Windows update problem

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by MikeBCda, Jul 25, 2009.

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  1. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    I'm not sure whether this belongs more properly here or in Software & Services, so by all means feel free to move it if appropriate.

    All of a sudden I can't access Win Updates, either via the tool in IE-8 or with auto-updates turned on (notify-only), and haven't yet been able to get the July critical updates. If I use IE-8, there's the usual couple of redirects, but before I get to the "checking for version" screen I get "Done" with an almost blank screen showing just "<sc" near the top left. If I then look at the page source, it shows coding ending with the same "<sc", which looks suspiciously like the start of a script command which never finished loading. (Edit, forgot to add) I'd gotten this once in a blue moon in the past but had been able to successfuly update by trying again later.

    As for auto-updates, Process Explorer will occasionally show the updater as active, but I never get that "updates available" icon.

    I brought this up over at the avast forums, and a number of responders there felt the problem is that my 256MB memory is insufficient. But I'm not into streaming media or high-end games, and 256 has done me just fine up to now both online and off. (It's just one chip, by the way, so it's not a case of one or more chips in a bank having gone bad.)

    Any suggestions? As a sort of workaround in the meantime, is there a link to someplace which will show me all recent MS bulletins so I can try downloading from those without going through the "normal" Update process?
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2009
  2. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

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  3. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Thanks, Cudni. I'd had those addys included in trusted sites for ages.

    I went from there back to the support home page and found link to the page listing most recent bulletins. Unfortunately I found no way to view the contents of those bulletins, which used to include links to the actual patch installers, and the only mention of downloads was a link to the Update page.

    Admittedly I did this with FF, and I know that at one time (maybe it's still true) MS wouldn't let you access downloads except with IE, so I'll try again that way.

    As noted in my sig, firewall is PC Tools ver. 5.0.0.38. I used Comodo up until about two weeks ago (timing looks suspicious relative to the update problem, huh?) but ditched it because of the current furor about Comodo's alleged suppport of adware and maybe even malware distributors.
     
  4. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

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    if you disable the firewall does IE reach WU then?
     
  5. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Haven't tried that yet, obviously I'd be a little reluctant of course. But avast has a broad enough "spectrum" of protection these days that it should considerably cut the possible risks. Sure wouldn't want to try it with both firewall and a-v disabled.

    I just now finished downloading and installing what looks like the appropriate July stuff (took some hunting around MS, but their technet section does have the full bulletins including download links. Couldn't find the malicious removal tool, but that's probably not really necessary between the updates and my other protection.

    There's supposed to be some high priority off-schedule critical updates coming next week, so I'll give the no-firewall route a shot and see if that does the trick.

    Thanks and best.
     
  6. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

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    if it works without the firewall then look into the fw rules covering the browser
     
  7. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    MikeBCda, here's the Malicious Software Removal Tool. Wouldn't hurt to run it.
     
  8. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Just an update (and I see the mods did decide my flipped coin came up the wrong way, with regard to where I first posted). No luck with the firewall disabled -- about the only change this time was a totally blank page, without that "<sc" thing. There were a number of other suggestions on that page you directed me to, including trying without the a-v, but now that I found how to access the bulletins and downloads that's probably good enough, even if not as convenient as using Update.

    If anyone else happens to wind up in the same situation, current (and not so current) bulletins are at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/current.aspx . I find it's handy to select all products and within past month when searching. Oh, and thanks for that other addy, JRV.

    Oh, totally forgot one other point of interest in all this -- never got any error messages of any kind when trying the "normal" way.
     
  9. Franklin

    Franklin Registered Member

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    Wonder if Dial-A-Fix could help?
    http://djlizard.net/category/dial-a-fix/
     
  10. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    Windows Update Repair Tool might help, but it hasn't been modified since IE8 was released. You could also try AutoPatcher or Offline Update.
     
  11. moorejack

    moorejack Registered Member

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    HI - I once had the same problem after reinstalling my operating system. I entered two websites into my Trusted Sites List, and it solved the problem. http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com and http://update.microsoft.com. (I have IE8 and just updated normally this morning. Firefox wouldn't do it for me. )
     
  12. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Thanks, moorejack, I'd forgotten to mention that I've had those two included in trusted sites for ages.

    I do know that I need to access Update with IE, because it uses active-x features, but MS will quite happily let me download the patch-installers via the bulletins in technet with Firefox (miserably slow speed, though, typically 5-6 KB/sec. even with an accelerator).
     
  13. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    MikeBCda, have you tried using the FF add-on IE Tab to possibly speed up the downloads from MS?
     
  14. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Haven't yet tried that, JRV, although I've certainly heard of it ... Update's the only thing I use IE for. Can't remember if I mentioned it here, but MS does let me use FF plus Free Download Manager for downloading patches via their bulletins. Also permits restarts so I can use multiple sections, but even with 8 sections going I'm typically getting <10 KB/sec as compared with >200 elsewhere.

    If I remember correctly, MS used to totally block their downloads if you tried with any other browser -- maybe they've switched to some kind of throttling in such a case these days? What the heck, I'll give IE Tab a try for the August stuff and see if that helps, can't be a big deal to take it back out if no real improvement.
     
  15. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Update again ... I installed the IE Tab thing and, just for the heck of it, tried again. Still couldn't access MS Updates (blank page when done), so tried that IE-8 patch again via the bulletins. Reported speed with FDM jumped all over the place, primarily because several times there was a delay when no data at all was coming in, but completed the 9195 KB in about 3.5 minutes which I worked out to an average of about 43 KB/sec.

    Now that I think about it, that slower speed I'd reported (6-7 KB/s) was when I cancelled FDM and used FF's own downloader, which has no provision to resume. So I was probably getting about the same average speed without IE Tab, and got no apparent benefit from that at all.

    So I'll stick to the bulletins -- I know when patch Tuesday is, of course, and anything off-schedule like this one gets plenty of publicity. Thanks anyway.
     
  16. yeow

    yeow Registered Member

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    did u disable some windows services? if u did, i suspect it could be related to that.
     
  17. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    Well, it was worth a try. MikeBCda, you're welcome! Take care.
     
  18. the Tester

    the Tester Registered Member

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    MikeBCda,
    I read that you had activated automatic updates service. Do you have Background Intelligence Transfer Service running also?
    That's the other service that I have to activate to get updates.
    Just a thought.....
     
  19. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Tester, let me get back to you on that. I just looked in Services and found that BITS was set to manual-start and was not currently running. I'd thought that (in XP, anyway) "automatic" meant it loaded at boot and "manual" meant it was loaded only when needed.

    So I've started it and changed its startup to automatic, and will see what that does.

    @ yeow - Sure, like anyone else who's security conscious I've disabled several Win services following guidelines here and elsewhere, either for security reasons or because I can't see ever using them. The ones I've specifically disabled are:
    Alerter
    Clipbook
    Indexing Service
    Messenger
    Net Meeting Remote
    Network DDE & DDE DSDM

    If there's anything in that list I shouldn't have disabled, particularly for use by Update, by all means let me know, thanks.
     
  20. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    No luck with BITS, Update gave me that same almost-blank page ("<scr" is back) again. I'll leave it on auto-start just in case Update isn't triggering it with the manual-start setting.
     
  21. yeow

    yeow Registered Member

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    Hi MikeBCda,

    I don't really know which disabled service(s) was the cause, but when I changed ALL back to defaults according to Blackviper's list, windows update was fast & speedy again (after a reboot).

    I do manual win updates. The just recent problem was that it was taking forever just to get to the Express or Custom update page. Either stuck very long at "checking if you have lastest...", or sometimes just a white blank page with "done" at status bar. Even navigating between Software Updates, Hardware Updates, Install Updates frequently stalls. Now it's just takes seconds to the Express or Custom page - even when I again changed some services back to Manual/Disabled like Indexing Service, and some others.

    Problem PC is PhenomII 3.25gb ram usable. No problem with other computers including old Duron & Celeron ones with just 256mb ram.
     
  22. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Thanks, yeow. Sounds like exactly the same problem I have, except I can't even get as far as the "checking version" screen since upgrading from IE-7 to -8. Might be just a freak coincidence of timing, of course, but considering that IE-8 is known to have a number of problems, I can't help but wonder if there's a connection.

    I'll try re-enabling those last two (Network DDE) -- I can't believe any of the others are involved (of course, who knows with MS?), plus several are known security risks.
     
  23. yeow

    yeow Registered Member

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    You can also try "Reset Internet Explorer settings" under IE8 advanced tab. It did help a weeeee bit in my case, but not by much.

    All my PCs run IE8, but only on the problem PC was I very liberal in changing/disabling more than a few services. I did try to selectively re-enable those services I thought were more likely, but got nowhere. Resetting ALL to defaults according to BV's list (and reboot) was faster.

    Wrt security risk, don't think there's much to be concerned if you're up-to-date (or nearly). And also you'll only be connecting to Windows Update site for that instance, if you're concerned.

    Rgds.
     
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