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Can´t restore unlocked iPhone 4 on iTunes for Windows 7

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Pre-used iPhone 4. Got it from my sister, who unlocked it. (Still, the settings on the phone - Settings/General/Information- still mention the previous provider.)
I got a new microSIM card - different provider- and I´m finding several problems to restore it as a new phone on iTunes.
1) Can´t update iTunes:
My iTunes is set for automatic updates.  But it´s been a while that it no longer gets updated on its own. When trying manually - checking for updates- I get the following message: "the iTunes update server can not be contacted". My internet connection is fine. Re troubleshooting, i´ve modified the host file, refreshed DNS... still not working though.
2) Locked iPhone, enter passcode on phone. ?
When connecting iPhone to iTunes, either turned on or off, this message shows: "iTunes could not connect to the iPhone "name" because it is locked with a passcode. You must enter your passcode on the iPhone before it can be used with iTunes."
I do not know which password it is referring to.  There´s no 4digit security code to unlock it, I deactivated it.
What does it rmean? Where should I type what?
3) once step 2 is done, Restore as a new phone.
According to the steps that I am supposed to follow, iTunes should recognize my turned off iPhone as in "restoring mode" (turn off completely, connect usb to computer, press start button on iPhone while connecting the other end of the usb cable... Apple logo shows on a black screen. Open iTunes just then, and it´ll recognize the phone is in Restore mode). It is not happening. What should I do? Are my instructions even right?
Just in case it helps, I´m using Windows 7, iPhone 4, my previous provider is Orange - Europe- and the current one Vodafone. I have an iTunes account, my iTunes works perfectly when syncing my iPod touch - except for the updates-... Software on iPhone is updated - iOS 7.1.1- ...
Many thanks in advance!! :-)


Sorry, now the message has changed to "itunes cannot connect to the iphone "" - does not recognize my name-because an invalid response was received from the device"

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