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  1. #1
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    Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP SP2)

    I am considering using System Restore to restore my 1-year old Dell (WinXP Home) to an earlier state. When I look in System Restore there is an entry titled "Software Distribution Service 2.0" for each day for the last week or so. There are a few other restore points to indicating where I installed additional software.

    After noticing that, I looked in System Restore on my much older laptop (WinXP Pro) and there are no entiries for Software Distribution Service there!

    Can someone tell me what the "Software Distribution Service 2.0" restore entries represent?

    Thanks,
    Bill

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    A quick Google led me to this thread at techzonez.com, which in turn points to this Software Update Services 2.0 Overview at Microsoft.

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    Yes, I did that Google search too and saw that SUS reference. When you look at the SUS details they certainly don't look like they would apply to my home system -- there is not server involved here and no corporate firewall. Plus, the names different in that the middle word is different. So, I don't know if that discussion has any bearing on my question.

    As I understand it, Microsoft normally distributes updates only once a month. I wouldn't be surprised to see a restore point jsut before each of those updates but the Software Distribution Service 2.0 entries occur at least once a day over the last 10 days and one day had 3 of them!

    Thanks for the rely.

    Bill

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    <hr>Can someone tell me what the "Software Distribution Service 2.0" restore entries represent?<hr>
    A restore point for a Windows Defender signature update.

    There can be probably be a bunch of RP's due to Defender. I don't have it installed, so can not check.

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    I've been through this some weeks ago and can confirm it relates to Windows Defender and updates thereof.

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    Argus,

    That makes more sense than anything else I've heard! I've googled that title and gotten a few things that are two years old and they didn't exactly seem to apply to my situation. Windows Defender makes sense because the PC that has those entires in System Restore is running Windows Defender and I did uninstall the beta version and install the released version a couple of days ago. Thanks for clarifying the situation.

    I tried to Restore back to several different points before Windows Defender was updated and each of them said that it could not do the restore! Does that happen often with Restore? I have never tried to do a restore before.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    In my experience it happens frequently. I do not think much of System Restore although others here in the Lounge have had good experiences with it.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    Thanks Joe. I've always had a hard time visualizing how Restore could save enough data to make it really useful. Maybe that is the problem!

    Bill

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    Well, the intent of System Restore is to be able to get you back to a point when your PC was working correctly if you install software or hardware that appears to cause a problem. See Use System Restore to Undo Changes if Problems Occur for more information.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    Joe,

    Thanks for that link. I wish System Restore worked as well as that description! When it works it certainly will be useful. Windows Defender appears to be creating a Restore point each time it updates its definitions file in addition to when it was removed and installed. I think the Restore points for the definition updates are an overkill! I may uninstall it and look for another free anti-spyware program.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    Bill,
    I was certain that the RP's were due to Windows Defender (WD), and especially if one finds several of them, did see that before. However, since I have not used WD since the last beta I could not know for sure what/if any had changed in the released program. A quick check at the WD user forum and there is a thread with someone complaining about "increase of used space" with about 20 MB with every signature update. Well, they discuss for while until someone finds out about System Restore. In that context they mention your "Software Distribution Service 2.0".

    Newsgroups for WD

    As to using SR (restoring), I have only used it two times, both successful, but I had to cancel one restore since it didn't give the desired result. But it has been working OK otherwise.

    There are some "Do and Don'ts" when dealing with SR, and and I think everyone (who plans to use SR) should read a little about SR before one really need to use it and when setting it up.

    I guess that the "System Restore Service" is running on your PC. You can check it by running Services: Start > Run ... > "services.msc". "System Restore Service" should be running (Started) and set to auto.

    As you have not mentioned it, I guess you don't get any error message, or? Have you looked at Event Viewer for any related entries? Start > Run ... > "eventvwr.msc". Select System log. You can use the filter (View > Filter) and select "sr" or "srservice". To show all events in System log, select View, click Filter and then click Restore Defaults.

    Have you any other "problems" with you system, Help Center not working etc? Do you use some system tools on the PC.

    Do you have several partitions monitored by SR? By default it is monitoring all until one turn off for some partitions. In my case I have four partitions, but SR is only monitoring the OS/program part. Are you low on free space on any of the monitored partitions?

    Corrupt RP's can be due to improper shutdowns during creation of a RP (not likely all of your RP's); changes to monitored files done from another OS (dual-booting).

    If one has a really stable PC and no direct need for restore, one can test with removing every RP by turning off SR, and then turn it on again. It will remove every restore point when turned off, but can be a last resort. But do come back before if you have any other questions or answers.

    A semi-old Windows XP Expert Zone column: Windows XP System Restore

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    Argus,

    Thanks for the links to other info. The old article about System Restore was interesting. I haven't had a chance to check yet but the SR service certainly must be running becasue of all the restore points that are saved, right up to earlier on the day I last looked at it. That is my wife's PC so I don't have ready access to it right now! When I tried to do those restores there were no actual error messages. SR just finished with a page that instead of saying that it had completed it said that it was not able to do the restore and it had not changed the system. I have only one partition, the C: drive so there are no other OS's around to mess things up. I may go ahead and turn SR off and on to remove all the restore points just to clean up the ones that seem to not be able to work.

    The only other problem is that the other PC on my home network is suddenly having a hard time copying files from the Dell to it for backup purposes. Both PCs are plugged into a router and the whole arrangement worked fine for a long time. WinXP on the other PC got pretty flacky and I did a clean install and after that I couldn't get files from the Dell. That is still a really significant problem for me. I did some uninstalling and stuff on the Dell and the other PC to troubleshoot that problem and after re-installing the Dell no longer worked like it had been. It is back to normal operation now.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    Bill,
    If you like, you can check the Event Viewer's System log as I mentioned, and filter for related entries. Also, are you sure there is only one partition? Some Dell's (and other brands) have small hidden partitions as well.

    The problem with "unknown" partitions that are monitored is that they can become full (less than 50 MB free) and stop SR; no more RP's until more space or partitions is stopped from being monitored.

    When enabled SR is monitoring every drive and partition which can be bad, for instance with external drives. If changes are made to files when the drive is not connected it can result in all RP's becoming corrupt. The problem is that SR mounts them automatically when connected so one have to stop monitoring them every time they are connected. Better is to assign a permanent drive letter and turn off monitoring.

    Corrupt RP's can also be caused by virus/spyware, baddly written software that hangs the PC etc.

    Are you by any chance running any Symantec (Norton) product on the PC?

    As I said, I think it's always good to read and learn a bit about how the tools and programs are designed to work (not necessarily the same as what one think they will do). I'm not talking about you now, but many people, who use SR, treats it as a "all-in-one-tool"; i.e. whatever problem they have they will use SR.

    In my opinion SR is very powerful, and is at the end of the chain of tools and procedures available, before repair (upgrade in place), and a complete clean install.

    Talking about chain; all RP's are linked together with previous RP's and a log file keeps track of monitored files and files "backed up". If one RP becomes corrupt, the log file and files "backed up" don't match, then the chain is broken, and more RP's will fail.

    A solution in this case is either to use the Cleanup tool which can remove every RP but the last one, or better turn off and on SR.

    The problem with this solution is that one have to remove every RP when one needs system restore the most to achieve something (though, some as I mentioned use SR even if there are other measures). On the other hand if every RP is corrupt, there is no need to save them.

    There are some benefits of using NTFS instead of FAT when it comes to SR. The folder where the RP's and log files are stored is protected on NTFS, only the System account has access to the System Volume Information folder. Also, on NTFS the RP's are compressed. This protection can help save the RP's from corruption. On the other hand, those who chose FAT usually have good reasons for doing so.

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    I looked in the Event Viewer on teh Dell a few minutes ago and there are only 3 entries when I filter on srservice. Those three entries correspond to the three times I tried to Restore and each one just simply repeats the statement that Restore gave me that it was not able to do the restore and it had not changed my system.

    I don't know how I would know if the Dell has a hidden partition! I don't have any reason to believe that it does. The C: drive is the only one listed in SR.

    I do have Norton AntiVirus 2007 running on the Dell.

    I haven't noticed if the Dell drive is in NTFS or FAT format. I did notice that when I did my recent clean install on my laptop it said it was formatting the drive in FAT format. I believe it was in NTFS format before that, but I didn't see any way to make it use NTFS during the clean install.

    Bill

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    Re: Software Distribution Service 2.0 (Windows XP

    OK, my question about other partitions wasn't so much for the situation at hand, but for helping to avoid trouble in the future (SR stops creating RP's and deletes them when low on space). The only way I know, just now, to look for other partitions are right-click on My Computer and chose Manage, select Disk Management. Although maybe the tool Tweak UI, or a direct registry edit may hide a partition from the disk management console.

    So let's get direct to it: Norton has a, oh how shall I put this <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>, a habit of doing things in their own way. In this context, your Norton Antivirus product protects itself by preventing System Restore from changing Norton files. As side effect, if one like to look at it that way, it prevents System Restore from changing any file. Oy. Well, it has to be consistent, it can not only change some files when restoring, thus no files.

    Take a look at this page at Symantec: Message: "Restoration Incomplete. Your computer cannot be restored ..." when you run Windows System Restore

    What is says, basically, is: turn off Norton protection, do the Restore, turn on Norton protection.

    When/if you are going to do a restore you have to think about what you have done since that RP. A user account created after the RP will go away (not the user's files though), programs installed after the RP will stop functioning (they will not be uninstalled), SR removes/changes monitored files and may leave a non-working program. Do uninstall programs you have installed after the RP you are going to restore ( you can of course reinstall the program after the restore). So, as I mentioned earlier a restore is one of the last things to try. If you have some problem yo're trying to correct with SR, maybe some here at the Lounge can help.

    Also, before going for the real thing, you can create a RP manually as a test, then follow the instructions above and do a "test-restore" to that RP. After you can go back to your current situation with the "undo-RP" that is created during the restore process.

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