Great title mate, describes the problem really well. Since I've started typing anyway can I ask if you've tried a manual update? Perhaps your computer is only set to try the update at a particular time.
i tried manual update the other day and it found SP3, but it wouldn't download, so i left it. been trying like a demon to manually update it again, but the server must be down? it just keeps scanning and scanning and then gives up.
and so it goes on... i thought, ok, time for SP3 but my microsoft auto update had already done it..some time ago.. and told me so when i manually checked the update website and the auto check program looked at my update status..
ste76 It is not a bad idea to have the full SP3 tucked away on a disk in case you ever need to reformat and start again from SP2 and I am sure that it will appear on some magazine/CD covermounts as soon as they are certain that it is the final approved version which they are distributing. In the short term I do believe that it is preferable to let the MS update site analyze your system and download only what you require.