LPREMOVE may cause repeating update installation hell

Discussion in 'Windows Vista Installation' started by hannu.nyman, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. hannu.nyman

    hannu.nyman Guest

    I recently installed a new HP 6830S laptop and ran into a strange
    problem, which I later identifying being due to the LPREMOVE task...

    Symptoms:

    After selecting the installation language (Finnish) for the Vista
    Business and installing updates from Windows update, everything seemed
    ok for a while. Then the PC started to behave strangely on second day
    after original install: an unscheduled update was released by
    Microsoft, and when Windows update installed it, it requested reboot.
    Then at reboot it said something about failed update and automatically
    retrying the update. After "configuring updates" for some time, at the
    subsequent automatic reboot there seemed suddenly to be many more
    updates to install, and the process seemed to take ages. I wondered,
    what is happening...

    The PC seemed unstable. Although the PC worked normally, roughly on
    every second boot it would again try to install dozens of updates.
    Part of the update install process seemed to include a counter for
    some 15000 files/registry keys rolling on screen, like with an larger
    update. I also ran the system file checker and it started complaining
    about errors.

    Looking into Windows event log I found out dozens of event 4371, 4372,
    4375, 4376 and 4386. The event texts seemed to be related to several
    update packages, including SP1 (which was preinstalled in PC). The
    update process seemed to mark the updates from permanent to installed
    to absent, and then later reversing markings to other direction.

    I decided to reinstall from scratch, just in case, and used HP's
    recovery tool to really start again the whole install from disk image.
    But again, after two days the same started happening, (as there was
    the other unsceduled update from Microsoft in October). This time I
    looked into all the possible event logs and log files, and finally
    identified the culprit: LPREMOVE

    There were long logs in TEMP directory regarding LPKSETUP (and
    LPREMOVE) program. So, it might be related to language packs. There
    was the task LPREMOVE which was setup to launch at every reboot and in
    case in two days after the original installation. The longest log file
    was over 600 KB long.

    So, as the PC was again reinstalling various updates at boot, i
    decided to start over third time, and to really analyze what is
    happening with LPREMOVE.

    LPREMOVE is not well documented, but I think that it removes the
    unused Vista language packs, which are either not supported by the
    specific Vista version, or are not used by the user. Searching the net
    revealed some information, but not much.

    LPREMOVE task is hidden in Task Scheduler in:
    Task Scheduler Library / Microsoft / Windows / MUI

    This time I disabled the LPREMOVE task right after first boot, and
    prevented it from running automatically. After installing the normal
    updates, I then manually started the task and monitored activity:
    - the LPREMOVE process seemed to take 20-30 minutes
    - the task seemed to progress one language pack at a time and then
    move to next language
    - for each language it first marks several updates uninstalled, then
    removes the language from system (and those updates), and then marks
    the same updates installed again.

    After the task had been allowed to run into completion, there were no
    problems.

    Conclusion:

    So, my reading of this is that Vista's LPREMOVE task starts
    automatically, and may cause serious trouble if it is interrupted by a
    reboot.

    When interrupted by reboot (e.g. due to a reboot request by Windows
    Update), the status of many updates may be left mixed, if LPREMOVE has
    just changed their status. They can be left marked either uninstalled,
    install in progress, installed or permanent. At the next reboot the
    update system tries to reinstall all "half installed" updates, and
    this may then break the things for good. As LPREMOVE did not ran into
    end, it will then restart, and will again starts working language by
    languagge the whole process.

    So, when installing Vista, please be aware about LPREMOVE task and
    that if it starts, you need to let it run into end before rebooting.
    This can take 20-30 minutes, like it did for me.

    I am not even sure if that task is really needed to be allowed to run
    or not. It can also be manually removed by running the command:
    lpremove /c
    http://www.windowsvistauserguide.com/command_line/command_line_lpremove.htm
     
    hannu.nyman, Nov 8, 2008
    #1
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