This problem began about 4 days ago . . .
when a Microsoft automatic update was loaded onto both my systems.
Test your theory!
1. Please read through the information in the article, "WINUP-Third-Party Products That Conflict with Windows Update (Q241234)" and perhaps use some of the information for troubleshooting.
2. Service packs and hotfixes contain an Uninstall (Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel - click Q###### , click Change/Remove and then follow the instructions that appear or by running the Uninstall program from the command prompt - click Start, Run, type cmd, and then press Enter. Change to the folder C:\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\, where C: is the root of your hard drive, type Spuninst.exe, and then press Enter), which is a feature used to restore a computer to its previous state.
Note: When running the ServicePack.exe program to install, a subfolder named $ntservicepackuninstall$ is created in the systemroot folder, which is subsequently also used by Windows File Protection (WFP) to replace damaged or changed protected system files. The Hotfix naming convention followed by the extension .exe include the variables:
Q###### - the Microsoft Knowledge Base article number (for example, 123456)
XXX is the platform or operating system
YYY is the service pack level
ZZZ is the hardware platform
LL is the language
3. Search using the Find function to locate Spuninst.exe utility that supports the following switches:
/? Show the list of installation switches
/u Use Unattended mode
/f Force other programs to quit when the computer shuts down
/z Do not restart when the installation is complete
/q Use Quiet mode (no user interaction)
4. For example, to remove a patch in Unattended mode without restarting the system, use the following command:
%windir%\$ntuninstallQ??????$\spuninst\spuninst.exe /u /z
5. The article [Q329260] explains there are three folders created when SP1 is installed and the archive files that contain temporary and archived files used to remove it and the folders that can safely be deleted. This article warns that if the Windows\Servicepackfiles folder is moved or deleted, SP1 cannot be removed in the future.
6. The article [Q296861] describes how to install multiple Windows product updates (for example, critical updates, security patches, or hotfixes) that use Update.exe with only one restart. This procedure does not work howerver for product updates that do not use Update.exe as the installation program. For example, Internet Explorer updates for Windows XP use an INF-based installation instead of Update.exe. As a result, you cannot use this procedure to install multiple Microsoft Internet Explorer updates with only one restart on Windows XP.
7. Supplemental reading:
a. "Chapter 5: Installing, Uninstalling, and Managing Programs."
b. "How to remove Windows XP Service Pack 2 from your computer (Q875350)."
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