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Help! Why Can't I Access Windows Update or Security Websites?

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/4/2011

Computers that cannot access either Windows Update or websites related to security and antivirus is showing the symptom of infection by worm or other type of malware. This article will discuss why is this happening, how you can prevent this problem and also, to recover.

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    Infected PC is blocked to visit Windows Update and security websites

    There are malware that can disable services in Windows to prevent access to Windows Update. Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) and Windows Update Client services are two important services that will allow you to download and install updates for Windows. If these services have been disabled by malware, you will not be able to access Windows Update.

    Other symptoms of infection in addition to above are:

    1. You cannot access security-related websites and security forums.
    2. You are redirected to unwanted website whenever you try to visit antivirus vendor or security help forums.
    3. Your user account has been locked or the account policy is being reset. A password is suddenly required if you previously do not require password to logon to Windows.
    4. The malware has hijacked or modified the Hosts file in Windows by redirecting or preventing you in visiting security websites.
    5. Terminates antivirus programs.
    6. Prevent antivirus software to download updates or run a system scan
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    Prevention and Recovery

    Below are some steps that you can do to recover access to Windows Update and security websites:

    • Disconnect your computer from the internet or your home/office network. You need to do this to prevent infecting other computers.
    • Using a clean PC, download the Fix It solution 972034 by Microsoft that can reset the Hosts file in Windows. Save the ResetHOSTSFileBackToDefaults.msi file in your flash drive.
    • Use a non-infected computer to download portable anti-malware tools and store it in your flash drive.
    • Plug-in the removable drive in the infected PC. Browse to open the ResetHOSTSFileBackToDefaults.msi file. Let it reset the default Hosts file in Windows that has been modified by malware.
    • If you downloaded the portable anti-malware tools in your flash drive, use them to scan the PC for malware. Reboot when prompted and continue by re-scanning until the tool will find no more infection.
    • Verify that the system clean by reviewing the services in Windows. See if BITS, Windows Update Client, Windows Defender and also, Error Reporting have started.
    • Try to visit security and Windows Update websites.
    • If the problem continues, proceed in running the other tool that you downloaded – the HijackThis tool.

    To prevent this type of infection, you need to do the basic steps in protecting your computer and if possible, add layer of protection.

    The basic steps in protecting your PC is to keep it up-to-date, use anti-virus program that have good track record in detecting malware and do not forget to use firewall software to prevent intrusions and malicious software in making your computer a zombie.

    Add extra layer of protection by using any filtering file or services:

    An important action to prevent malware infection is to ensure that everyone is aware of what is going on, example: Always read internet and security news or blogs. Keeping yourself informed on what to avoid is a good thing.