first 3 screws I took out fit the indicator. Then it had more screws that were useful.

  5. Most recent automatic Windows 10 update corrupted my MS Outlook system to the point of No eMail access (or ability to send or receive) $50 Labor in getting a "work around" finally got the problem solved.

  6. can't help with Windoze but this might help with looking a the screws:

  7. What Raven said about perfect being the enemy of satisfactory.
    A couple of years ago I was tightening the mounting screws on one of the kitchen ceiling fan blades and I thought the threads needed a bit of chasing.
    the screw was big enough to easily count the pitch, and to measure.
    At the end of checking to find out what standard thread it was I finally realized that the fan manufacturer had chosen to make a thread size that was only for this single fan and existed nowhere else on the planet.
    Also like Raven I stopped before I needed to be fitted with a very long sleeved overcoat.
    Sometimes I can rethread the hole to fit the fastener I found in the shoebox of fasteners.

  8. You could always just drill the sucker out and stuff in a helicoil:

    You might even be able to get your CNC mill in on the action...

  9. You can always tell when a company has become too vertically integrated when they start designing their own screws.

  10. A little update: for the main issue, I found the problem with Windoze apparently seems to have been that something turned off the update service. There's a "services.msc" program you access in the "Run" box, and it showed the Update Service being stopped. I hit "start" and it started. Downloaded a couple of updates and everything appears happy.

    I got suspicious when I was looking on Microsoft's website about "make sure you have the latest version of Windows Update" and the version it showed was way behind what I'm using.

    Reg, I think "Windows First Aid" was another company. That was back in the days when you had to reinstall Windows every other month.

    On the screws, I went through the junk boxes in the shop, and I really bracket theses screws: too big or too small. Same with a few boxes in the house. I also came to the realization that since a replacement indicator will cost me $10.50 and getting a handful of screws will cost about the same, I've been thinking about either tapping it for 2-56 (closest size bigger that I have hardware) or just getting another indicator. Maybe a version of the joke about the guy outside the "insane asylum" who has a flat and looses all his lug nuts. A patient tells him "take one nut off the other three wheels and it should get you to a garage". In my case, if the screws are the same size, I could take one out of the two other indicators I have and leave all three with three screws.

  11. I had an issue with my wife's machine when I put the 8 core CPU in it, that was along the same lines. I used the Convenience Rollup Update from M$ to update and fix it all at once. I'm not sure of your OS, but I'm sure they have it for 10 as well.


  12. I must be living in paradise... My local ACE hardware has a small cabinet marked "gun screws" with all those fiddly small screws in it. 1-72 isn't all that rare.