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Handling "Software Distribution Service 3.0" before doing a System Restore

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Joseph King, Nov 15, 2007.

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  1. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    My XP Pro began acting strangely lately: on bootup, a black DOS window for GoogleDesktopUpdate.exe is staying open for a very long time (no activity in the window); intermittently I had nothing in my QuickLaunch toolbar or in my Programs group or even at one point not even anything at all in the Start button; intermittently the Add/Remove window failed to populate with anything; and all my QuickLaunch icons got scrambled (least of my worries of course but part of a much bigger problem).

    Recent events that could have led to this include having had the system go into a spontaneous reboot on it's own while I was working in a complex video editing program (I assume it had a bug or the system hiccupped when I hit spacebar to play an audio file). When the reboot that that incurred was done, I got a warning saying XP had just recovered from a "serious" system error.

    Looking in my System Restore list for what took place recently in there so I can decide when to try a System Restore from, I notice a few innocuous things that were added since the date I want to do a System Restore from (innocuous because I can uninstall them before doing the System Restore and then reinstall them afterwards, which I assume is the best way to go -- a Symantec web help assistant and, if I choose to go back farther in time, iTunes).

    However, it shows one potentially problematic entry dated yesterday, and I need to restore from at least a few days prior to that.

    The potentially problematic entry is "Software Distribution Service 3.0."

    I've done a bunch of looking around on the web and most posts I found about this (there aren't many) say there is no way to uninstall it (unless I get into a lot of manual surgery that I'm not into risking), and that once it has been installed it can tend to pose problems with trying to do a System Restore from prior to the date it was installed because, well, MS doesn't want you go get rid of it since it works with the infamous Genuine Advantage policing stuff.

    So, I need to know what to do to enable me to do a clean, smooth, reliable restore from a date prior to the date that that appears in the System Restore listings.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Software Distribution Service 3.0 is Windows Update.

    What is preventing you from just doing a restore? Either it will succeed, and you will then have the option to keep it, or revert to the pre-restore state, or ir will fail.

    No harm in just trying it.
     
  3. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    Good point... actually.

    I just have so much riding on my business and my time constraints I'd rather look before I leap, and most posts I've seen on this subject say it will probably give me problems.

    But you're probably right that I should just try it since at worse I should end up where I am now.

    Do we agree I should first uninstall the two programs that show up in the System Restore history subsequent to the date I want to restore from?

    Thanks.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    That would probably ease the transition. And run chkdsk /f. No need for minor errors leading to problems.

    If your system is that important to you, you might want to look into Acronis True Image as a way to make a complete backup of your whole system so that it can be restored in 20 minutes in the case of a major crash, or even drive failure.
     
  5. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    Ok, now it is a real problem, the one I feared would exist based on my prior web searches:

    System Restore is telling me it CANNOT RESTORE the system when I try to restore from a checkpoint date that's prior to the date when Software Distribution Service 3.0 showed up!

    This is exactly what others had encountered according to some posts I'd seen.

    And I have yet to find a way to uninstall Software Distribution Service 3.0 (or find any other way for the System Restore to occur).

    Before I tried to do the System Restore, I called MS tech support to be prudent after the posts I'd seen that said it might not work. I got them to move me up to a level 2 tech, who said I didn't need to uninstall Software Distribution Service 3.0 before doing a System Restore. He insisted that Software Distribution Service 3.0 would not interfere with my doing a System Restore from a prior date.

    Well, "something" is interfering!

    What do I do now? I have a mission-critical business system at stake here!

    Is it possible that my just copying the "registry" file(s) from a recent backup will do the same thing as the System Restore would have done? If so, what exactly would I do?

    Thanks.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    I'd suggest the standard approach to system problems. A problem with your system might interfere with a restoration.

    Have you run chkdsk /r on the drives recently? Done a thorough malware scan with 2 or more scanners (they all miss some)? You could also try a System File Check to be sure that all files are present and uncorrupted (Command-line: sfc /scannow).

    If your machine is important to you, it's a good idea to have it backed up in case of major failure, like a hard drive. Keriver Image, Paragon Drive Backup, Acronis True Image, and more would allow you a "bare-metal" restore in the case of a disaster.
     
  7. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    I ran NIS 2008 and it found nothing. I try not to install "competing" malware programs.

    The problems are strictly limited to Start, Programs, QuickLaunch, and Add/Remove program groups "intermittently" failing to populate. I'm guessing that that, combined with it having started right after a crash and reboot ("Windows has recovered from a serious system failure") which MS senior tech support told me only happens with a major fluke or with a hardware failure -- I've since replaced my memory to be safe), it doesn't "seem" like malware to me. But you never know.

    I run Error-Checking from Properties-Tools on the C: drive often. Is that not good enough?

    Someone on the MS user forum for XP (an "MVP") has suggested I get a bootable CD for such situations and use that to manually copy over the saved registry files that System Restore had created (and also offered other methods, including installing the drive as a slave in another machine). I can also restore the registry files from an external backup drive I have on hand that has a full-system "Disaster Recovery" backup on it, created with Retrospect, if needed.

    It's also been suggested to "try" the System Restore in Safe Mode first. Is that safe to do?

    I think you're right that another malware scanner is advisable, and I guess the System File Check can't hurt (as long as it doesn't "fix" anything without my permission).

    I want to get the cleanest, most reliable "restore" achieved, with the least room for error.

    What do you think?

    Thanks!
     
  8. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    NIS is a rather poor piece of software that is often incapacitated by malware. Even the best among these things miss many infections since more are released every day, so it is advisable to scan with more than one.

    Some of the symptoms you are having could be the result of a failing hard drive or memory module. Those are also possibilities and could make for a failure of a restoration and loss of the system.

    It is possible to restore an older version of the registry with the methods you mention, but infections will remain.

    The chkdsk you have performed sounds sufficient to check your drive, but you might try a more thorough check. Go to Start > Run, and type: chkdsk /r
    Answer "Y" to the questions and reboot for the operation. You will get a summary at the end that will tell you if bad clusters were found (but it goes by very fast and you will need to press "Pause" to read the screen).

    HD Tune is a free hard-drive tester that will give you a fast, fair analysis of your hard drive and check for bad sectors. It is not the best test in the world, but it rarely has false positives, only false negatives. So if it finds no bad clusters, your drive is probably OK.

    Some free malware scanners that are very good include:

    Spybot S&D
    Ad-Aware 2007
    SuperAntiSpyware
    Spyware Eliminator

    Of these, Spybot is maybe the best and most popular. You can keep the ones you like, turn off their "real-time" scanning and scan when you like, or uninstall them after you get cleaned up. If you'd prefer, you can run HijackThis, produce a log, and post it in the Malware forum. A Gold Shield will analyze it and help you clean any infections.

    An alternative to an historical restore is a re-installation. A repair installation will replace all system files and registry entries, leaving your data untouched, but all Windows Updates (and the Software Distribution) will be gone and will need to be reinstalled.

    The Windows Updates that you installed recently can also be uninstalled in Add/Remove to restore you to a pre-updated state if you want to try that before a System Restore.

    There are a lot of options. But all are not perfect and you need a backup.
     
  9. michele2007

    michele2007

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    I too am having problems that have to do with Software Distribution Service 3.0. Yesterday I did a restore and things were working again. But when I shut down it just installeded 4 updates again before it shut off.

    This morning all I got was the opening screen and then just a blank screen. I finally hit F2 (Setup) and reset the drive to DEFAULTS and rebooted and the computer is working for now. I don't see the answer to my problems here yet.
     
  10. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    I ended up discovering my problem was that Norton Internet Security was blocking System Restore from doing a restore. We had to turn off the NIS feature that protected Norton files from being modified. It does not sound like that's your problem, though, but maybe it's worth checking. Sorry I can't be of more help. Good luck.
     
  11. gvrowe

    gvrowe

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    Last week I had a problem which turned out to be caused by Software Distribution Service 3.0. My problem was that Thunderbird couldn't access Cox's server. Fortunately I have a restore point for/from SDS3 which I ran. That fixed the problem. My OS is XPHome on a Toshiba Satellite laptop.

    Several comments were made recommending HD service. I heartily subscribe to them all.
    In addition I have been using Steve Gibson's Spinrite for several years and highly recommend it. (See http:www.grc.com)
    Spinrite isn't free but it is well worth the investment.
    The program will restore/recover many hard drive errors and sometimes will return a marginal HD to service. It doesn't harm any data on the HD.
    Spinrite 6.0 does take a looong time.

    Steve has several free utilities which may help justify purchasing Spinrite.
    In my mind Spinrite needs no justification at all. I wouldn't be without it.

    Recommendations to backup the backup CANNOT be over emphisized.

    George
     
  12. michele2007

    michele2007

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    I removed all Windows updates that were recently added. To get rid of a Security Update: Start Control Panel Add or Remove Programs check the box at top to "show updates" go down until you find the Security Update number you want to remove. Click on it and click Remove.

    I removed security update KB943055 and never re-installed it because it kept adding back Software Distribution Service 3.0.

    I got around a few months later to installing some of the updates back. But I turned off Updates permanently by going to Start, My Computer, C:\Windows\System 32 and looked for verclsid.exe and changed the file extension from .exe to .old.

    No matter whatever choices I picked for Microsoft Updates (notify me, etc), if I didn't change the verclsid.exe file extension, it kept giving me Software Distribution Service 3.0 which messes up my computer. And this is truly only getting the updates you want.
     
  13. OttawaP

    OttawaP

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    I have the same problem with SDS 3.0 and have ssen other reference to KB943055 but I don't have this file in add/remove software. MS support me to remove KB943460 (which is not on my system either)

    SDS 3.0 just keeps reinstalling itself and screwing up things....any thoughts?
     
  14. AgentX3432

    AgentX3432

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    (Sorry,but.my.space.bar.messed.up.need.replacing..)..:)

    (software.that.I.used....CCleaner.to.clean.junk.and.registry.errors)


    First.of.all.I.turned.off.my.auto.updates.in.windows.XP.
    Then.go.to.Control.Panel,Add/Remove.Programs.and.checked."show.updates"on.top.
    then.scrolled.down.to.the.end.and.look.for.all.the.security.updates.for.windows.and.erased.them.
    then.Iwent.to.my.computer.and.found.a.folder.in."WINDOWS\Software.Distribution"and.erased.everything.that.allowed.me.to.erase.including.the.folders.inside.other.folders.inside.Software.distribution
    leaving.me.with.only.one.folder.."Event.Cache",and.next.to.it.a.file.called."ReportingEvents".
    After.that.opened.CCleaner.and.on.the.cleaner.section.you'll.see.two.tabs.named"Windows".and."Applications".put.a.check.mark.on.every.single.box.in.both.tabs.
    then.clicked."Analize".button.on.the.bottom.and.you'll.see.your.problems.listed.after.it.finishes.click.on."Run.Cleaner"to.clean.them.once.finished.click.again.on."analize"button.to.find.more.problems.and.then."again.on"Run.Cleaner"
    Once.you.notice.that.no.mor.errors.appear.in.the.cleaner.section,jump.to.the.next.section.."REGISTRY".and.check.every.single.box.then.click.on.the"Scan.For.Issues".Button.once.it.finishes.click.on."FIX.the.issues"button.then.repeat.these.two.steps.again.just.to.make.sure.there.are.no.more.errors.
    It.will.eventually.ask.you.if.you.want.to.save.a.back.up.of.your.registry.before.I.always.select."NO".its.up.to.you...
    then.close.theCCleaner.and.restart.your.computer.crossing.your.fingers.that.now.everything.is.back.to.normal.

    Once.you.restart.it.make.sure.that.windows.automatic.updates.is.still.off.otherwise.it.will.reinstall.the.Service.Distribution.Services.again!!!and.again.and.again......

    Good.luck.and.keep.me.informed.on.your.results.please.....:):):)
     
  15. OttawaP

    OttawaP

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    I may be ok aftyer all. I got a response from microsoft support and they asked me to try a freeware called "dial a fix" http://djlizard.net.nyud.net:8080/software/Dial-a-fix-v0.60.0.24.zip . It seems so far to have worked, just a few clicks and it tuned the computer back into shape. If I get the dreaded multiple reinstall of SDS 3.0 I'll see what happens but so far so good (y)

    Paul
     
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