I have a problem with my auto win dows updater for IE8 on windows xp sp2- (home edition), it fails to update manually and automatically? an error code appears as DC800042, what does this mean? can the problem be resolved for free? if so how?

Is this a Blue Screen Error? Could we have as much error text as possible please?

This could be caused by many things; viruses, corrupt system files, illegal copy of xp, bad product key. Try making a backup of everything, then reinstall xp, maaking sure that you activate it straight away, and that the product key is typed in right. Then ONLY use automatic update, and make sure all updates are installed. Then you can use manual update.
Hope this helps!

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Your version of Windows is original? About one year ago i have similar problem with a Windows without license. Microsoft can detect if your windows is original and can block the update or can send you a "little" virus in exchange.