[SOLUTION] Windows Update and BITS services missing

You get: “Windows Update cannot currently check for updates, because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer.” on Windows 7 when checking for updates.

In my case, this happened on two computers that both were infected with the ZeroAccess trojan. The reason this message appears is that the malware deleted the registry keys for Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) and Windows Update (wuauserv).

I searched and searched today, but came up empty trying to find a utility or easy fix. Thankfully, I previously figured this out and here is what to do:   (this is an advanced fix and I highly recommend leaving it for professionals; I cannot support you if this causes problems)

1. Run SERVICES.MSC after hitting WINDOWS-R and look for Windows Update and Background Intelligent Transfer Service in the list of services. If they are missing, keep going.

2. Visit Smartest Computing’s cache of registry keys. Click Download at the top and save the SEVEN.ZIP (or adapt this if your OS is different) and pull out the bits.reg and wuauserv.reg, double-click each one and restart the computer.

3. Leave a comment if this worked or not. There are times when the files have been changes or removed that this wouldn’t work.

[UPDATE 4/2013] If this doesn’t work for you, Tweaking.com has an All-in-One Windows repair tools that has had success with some: http://www.tweaking.com/content/page/windows_repair_all_in_one.html I’m interested in feedback on that tool.

[UPDATE 11/2013] Some users have been able to repair Windows XP with this advice here:  http://www.philmorgan.net/techie-tools/windows-update-bits-background-intelligent-transfer-service-fix-batch-file-for-windows-xp

194 replies
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  1. Brian Stephens says:

    Thanks so much.. AVG caught something last week but it had already done some damage…. Didn’t know how much until something told me a had several updates missing…

  2. Suzanne Darling says:

    I stare in stunned disbelief! IT WORKED! Not to be taken lightly, as I have been avidly pursuing any and all solutions to this problem for WEEKS! Every day, so thank you so much! You are a lifesaver!

  3. Grateful Jonathan says:

    I am constantly amazed at human generosity in a world of capitalism. Thanks for paying it forward and providing a solution. Now I have fixed my daughter’s computer so she can continue her school assignments. I try in my work to do similar things for people wherever possible. Thanks so much.

  4. DJE says:

    Brilliant!

    Microsoft’s FixIt had already failed miserably.

    BITS was already running so I only and ran the one file (wuauserv) but Windows Update is fixed – THANK YOU!

  5. Steve Borger says:

    As a self employed (homebased) tech, I spend a lot of time to solve problem PC’s for my customers.
    After removing the FBI virus, Windows update would not load up to start the scan. Error 0×000046 or something. Spent a week and a half working on everything I could find including rewriting the registry for Services etc…
    Then you gave a link to try if your methods failed. They did so I tried: “http://www.tweaking.com/content/page/windows_repair_all_in_one.html”
    This program for XP worked like a charm. Decided to use it on my personal PC and another I was repairing. Excellent tool to clean up a PC….
    You wanted feedback on this tool and you got 10 thumbs up by me…..
    Thanks for the link…
    Steve

  6. Mike says:

    I have been without update since the end of Aug 2013 after I was infection w/ a Trojan. I just notice a few days ago, no Win 7 updates. Been digging for a fix and yours is the only one that worked, seven.zip. Both Windows Update and Background Intelligent Transfer Service were missing. Followed your download instructions and it worked perfectly. Thanks for your help.

  7. Paul Shunia says:

    Windows 7 32bit. I had Malwarebytes running but I could not activate the web protection. I tried Malwarebytes Root Kit and it did not work. Also, I was missing the Windows Update and Backround Intelligent Services. I started by using RogueKiller first, which found some things, then used the Tweak Repair All in One program. It Repair program fixed everything! My Malwarbytes started to work and I was able to update Windows. This is by far the best product I have EVER used. Thank you.

  8. Alicia says:

    I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH! i tried for months and months and months to update my computer i have 94 updates and i did this and it finally works u r a life saver :D

  9. Saleh says:

    I just installed them on my Windown 7 64-bit, and they seem to work fine :) my updates are running now.. so let’s see how that turns out.

    Thank you :D i have been looking for hours for a neat, concise website and fix.

  10. TK says:

    kudos big hommie. This worked on a 2008R2 server. Same bits as 7, but I’m sure I didn’t have to tell you that. Thanks again.

  11. offf says:

    Clened Win32.Ncurs infection
    Tried to import keys. Got same error message for bits — some keys locked.
    Restored rights. No the keys got imported.
    Reboot. Registry hives exist but no services though.

  12. jas says:

    man you are a genius my friend. I have spent the best part of 6 hours on microsoft and various other sites. Five minutes on here and its sorted. Many thanks

  13. Kevin says:

    I can’t thank you enough for this fix. I have spent hours going through Microsoft Support and countless hours trying to find a solution to this problem. I have not been able to update my system for several months and even though I did come to the conclusion that I had a zero access virus at some point, I did not find a solution. The solution worked perfectly! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  14. Tony says:

    I cannot thank you enough for the remedy to this problem. I was aware of the missing reg keys, but had gone no farther until I discovered your site. Five hours later, I am pleased to report that I was able to download and install 138 updates! Thanks!!!

  15. Desert Canuck says:

    Great solution! The BITS and Windows Update reg files worked perfectly on my Windows Home Premium (64-bit). Thanks!

  16. David Zappo says:

    The tool from Major Geeks was what worked for me (Win 7 – 64 bit) and restored Windows Update services the Update itself. The Reg Patches didn’t want to run for some reason, maybe some of the messed up permissions.

    Thanks!

  17. Prasad says:

    Hi,

    After trying multiple solutions from multiple websites, I am happy to report that the “Windows repair all in one tool” from tweaking.com worked the best.

    Thanks a million!

  18. Lizardflats says:

    The reg fix files didn’t solve this for me, but Tweaking.com has an All-in-One Windows repair tools did it!

  19. RADARPUNK says:

    I am a field tech. a consultant called me because our support dept. bailed on him. This fix worked and will make me look like a hero!

  20. Lorenzo says:

    Unfortunately neither the seven.zip and the All-in-One Windows repair tools worked for me now I don’t know what to do

  21. Roy S. says:

    I was having an issue regarding Windows Update and BITS services missing, so I followed your directions, 2. Visit Smartest Computing’s cache of registry keys. Click Download at the top and save the SEVEN.ZIP (or adapt this if your OS is different) and pull out the bits.reg and wuauserv.reg, double-click each one and restart the computer.
    WORKED LIKE A CHARM, my PC is downloading the updates as I’m writing this, YOU SIR ARE A GENIUS, THANK YOU!!!

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