There are a couple of reasons why you might have Apple Software Update on your Windows PC and one is because you have iTunes, QuickTime and other Apple software on the computer.
Download and install iTunes for example, and it bundles several applications and services that are all installed whether you want them or not.
Another reason for having Apple Software Update on your computer is if you run Windows on an Apple Mac. If you have used Boot Camp to install Windows on your MacBook of iMac then Apple Software Update is installed to keep the drivers and tools up to date.
Sometimes, for no apparent reason, Apple Software Update stops working for some people and it cannot access the update server.
It tells you to check your internet settings and to try again, but there is nothing wrong with the internet connection and every other internet app, like web browsers, email and so on, works perfectly. The fault is just with Apple Software Update.
I had this problem recently on a MacBook Pro with Windows 10 installed using Boot Camp. It has been working fine for months and then one day when I tried checking for updates it reported that the update server could not be found.
There isn’t a single solution to this problem and you will just have to try everything below and see if any of it makes a difference.
Check the Hosts file
A file called hosts in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc can be used to block access to certain sites and online services, or to redirect them. You should check that it hasn’t been modified.
Open it in Notepad or other plain text editor. One way to do this is to double click the hosts file. Windows will report that no program is associated with it, but then you have an opportunity to select the program to choose. Select Notepad.
You can also run Notepad and use File, Open, but click where it says Text documents (.txt) and select All Files (.*) or you won’t see hosts.
The default for the hosts file is to do nothing. Every line in the file starts with a # and this is used to indicate a comment that is to be ignored. Here is an example:
# localhost name resolution is handled within DNS itself. # 127.0.0.1 localhost
Those lines are comments because they start with a #. Any lines that don’t start will a # are suspect. Sometimes malware adds lines to redirect you to websites containing more malware, sometimes security software adds lines to stop you going to websites with malware. If you don’t know what a line does, put a # at the start so it is ignored.
My hosts file was fine, so this did not help at all, but it is worth checking.
Disable the firewall
A firewall is a security program that monitors incoming and outgoing network and internet activity. It can be set to block programs or access to websites and services. It should not block Apple Software Update, but it is worth turning off the firewall and seeing if it makes a difference.
Click Start (Windows 7) or right click Start (Windows 8, 10) and select Control Panel. Set the view to small icons in the upper right corner, and click Windows Firewall. On the left, click Turn Windows Firewall on or off. Select Turn off Windows Firewall for both private and public network settings.
Some security software has a built in firewall that replaces Windows Firewall. Check that the firewall is off in the security software. Every security program is different, so you’ll have to work this out yourself.
Disabling the firewall did not help in my case and Apple Software Update still refused to work.
Uninstall security software
The security software on the computer could be interfering with Apple Software Update. Usually there is an option to turn it off. At the right side of the taskbar is a little up arrow (^). Click it, right click the security software icon and often there is a menu with an option to disable the security. Try it.
It did not help in my case, so I uninstalled the security software completely using Programs and Features in the Control Panel. That made no difference either. Still, it was worth trying and it has helped some people.
If you don’t have iTunes on the computer, go to the iTunes download page and grab a copy. Double click it in the downloads folder to install it. Some people have found that installing iTunes for older video cards solves the Apple Software Update problem. This is an alternative version that is more compatible with older hardware.
If you already have iTunes on the computer, it would be a good idea to remove it. This is not as simple as you think and you should use the instructions on the Apple Support page. Reboot the PC and then download and install a fresh copy of iTunes.
Uninstalling iTunes does not remove your music, just the software, so when you reinstall it your music is still there.
This did not help in my case, but some people have found that it solves the Apple Software Update problem.
Restore an older version of Apple Software Update
It has helped some people to revert to an older version of Apple Software Update, but how do you do this?
What I did was to go to the Control Panel and uninstall Apple Software Update using Programs and features. As I was running Boot Camp on my Mac I downloaded the Boot Camp Support Software.
After extracting the files from the zip archive, go to the BootCamp/Drivers/Apple folder and run AppleSoftwareUpdate.msi. It installed an older version of Apple Software Update.
Once again, this did not help and Apple Software Update did not work.
However, when I booted Windows the next day Apple Software Update was fine. It now works and it offers the latest version of the software. There is a saying, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, so I might just stick with this older version of the program.
I don’t know which of these fixes actually fixed the problem. Maybe it would have fixed itself and started working the next day anyway. Who knows. At least it is now working.