After a second rollback, the only thing to do to get my computer up to date with security patches, and possibly identify the patch that caused the problem, was to apply updates manually. This isn't the simple process it was years ago, so to save time in the future, I've made this note of the procedure.
It's a pity that the more effort that MS puts into making Windows "easy to use", the difficulty of admin seems to go up exponentially.
- I download the patches to a directory of my own (so I know where they get put), then apply them one by one.
To download an update:
- Run Microsoft's Internet Explorer. (You have to do this, or their download won't work.)
- Search for the update reference and the word size corresponding to your version word size of Windows. For example, KB3161958 x64 for 64-bit, KB3161958 x86 for 32-bit.
- Rummage around until you find the one for your version of Windows. (You could try including that in the previous step, but it doesn't always work.)
- You should find yourself at a site with address looking like www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=nnnn
- Click Download and wait for the dialogue box to appear at the bottom.
- Change the 'Save' option to 'Save as' and put the download into the directory of your choice.
- If you have more updates to download, pause and try using Microsoft's own search. It may or may not work; if it returns no results, try again, or use the search engine of your choice.
To install one update:
- Stop the Windows Update service:
- Control panel - Administrative Tools - Services
- Find the one called Windows Update and click on Stop. If this succeeds, it will notify you. If it fails (and this might take a little while), it will also notify you. If it fails:
- Open Task Manager
- Under the Services tab and select the one with description Windows Update.
- Right-click and choose Go to Process.
- This should take you to the process under the Processes tab, where you can stop it manually.
- To run the update, open the .msu file you downloaded.
- After a brief period of "looking for updates", you should be taken to a normal dialogue for installing the single update.
- Unless you're sure you'll be able to install other individual updates, I'd recommend restarting. Otherwise, make sure you refresh (F5) the Services list and check Windows Update hasn't restarted, before repeating.