Just to add to the list of AV's with which AAW9.6 exhibits this problem, I found that AAW8.3.5 wouldn't now update and, on checking, found that it was no longer supported so updated to v9.6. I then started getting the above problems with updates and was ready to tear my hair (what little is left!) out when I found this topic on the forum.
I am running XP SP3 with Zonealarm (Firewall + Identity protection; Free AV disabled) and Avira Free AV 2012 as well as Ad-Aware. I guess that this means that there is a conflict between Ad-Aware and Avira for resources??
Anyway, as the problem is known about, this is just for info.