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wuauclt.exe problems

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,971
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Registered: 01-08-2007

wuauclt.exe problems

Hi, wondered if you guys could offer any help....  My parents XP desktop has suddenly started giving this error popup wuauclt.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. This comes up multiple times no matter how many time you click the DONT REPORT or REPORT TO MICROSOFT box.  Its only started since they came back from a month in china, and my father clicked on a box telling him windows needed to be updated... 
As far as I can see wuauclt.exe is part of the windows update process.  I have tried everything I can think of, disabling automatic updates, disabling the services associated with it, renaming the files in the SYSTEM32 folder as .OLD,  and also followed instructions on the net I have found to no avail.  Trying to reinstall the windows update engine does not work, as it just tells me its already updated. The last cure from the net I tried seemed to cure it for 10mins, but after this the popup kept coming back.
Tried going to the Windows update site, but this also does not work, it just hangs.  For some reason I have a nagging feeling this may be malware, but not sure.  I am feeling I may be resigned to a repair install of Windows, if its not, but would welcome any advice on different approachs I could take...
13 REPLIES
CX
Grafter
Posts: 745
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: wuauclt.exe problems

China has a reputation for widespread Windows XP piracy, going so far as running their own fake "Windows Update" servers. Perhaps this system has "updated" itself and now looks for these Chinese servers, rather than the Microsoft ones.
Personally, I'd start by a full virus-scan, offline from a bootable CD. Somethign like this:
http://www.avira.com/en/download/product/avira-antivir-rescue-system/product/avira-antivir-rescue-sy...
Infinity
Seasoned Pro
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Registered: 19-06-2011

Re: wuauclt.exe problems

Google shows About 1,300,000 results

Wuauclt.exe is the Windows Update Autoupdate Client.
It is a background process that periodically checks with Microsoft's servers for updates to the operating system and drivers.



Community Veteran
Posts: 4,846
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Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: wuauclt.exe problems

You could try this: http://wiki.lunarsoft.net/wiki/Dial-a-fix or this http://support.microsoft.com/mats/windows_update/
But check for malware first.  I have come across infected computers where a whole slew of Windows services have been disabled so that Windows Update fails, along with other symptoms.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,971
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: wuauclt.exe problems

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I am going back this aft, to run a malware scan, and if dosnt show anything will try the solutions RR suggested. Didnt come accross these on my googleing.... Should i run the malware scan under safe mode?
Superuser
Superuser
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: wuauclt.exe problems

Not seen a wuauclt.exe problem on a standalone PC, but it can be a problem in a server environment using WSUS.
You could take a look at  C:\windows\windowsupdate.log and see if that gives any clues?    Note it is very verbose log with about 50 lines of entry per update attempt.
I'd also suspect some malware activity.
Maurice
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Re: wuauclt.exe problems

No luck.. malwarebytes didnt find anything, and everything i tried met with failure... I even found a M$ page that gave detailed instructions on fixing the issue, but the folder renaming failed, as they were in use, and reregistering some dll files also failed. I did notice doing this though, i could stop the BITS serice fine, but the WUAUSERV serive would not stop... Also the windows firewall takes ages to start. Looking at the serviced the autoupdate service seems stuck at starting, which is why i suppose i cant stop it, and some folder renaming fails... Any other suggestions.....
M$ fix it tool, tried to fix it, but said it couldnt complete repairs
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,846
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Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: wuauclt.exe problems

I would say that you have tired all reasonable measures short of doing a Repair Re-Install.
After a repair re-install I sometimes find it necessary to boot to Safe Mode with Command Prompt and execute the following command:
rundll32.exe syssetup,SetupOobeBnk
to give myself 30 days to re-activate Windows.  Then (re-)install Internet Explorer 8.  Then activate Windows. 
Otherwise you can find yourself in a loop where activation fails/stalls but you are not allowed to start Windows because it needs activating!  This problem is some unfortunate side-effect of reverting to Internet Explorer 6 as a consequence of the re-install. 

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,971
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: wuauclt.exe problems

Thanks rr, i agree. At this point is probably more trouble than its worth, constantly renaming files as OLD etc. Glad i read that you need to revert back to ie6 before repairing. Another faff from M$.... I will back up important docs first, i luckily have a 512gb memory stick to use (3 quid in china Crazy ).  Hopefully its not a virus or trogen ive not found, although i do have a paragon image of the system in worst case scenario, from when i built it, so a reinstall shoulnt take that long if i have to do it, just updates and docs imports.
Superuser
Superuser
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Re: wuauclt.exe problems

Quote from: MauriceC

You could take a look at   C:\windows\windowsupdate.log and see if that gives any clues?     Note it is very verbose log with about 50 lines of entry per update attempt.

What does the Log file show?  It's a good record of what autoupdate is doing?
Maurice
Community Veteran
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Re: wuauclt.exe problems

Quote

What does the Log file show? 

Im going to the parent house tomorrow, so I will pull, the logfiles.  Would you mind if I posted them up, if I am confused, or at least a snippit, if they are long, as you suggested?Huh
I have some prep work to do, before I go for a repair install, as I will be backing up their important stuff just in case.  the repair shouldnt affect these, but I have been burned before......
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 3,082
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: wuauclt.exe problems

The last complete set of logfile entries should provide a good insight into what it believes is happening, so post that snippet.  Check the timestamp for relevant entries over a single 2 - 3 minute interval.
Maurice
PS  Not available until tomorrow evening.. 
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,846
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Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: wuauclt.exe problems

I beg to differ.  The Windows Update Log can be informative about failures for specific updates but I doubt it will provide insight into a complete failure of the system.  If you want to look at logs then the Event Log might be more revealing.  
Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: wuauclt.exe problems

Sucess!!. Fixed it  Cheesy.  Went to get the logfiles and backup the system this aft, and it suddenly dawned on me, that i hadnt tried one thing... Whilst i had tried to fix the windows update componants after a clean boot, using msconfig, autoupdates was still stuck at starting, and folders could not be renamed, i ran a clean boot in safe mode.  This allowed me to rename the folders, and correctly reregister the update dlls and security descriptors. Rebootef normally and problem fixed. Ran windows update, and although it took an age to find 10  updates, it all appears fine. Thanks for all the support.
I have the logs if you are interested maurice..