strategy for MS Updates not working correctly

Toshiba / P30
February 16, 2011 at 10:43:16
Specs: Windows XP SP3, 3.2/512MB

Let me supply a little background before I talk about my issue.

I have developed a way to further ensure I can get my machine to a point where it is virus and malware free.

What I did to start with is restore my machine to its factory settings. I then installed a virus scanner (AVG that I had downloaded previously), and installed all software I would require (again downloaded previously). I then did a Norton Ghost image which I called base1.

As time passes, I download any MS updates from the Microsoft Catalog sites ( and apply them manually with the /q and the /z option using a batch file. The only problems I ran into initially was where there were two executables for a particular KB patch.

Forward to when my machine gets a little sluggish or does not seem to be working properly. I simply restore the Norton Ghost image and then reapply all the MS Updates, installing any new software I had installed, and then taking another Ghost image before connecting to the firewall. One other thing I would like to do at this point is to be able to have downloaded all the AVG updates manually as well, but so far I have not found a way to do this, as their update page is a litle hard to figure out.

Now to my issue. Everything was going along fine until recently. I restored to an image, and then reapplied all updates since that image. When I reboot my computer, windows tells me there are updates to be installed, and they are the ones that I just done. I looked at the log for one of them (KB2393802) and I see a bunch of error messages like this;

RegQueryValueEx failed with error 0x2
RegOpenKeyEx failed with error 0x2

I did a google search for this and all I could find was when these messages occur applying SP3. I decided to try install it via windows, the way it would normally be done. When I do this it runs very quickly (2 or 3 seconds) and then quits. There is no log created and if I reboot, Windows no longer says that this is an update that is required. The confusing part is that the requirement for this KB is SP3 which I am already at so it windows should not even say it is required. The only thing I can think of is that some catalog on my machine is not getting updated to say that this KB ha been applied.

Does anyone have any ideas on my problem or even advice on the whole strategy I am using? I can upload the KB log if required.

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February 16, 2011 at 10:49:29
A correction to my above post. I said 'The confusing part is that the requirement for this KB is SP3 which I am already at so it windows should not even say it is required.' This is of course false as the KB is a patch to SP3 so obviously it would be required.

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February 16, 2011 at 12:30:31
Downloading updates from a catalog may result in your installing updates that do not apply to your particular installation.

Making an image of the basic partition is fine. You shouldn't need to restore from that image unless something drastic happens.

I suggest you download and use Ccleaner slim on a regular basis (I run it daily).

Then lose AVG and use Microsoft Security essentials instead. Get both at the links below.

To carry your method farther, install all your programs to a separate partition. Then when you do need to ghost back the OS partition all your programs will work without re-installing them. Make occasional images of that partition too.

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February 16, 2011 at 17:51:54
If windows tells me that I need a KB and I only download the one for XP (my OS), shouldn't that be okay.

As far as installing products in a different partition, I thought of that, but I still have the problem with the registry which I don't think I can control.

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February 16, 2011 at 17:56:04
Also I should have mentioned that I do use ccleaner. Thanks for the tip on MS Security essentials. I am not a big MS fan, but I will give it a try.

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February 16, 2011 at 19:21:53
Security essentials is lean and doesn't bog things down.

I don't understand the problem with the registry. Explain.

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February 17, 2011 at 06:21:41
The regsitry by default is on the C partition by default, is it not. If I install programs on the D drive, and then have to restore one of my images, the programs will be still be there, but any registry entries would be gone.

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February 17, 2011 at 06:38:37
When you install programs under Windows the dlls and associated links to Windows are created and maintained no matter where the programs are installed.

Trust me, if you have programs you installed on a different partition or even physical hard drive and then you image Windows. Subsequent restore of Windows from that image will restore all relationship with the programs on any other partition in the system.

The advantage of doing things that way is that it keeps the OS partition smaller and faster to image/ restore. Your programs do not change often. Ones that do change often, like malware and anti-virus should be run from the OS partition.

Then you image the OS partition more often than the program partition.

To carry this even further, store compressed files like photos, music, movies, etc. on a third partition. These files do not need to be imaged as they are already compressed about as far as possible. Just copy them to another media for archive.

I use DVDR for my images. It is fast and cheap and can be easily duplicated. The more mission critical the data the more copies you may want. Things like photos and self created documents are irreplaceable and should be treated with extra care. Consider storing disks at an off site location. Safety deposit box is best, but a friend or relative can suffice.

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February 18, 2011 at 21:00:02
That would be assuming that I created a new image everytime I installed something new. If I didn't and restored back to a previous image, the registry entries would be gone.

You have given me some great ideas on managing my images but I am still no closer to figuring out what when I install my KB's thru a batch file, windows still thinks they are not installed.

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February 19, 2011 at 07:41:23
Why are you using a batch file to install them? What is wrong with the Microsoft installer?

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February 20, 2011 at 07:15:10
Becuase as I said at the start I want to apply my updates and be up to date without connecting to the internet because as soon as you do that you have left yourself vunerable. I want to have an up to date image I can restore to at any time.

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February 20, 2011 at 08:29:58
Well, you had to get the updates form the internet at some point in time.

Sounds like your practice is to re-install at the drop of the hat. No sound reason for that. I go years without re-installing.

There are any number of good tools to protect you when on the net. Also, your computing habits determine how safe you are to a great extent. Folks that constantly get infected do not practice safe computing, IMHO.

I suggest you get imaging software that includes incremental backup functions.

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