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Automatic Updates Service won't start - Error 2

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Old 28-03-2009
Posts: n/a
Automatic Updates Service won't start - Error 2

Trying to start Automatic Updates results in the error message:

Could not start the Automatic Updates service on Local Computer.
Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified

I get the same error message when trying to start Background Intelligent
Transfer Service.

I believe both of these services have been hosed by viruses that have now
been removed. I managed to do a manual update to SP3 but this has not
resolved the problem.

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Old 28-03-2009
PA Bear [MS MVP]
Posts: n/a
Re: Automatic Updates Service won't start - Error 2

You have much more work to do!

1. See if you can download/run the MSRT manually:

2. Run the Windows Live Safety Center's 'Protection' scan (only!) in Safe
Mode with Networking, if need be:

3. Run a /thorough/ check for hijackware, including posting the requested
logs in an appropriate forum, not here.

If the procedures look too complex - and there is no shame in admitting this
isn't your cup of tea - take the machine to a local, reputable and
independent (i.e., not BigBoxStoreUSA) computer repair shop.
Start a free Windows Update support incident request:

Support for Windows Update:

For home users, no-charge support is available by calling 1-866-PCSAFETY in
the United States and in Canada or by contacting your local Microsoft
subsidiary. There is no-charge for support calls that are associated with
security updates.
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Old 28-03-2009
Posts: n/a
Re: Automatic Updates Service won't start - Error 2

Thanks for your response PA Bear. I think you may have misunderstood where we
are in the process. I have got the malware out of the machine, it is virus,
trojan, crapware free now.

However, the infection has left a few tracks that need to be cleaned up
apparently, i.e., Windows Update will not work becasue the BITS and AU
services won't start. When attempting to start them, they respond with the
message I mention above:

Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified
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Old 29-03-2009
PA Bear [MS MVP]
Posts: n/a
I fully understood. I don't think you've gotten all of "the malware out of
the machine" and I do not think it's free of any/all traces of the virus,
trojan, and crapware yet. If it were, AU would be working.

I have the exact same problem and got as far as this. But now when I
try to start the services it says access denied. When I go in to
change the log on account is says access denied as well. I checked
the permissions on svchost and it already said Everyone had Full
Control so I didn't touch it. Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 14-04-2009
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2
Check the ImagePath Value in the Registry key HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wuauserv and verify it is "%systemroot%\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs" and not a fake path like %fystemroot%\.. netsvcs

When you say you can't edit the ImagePath Value do you mean you can't open regedit? If thats the case then are you an administrator on the computer? If you are an administrator an get "access denied" when running regedit then type the following command on the Command Prompt or at the Run Command "REG add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableRegistryTools /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f" You should then be able to run regedit.

Sounds like permissions were changed because of the spyware. Below are the steps for Windows XP Professional you need to follow. In the other versions of XP or Windows 2000 its the same idea except maybe with minor differences in the steps.
1) Open Regedit
2) Select Key "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wuauserv"
3) Right Click Key - Select Permissions
If permissions are effected Administrators will not have Full Control" follow Step 4 -11. If Administrators have Full Control then you have another problem. Don't even bother doing steps 4-11
4) Select Advanced Button
5) Select Owner Tab
6) Add "Administrators" if it is not there. If it is Highlight Administrators and click Apply Button
7) Click "OK" this will close "Advanced Security for wuauserv" box
8) Select "Administrators" in "Permissions for wuauser" box
9) Check Allow - Full Control box (If check boxes are greyed out then
9a) Select Advanced Button
9b) Uncheck "Inherit from parent...defined here" box
9c) Click "Copy" button
9d) Click "OK" in "Advanced Security for Wuaserv" Box
9e) You should now be able to check the Allow Full Contol box
10) Click "Apply" - If you don't receive an error your golden
11) Click "OK"

You should then be able to modify the value ImagePath.

The spyware that you had probably effected several registry keys so you may have to follow steps 3 - 11 again if you can't modify other keys.

As you said I found that for Automatic Update and Background Intelligence Transfer services the %s has been changed to %f but This is not getting edited in either services.msc or in regedit

I can open regedit .I am the administrator but when editing this particular BITS and AU it is not getting edited what to do Pls help
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Old 20-04-2009
Sandhu the great
Posts: n/a
You need to run subinacl to reset the permissin back to default.
Follow the Kb949377 to reset the permission
There is another Micrsoft Knowledge base article i.e Kb31322 that also used
to reset the permission in xp professional Only as it owuld not work on xp
home edition for that we can run subinacl Kb949377

I have done this process repeatedly to resolve the same problem, but I dont
get 9b/ and 9c/ as described. 9b/ is unchecked already and 9c/ does not
appear. When I follow through with remainder steps, and althought I change
permissions for 'Administrators' to 'allow' it seem to reset itself, and will
not allow me to change key. Do I need to be logged on as 'Administrator' even
if user has Administrator rights?

permissions were changed and so was systemroot changed to fsystemroot check
bits key as well

Dealing here with a PC that had been thoroughly mauled about by Sasser Worm and a bunch of others and thought I'd finally sorted everything until I went to do the Windows updates!

But you pinpointed the problem perfectly:
%fystemroot%\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs

instead of

%systemroot%\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs

And, of course, I needed to give myself permission to change things!

systemroot changed to fsystemroot is a clear indication that the system
is infected. Your original post indicated an error that is *also* caused
by malware, Error Code: 0x8024D007.

You either need to contact Microsoft for NO CHARGE ( FREE ) assistance
in cleaning up the system or, you can reformat and reinstall it. Start
here: http://www.microsoft.com/protect/support/default.mspx

Under " Scanning, detecting, and removing threats " click the
' I think my computer is infected ' link.

If there was one that said " I know my computer is infected ", I'd tell
you to click that one. The next page will provide a link to the OneCare
Safety Scanner. Click it and see if it can detect and remove the malware
on the system.
If you have run the Safety Scanner, click the Continue button.
Confirm Your Country, click Continue.
Click the " type of support you want for Consumer Security "
The Phone and all of the other options are *free*.
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Old 28-06-2010
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2
Re: Automatic Updates Service won't start - Error 2

Thanks for all the help on this guys. I recently downloaded Microsoft Security Essentials and it couldn't download and install virus definition updates due to BITS not starting. I went through the steps that paulatkinson outlined and was able to find the offending registry keys (yes it was the %fystemroot% thing) and modify properly.

I actually went through these exact same steps several months ago when my Automatic Updates service would start but I never put two and two together to think that it would be the exact same issue for BITS not starting. Now I know...
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