ESR 9.2.3 unusable in XP due to wuauserv hang

ESR 9.2.3 unusable in XP due to wuauserv hang

Postby uuVano » 15.02.2018, 18:17

Several versions of WU agent are known to get stuck in an infinite loop during update discovery (on the "Listing Ids of missing updates" line). For Win7 and Win8, there are fixes listed in viewtopic.php?f=7&t=5366 . But for XP, there is not fix. So, subj.

All XP x32 EN and RU systems that I've administered are affected, so I dunno how this isn't all over these forums and the FAQ yet.

The only possible fix is to install all the updates one by one.

I can do that manually for .exe's as a workaround, but not for Office updates since they are .cab's with .msp's.
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Re: ESR 9.2.3 unusable in XP due to wuauserv hang

Postby Dalai » 16.02.2018, 00:51

uuVano wrote:All XP x32 EN and RU systems that I've administered are affected, so I dunno how this isn't all over these forums and the FAQ yet.

The reasons for this are quite simple: XP has been out of support for almost four years now and only a few people use it. The support by WSUS Offline ESR is kind of cosmetic, to be honest, because there won't be any updates released by MS; the WannaCry thing was just an exception. And, last but not least, you shouldn't be using XP anymore, not in an online manner, anyway. (When using it offline, there's no need to install updates, IMO.)

The only possible fix is to install all the updates one by one.

Not true. Just let the WUA do its job, it will get the search done eventually. Yes, it may take a long time (maybe even several days), but it will get there. On that note: Did you install the most recent cumulative update for Internet Explorer prior to using WSUS Offline (or letting Windows Update search for updates)? I remember a thread in a German forum from 2013 that was about this issue, and installing the cumulative IE update helped solving it. Remember to install the correct update, as it's language dependent, and it depends on IE version (the update for IE8 is not the same as for IE6).

I can do that manually for .exe's as a workaround, but not for Office updates since they are .cab's with .msp's.

These can be installed manually as well. Take a look inside wsusoffline\client\cmd\InstallOfficeUpdate.cmd. It's a little work to extract the commands and write a script, but it's possible. However, you shouldn't be installing updates manually anyway, because not all of them are required, and they may have dependencies. The WUA knows which updates are required, and the order in which to apply them, it only takes time until it spits out a result.

Regards
Dalai
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Re: ESR 9.2.3 unusable in XP due to wuauserv hang

Postby VolumeZ » 16.02.2018, 02:59

Regarding Windows XP, this update search issue is exclusive to Microsoft Update (= "Give me updates for other Microsoft products" enabled).

The issue gets triggered when applicability meets availability of at least one of the following updates:

The Excel related Security Update for Compatibility Pack SP3
The Word related Security Update for Compatibility Pack SP3
The Security Update for Word 2007
The Security Update for Excel 2007
The Security Update for Excel 2010
The Security Update for Word 2010

It's only all applicable of those six updates that need to preinstalled for unblocking Windows Update on Windows XP.

The MS Office Security Updates are also available as .exe files. For a list of download links see

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/win ... a92933cb90

The compilation is heavily relying on earlier achievements by Dalai.

Regards, VZ
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Re: ESR 9.2.3 unusable in XP due to wuauserv hang

Postby boco » 16.02.2018, 08:51

Without any Office installed, this happens, too. None of those updates are applicable and can be installed, in this case.

Simplest way I've found searching and installing updates in XP fast (using POS hack but shouldn't matter).

1. Download and run Windows Update MiniTool.
2. Important: Check the box "Include superseded"!
3. Search for updates, should only be a few seconds.
4. Use the "Selected by Windows Update" box to mark the appropriate updates.
5. Install (third icon on the left), reboot when being asked.
Microsoft update catalog: http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/
Windows Install media download: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/15088/windows-create-installation-media
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Re: ESR 9.2.3 unusable in XP due to wuauserv hang

Postby uuVano » 16.02.2018, 22:06

VolumeZ wrote:The issue gets triggered when applicability meets availability of at least one of the following updates:

The Excel related Security Update for Compatibility Pack SP3
The Word related Security Update for Compatibility Pack SP3
The Security Update for Word 2007
The Security Update for Excel 2007
The Security Update for Excel 2010
The Security Update for Word 2010

It's only all applicable of those six updates that need to preinstalled for unblocking Windows Update on Windows XP.


There are dozens of updates with these names, not "six". Which ones?

Dalai wrote:The reasons for this are quite simple: XP has been out of support for almost four years now and only a few people use it. The support by WSUS Offline ESR is kind of cosmetic, to be honest, because there won't be any updates released by MS; the WannaCry thing was just an exception. And, last but not least, you shouldn't be using XP anymore, not in an online manner, anyway. (When using it offline, there's no need to install updates, IMO.)


This doesn't explain FAQ silence. And I do see a bunch of recent XP threads. If all XPs are affected, as it seems to be, all they should be talking about is this.

I mainly face the problem when reinstalling XP on old machines that can't run Win7.

Dalai wrote:These can be installed manually as well. Take a look inside wsusoffline\client\cmd\InstallOfficeUpdate.cmd. It's a little work to extract the commands and write a script, but it's possible. However, you shouldn't be installing updates manually anyway, because not all of them are required, and they may have dependencies. The WUA knows which updates are required, and the order in which to apply them, it only takes time until it spits out a result.


Thanks, that helped. The script assumes the current directory is equal to where is resides (by using relative paths), so it has to be invoked from there.

I got around the dependency problem by rerunning everything again and checking `appwiz.cpl' list (with "show updates" selected) for any new entries.
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Re: ESR 9.2.3 unusable in XP due to wuauserv hang

Postby VolumeZ » 16.02.2018, 22:18

boco wrote:using POS hack but shouldn't matter


The POSReady 2009 hack does matter. It adds applicability of triggering releases of the Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 8.

Regards, VZ
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Re: ESR 9.2.3 unusable in XP due to wuauserv hang

Postby uuVano » 17.02.2018, 03:57

boco wrote:Without any Office installed, this happens, too. None of those updates are applicable and can be installed, in this case.

Simplest way I've found searching and installing updates in XP fast (using POS hack but shouldn't matter).

1. Download and run Windows Update MiniTool.
2. Important: Check the box "Include superseded"!
3. Search for updates, should only be a few seconds.
4. Use the "Selected by Windows Update" box to mark the appropriate updates.
5. Install (third icon on the left), reboot when being asked.


This worked. But not quite as written. (Exactly as written, it had no effect.)

It worked this way:

1. Disable automatic updates in wuaucpl.cpl (but not the wuauserv service)
2. Download and run Windows Update MiniTool.
3. Place wsusscn2.cab from client\wsus alongside the MiniTool's exe.
4. Check the boxed "Include superseded" and "Offline mode".
5. Start the scan.
6. After a scan succeeds, to download and install the updates, uncheck "Offline mode" but keep "Include superseded" checked.

WSUS Offline's scan still hangs after this, at the same stage (see below).

So, the workaround that WSUS Offline should use is to request superseded updates, and do that in Offline mode.
Since it has its own list of superseded updates, it can filter them out anyway.

Additional info shows why all other suggested solutions do not apply:
----
The hang occurrs after detecting updates (this is shown by AU tracing; I would show a .reg for that but the form rejects every attachment extension that I tried). In Process Explorer, it has a prominent pattern of constant ~100% load on one core by svchost.exe hosting the AU, with roughly 50/50 user/kernel mode and no I/O activity.

I conjecture that it builds some kind of graph from the updates and traverses it to find and return leaves (non-superseded updates). Due to some incorrect or unexpected metadata, there appears a loop, and it starts walking along it in circles. When requesting superseded updates, this part of the algorithm is skipped. (this is hinted at by stack traces in Process Explorer with symbols configured. The execution never leaves wuaueng.dll and is endlessly comparing updates (a function named like "Update operator<")).

  • Running in non-offline mode right away has no effect.
  • Install IE8 updates (KB4018271 and KB4074736 (the latest POSReady cumulative update for now)): logs visibly change, but it instead starts to check for the same updates over and over. Deleting SoftwareDistribution has no effect.
  • Install Office updates: on a fresh machine that has the issue, MiniTool lists none of the listed updates as required. After they were installed after a few rounds of prerequisites (except the updates for Office 2010, I do not have this product installed), the problem still persists.
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