Update prevents XP Repair

posted in Internet, Software |

repair.pngA silent update that Microsoft deployed widely in July and August is preventing the repair feature of Windows XP from completing successfully.

Ever since the Redmond company’s recent download of new support files for Windows Update, users of XP’s repair function have been unable to install the latest 80 patches from Microsoft.

Accounts of conflicts with XP’s repair option came to our attention after Microsoft’s “silent install” of Windows Update (WU) executable files, known as version 7.0.600.381, was reported in the Sept. 13 and 20 issues of the Windows Secrets Newsletter.

The trouble occurs when users reinstall XP’s system files using the repair capability found on genuine XP CD-ROMs. The repair option, which is typically employed when XP for some reason becomes unbootable, rolls many aspects of XP back to a pristine state. It wipes out many updates and patches and sets Internet Explorer back to the version that originally shipped with the operating system.

Normally, users who repair XP can easily download and install the latest patches, using the Automatic Updates control panel or navigating directly to Microsoft’s Windows Update site.

However, after using the repair option from an XP CD-ROM, Windows Update now downloads and installs the new 7.0.600.381 executable files. Some WU executables aren’t registered with the operating system, preventing Windows Update from working as intended. This, in turn, prevents Microsoft’s 80 latest patches from installing – even if the patches successfully downloaded to the PC.

Most ordinary Windows users might never attempt a repair install, but the problem will affect many administrators who must repair Windows frequently. Anyone who runs XP’s repair function will find that isolating the cause of the failed updates is not a simple matter.

Beginning in July, it is not possible for Windows users to install updates without first receiving the 7.0.6000.381 version of nine Windows Update support files. If Automatic Updates is turned on, the .381 update will be installed automatically. If AU is not turned on, you’ll be prompted to let Windows Update upgrade itself before you can installing any other updates. Consequently, users are forced to get the silent update before they can attempt to install Microsoft’s latest security patches.

The problem apparently arises because seven of the DLLs (dynamic link library files) used by WU fail to be registered with Windows. If files of the same name had previously been registered – as happened when Windows Update upgraded itself in the past – the new DLL files are registered, too, and no problem occurs. On a “repaired” copy of XP, however, no such registration has occurred, and failing to register the new DLLs costs Windows Update the ability to install any patches.

Registering DLL files is normally the role of an installer program. Unlike previous upgrades to WU, however, Microsoft has published no link to an installer or a downloadable version of 7.0.6000.381. Strangely, there’s no Knowledge Base article at all explaining the new version. The lack of a KB article (and the links that usually appear therein) makes it impossible for admins to run an installer to see if it would correct the registration problem.

One possible fix is to install an older version of the Windows Update files over the newer version. This involves launching the installer from a command line using a switch known as /wuforce.

That corrects the registration problem, although even in this case you must still accept the .381 stealth update (again) before you can get any updates. The fact that the /wuforce procedure solves the problem suggests that the installer for .381 is the source of the bug.

Source: Windows Secrets

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