Windows Update service missing

windowswindows updatewindows-services

Hello this is very strange.

Some of our customers fail to install IE10 and I found out it is because the Windows Update service is not there at all (in services.msc).

Microsoft fix-it for Windows Update does not find any problems (which is funny). Any ideas?

Win 7 64-bit

Best Answer

I encountered this problem and solved it by re-adding the Windows Update service via the Registry.

Create missing services in Registry

From a cache of default Registry keys for various versions of Windows, I added the services bits and wuauserv.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\BITS]
"DisplayName"="@%SystemRoot%\\system32\\qmgr.dll,-1000"
"ImagePath"=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,\
  74,00,25,00,5c,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,73,\
  00,76,00,63,00,68,00,6f,00,73,00,74,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,20,00,2d,00,\
  6b,00,20,00,6e,00,65,00,74,00,73,00,76,00,63,00,73,00,00,00
"Description"="@%SystemRoot%\\system32\\qmgr.dll,-1001"
"ObjectName"="LocalSystem"
"ErrorControl"=dword:00000001
"Start"=dword:00000002
"DelayedAutoStart"=dword:00000001
"Type"=dword:00000020
"DependOnService"=hex(7):52,00,70,00,63,00,53,00,73,00,00,00,45,00,76,00,65,00,\
  6e,00,74,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,00,00,00,00
"ServiceSidType"=dword:00000001
"RequiredPrivileges"=hex(7):53,00,65,00,43,00,72,00,65,00,61,00,74,00,65,00,47,\
  00,6c,00,6f,00,62,00,61,00,6c,00,50,00,72,00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,\
  67,00,65,00,00,00,53,00,65,00,49,00,6d,00,70,00,65,00,72,00,73,00,6f,00,6e,\
  00,61,00,74,00,65,00,50,00,72,00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,67,00,65,00,\
  00,00,53,00,65,00,54,00,63,00,62,00,50,00,72,00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,\
  00,67,00,65,00,00,00,53,00,65,00,41,00,73,00,73,00,69,00,67,00,6e,00,50,00,\
  72,00,69,00,6d,00,61,00,72,00,79,00,54,00,6f,00,6b,00,65,00,6e,00,50,00,72,\
  00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,67,00,65,00,00,00,53,00,65,00,49,00,6e,00,\
  63,00,72,00,65,00,61,00,73,00,65,00,51,00,75,00,6f,00,74,00,61,00,50,00,72,\
  00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,67,00,65,00,00,00,00,00
"FailureActions"=hex:80,51,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,14,00,00,\
  00,01,00,00,00,60,ea,00,00,01,00,00,00,c0,d4,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\BITS\Parameters]
"ServiceDll"=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,\
  00,74,00,25,00,5c,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,\
  71,00,6d,00,67,00,72,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\BITS\Performance]
"Library"="bitsperf.dll"
"Open"="PerfMon_Open"
"Collect"="PerfMon_Collect"
"Close"="PerfMon_Close"
"InstallType"=dword:00000001
"PerfIniFile"="bitsctrs.ini"
"First Counter"=dword:00000774
"Last Counter"=dword:00000784
"First Help"=dword:00000775
"Last Help"=dword:00000785
"Object List"="1908"
"1008"=hex(b):bc,81,53,b3,1d,d9,cc,01
"PerfMMFileName"="Global\\MMF_BITS_s"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\BITS\Security]
"Security"=hex:01,00,14,90,90,00,00,00,a0,00,00,00,14,00,00,00,34,00,00,00,02,\
  00,20,00,01,00,00,00,02,c0,18,00,00,00,0c,00,01,02,00,00,00,00,00,05,20,00,\
  00,00,20,02,00,00,02,00,5c,00,04,00,00,00,00,02,14,00,ff,01,0f,00,01,01,00,\
  00,00,00,00,05,12,00,00,00,00,00,18,00,ff,01,0f,00,01,02,00,00,00,00,00,05,\
  20,00,00,00,20,02,00,00,00,00,14,00,8d,01,02,00,01,01,00,00,00,00,00,05,04,\
  00,00,00,00,00,14,00,8d,01,02,00,01,01,00,00,00,00,00,05,06,00,00,00,01,02,\
  00,00,00,00,00,05,20,00,00,00,20,02,00,00,01,02,00,00,00,00,00,05,20,00,00,\
  00,20,02,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\BITS\Enum]
"0"="Root\\LEGACY_BITS\\0000"
"Count"=dword:00000001
"NextInstance"=dword:00000001

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wuauserv]
"PreshutdownTimeout"=dword:036ee800
"DisplayName"="Windows Update"
"ImagePath"=hex(2):25,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,72,00,6f,00,6f,00,\
  74,00,25,00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,73,\
  00,76,00,63,00,68,00,6f,00,73,00,74,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,20,00,2d,00,\
  6b,00,20,00,6e,00,65,00,74,00,73,00,76,00,63,00,73,00,00,00
"Description"="Enables the detection, download, and installation of updates for Windows and other programs. If this service is disabled, users of this computer will not be able to use Windows Update or its automatic updating feature, and programs will not be able to use the Windows Update Agent (WUA) API."
"ObjectName"="LocalSystem"
"ErrorControl"=dword:00000001
"Start"=dword:00000002
"DelayedAutoStart"=dword:00000001
"Type"=dword:00000020
"DependOnService"=hex(7):72,00,70,00,63,00,73,00,73,00,00,00,00,00
"ServiceSidType"=dword:00000001
"RequiredPrivileges"=hex(7):53,00,65,00,41,00,75,00,64,00,69,00,74,00,50,00,72,\
  00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,67,00,65,00,00,00,53,00,65,00,43,00,72,00,\
  65,00,61,00,74,00,65,00,47,00,6c,00,6f,00,62,00,61,00,6c,00,50,00,72,00,69,\
  00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,67,00,65,00,00,00,53,00,65,00,43,00,72,00,65,00,\
  61,00,74,00,65,00,50,00,61,00,67,00,65,00,46,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,50,00,72,\
  00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,67,00,65,00,00,00,53,00,65,00,54,00,63,00,\
  62,00,50,00,72,00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,67,00,65,00,00,00,53,00,65,\
  00,41,00,73,00,73,00,69,00,67,00,6e,00,50,00,72,00,69,00,6d,00,61,00,72,00,\
  79,00,54,00,6f,00,6b,00,65,00,6e,00,50,00,72,00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,\
  00,67,00,65,00,00,00,53,00,65,00,49,00,6d,00,70,00,65,00,72,00,73,00,6f,00,\
  6e,00,61,00,74,00,65,00,50,00,72,00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,67,00,65,\
  00,00,00,53,00,65,00,49,00,6e,00,63,00,72,00,65,00,61,00,73,00,65,00,51,00,\
  75,00,6f,00,74,00,61,00,50,00,72,00,69,00,76,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,67,00,65,\
  00,00,00,00,00
"FailureActions"=hex:80,51,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,14,00,00,\
  00,01,00,00,00,60,ea,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wuauserv\Parameters]
"ServiceDll"=hex(2):43,00,3a,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,\
  00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,77,00,75,00,\
  61,00,75,00,65,00,6e,00,67,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,00,00
"ServiceMain"="WUServiceMain"
"ServiceDllUnloadOnStop"=dword:00000001

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wuauserv\Security]
"Security"=hex:01,00,14,80,78,00,00,00,84,00,00,00,14,00,00,00,30,00,00,00,02,\
  00,1c,00,01,00,00,00,02,80,14,00,ff,00,0f,00,01,01,00,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,\
  00,00,02,00,48,00,03,00,00,00,00,00,14,00,9d,00,02,00,01,01,00,00,00,00,00,\
  05,0b,00,00,00,00,00,18,00,ff,01,0f,00,01,02,00,00,00,00,00,05,20,00,00,00,\
  20,02,00,00,00,00,14,00,ff,01,0f,00,01,01,00,00,00,00,00,05,12,00,00,00,01,\
  01,00,00,00,00,00,05,12,00,00,00,01,01,00,00,00,00,00,05,12,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wuauserv\Enum]
"0"="Root\\LEGACY_WUAUSERV\\0000"
"Count"=dword:00000001
"NextInstance"=dword:00000001

This re-added the Windows Update service to the Services list (services.msc), but I had to take an additional step, because even though the Services list (and net start wuauserv) reported the Windows Update service as running, the Windows Update Settings panel gave me this error when I tried to check for updates.

Windows Update cannot currently check for updates, because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer.

Clear Windows Update cache

A troubleshooting site suggested that this error may have resulted from corruption in a previous Windows Update download. So, following that site's guide, I stopped the Windows Update service (net stop wuauserv), then deleted all of the contents from the SoftwareDistribution folder in the Windows folder (typically C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution), which required Administrator elevation. After I deleted the files, I re-started the Windows Update service (net start wuauserv), and could successfully retrieve updates via the Windows Update service again!