Beware Software Distribution Service 2.0

Has cost me a lot of angst!


I had some issues installing ntrack 4.1.5 Build 2042 but solved them. You can follow that thread here:…&t=4398

However, tonight I added onto where I was last night… more apps, another Windows Update, et cetera. Then I tried to run ntrack… and it hung. So I started backing out of Restore Points. When I backed out of Software Distribution Service 2.0 then ntrack started working again. I knew SDS 2.0 was part of Windows Update but I didn’t know of any problems… until I did a Google search. Do a search on Google and you’ll see a lot of people asking (in essence) “What is Software Distribution Service 2.0, how did it get installed, and why has it hosed my computer?” It’s involved with Validation and it’s also considered “spyware” (it reports back to Microsoft). Here is an example of one person’s frustration:

There are at LEAST the following ways of receiving updates from Microsoft: Software Update Services (server based), Windows Server Update Services (server based), WindowsUpdate, Microsoft Update, and Microsoft/Windows Update Catalog. Oh, yeah, and Automatic Updates which is a client to one or more of these if I remember. Wouldn’t it be nice if they worked on ONE updating program that actually WORKED! Sorry, a little rant there…



I came up with this:


That’s a good link Kingfish. I read about other complaints that I.E. slowed down considerably after installing SDS. You’ll know it when you install it… it has considerably more text on the screen telling you Microsoft must download this software et cetera baloney. I NEVER turn Automatic Updates on at home (at work we use SUS and WSUS), I always do it manually so I can control what and when. So it’s interesting what that post said about Automatic Updates…

I’m glad you have posted your problems with SP2. I just installed Winxp with SP1, and was trying to figure out how to upgrade the SP to 2. Now that I have read your posts, I think I’ll just be satisfied with what I have.

Thankya, thankya vury much.


Oh, wow, something weird just happened on my PC at work. I was typing up a lambast of Windows Genuine Advantage Validation tool and suddenly all my text was selected and deleted. I didn’t do it.

Anyway, more info. Software Distribution Service 2.0 is installed as part of the Windows Genuine Advantage Validation tool when you run Windows Updates after a SP2 installation. You don’t know it, but this installs the spyware Microsoft uses to keep track of whether you are using legitimate software. In this article:

… Microsoft states how happy they are that 40,000,000 people have selected to install this tool. I promise 39,999,999 don’t know what they are installing. Let’s see… let’s create really crummy software with lots of security holes, have rampant reports around the internet about how you MUST patch your system or your are in huge danger, then as part of the download which you think is patching your system the manufactured not only installs spyware but also damages your ability to work. Interesting concept. I have read Microsoft is targeting volume licenses (which we have legally bought) as illegal.

On any PC’s I install SP2 on I will nwo be downloading my patches some other way… Windows Update Catalog, et cetera.


Here is the text you will see when you run Windows Update andit’s getting ready to install SDS et al. You won’t see the details unless you expand Details. No part of this says you are going to be installing Software Distribution Service 2.0.

Windows Update

To use this latest version of Windows Update, you will need to upgrade some of its components. This version provides you with the following enhancements to our service:

Express and custom installation: Choose only the most recent critical updates or pick and choose from all available updates.
Smarter downloads: If downloading is interrupted, the process will start up where it left off the next time you download that update.
Smaller downloads: Only the files your computer needs are downloaded, saving download time and connection-speed costs.
One version: Only the most recent updates are offered to you.
Less clutter: You can now hide updates you don’t want to see.
Update news: A News from Microsoft section on the Windows Update home page displays tips and the latest information.


Microsoft Windows Installer 3.1
2.5 MB , 1 minute
The Microsoft Windows Installer 3.1 is the application installation and configuration service for Windows. The additional features in version 3.1 help make creating, distributing, and managing updates to applications easier and more efficient.

Update for Windows XP (KB898461)
477 KB , less than 1 minute
This update installs a permanent copy of Package Installer for Windows to enable software updates to have a significantly smaller download size. The Package Installer facilitates the install of software updates for Microsoft Windows operating systems and other Microsoft products. After you install this update, you may have to restart your system.

Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130)
443 KB , less than 1 minute
The Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool enables you to verify that your copy of Microsoft Windows is genuine. The tool validates your Windows installation by checking Windows Product Identification and Product Activation status. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer. Once you have installed this item, it cannot be removed.

Total: 3.4 MB , 2 minutes

Hi Paul:
I’m not sure if I’m gonna have any XP issues where I am and with my set-ups… But how … in your opinion is this likely to affect me and my '98SE issues? What would be a good plan of recourse/attack would you suggest for these issues with my '98SE /n-Track build 2042 installs?

This is a fastenating topic… I see that these MicroSoft installs could infringe on some illegal activity on the part of MicroSoft… Do you think?



I see that these MicroSoft installs could infringe on some illegal activity on the part of MicroSoft… Do you think?

That’s what half the world’s population thinks, Bill.
Yet no one has been able to do something about it.
Maybe some anti-terrorist act…?

Hi TallPaul,

There is an easy answer to all of this, just format your computer and install any of the free linux OS packages out there. I have been toying with this for quite a while but I do not feel like learning all the new software that I would need to install to replace all the current software I already use.

MicroSoft and spyware, Sony and spyware… there are many reasons to switch to linux. If only N-Track was a linux program… :)

Yea… it’s pretty frustrating, for us struggeling/creative n-Trackers…

There was quite the TO-DO when Flavio posted the first compliant .netframwork version of n-Track… if you remember… Flavio and all the other programmers bit-the bullet and fell into “Line”… Well… that’s what I think happened… IT might not have been quite-that-way… We… up here… all voiced our humble opinions and then everyone “Jumped” On-board… and installed whatever that build, was…

Where’s all THIS gonna take us? and when will IT all end? :O

If I appear to be Ranting… tell me… I’d just like to be left alone with my little piece of the PIE… :O ???


Hi DrGuitar, and All:
I missed your post with all my ranting, and all…

My RADAR buddy, Wayne and I argue/discuss this matter, every time we see one-another…

He jumped off the Wagon several years ago, and got tied up with The RADAR Turnkey system…

It turns out that it’s probable that each of us may have invested equal amounts of dollars into our set-ups… But when the creative urges HITS him he doesn’t have to Boot-into-Windows to satisify his FIX…

I don’t aggree with him. on every aspect of his set-up… AND… sometimes he can be a BIG I-Told-You-So… And I do aggree with him sometimes… He’s right… Well… he’s not entirely right…


I don’t know anything really about this- I’ve stopped laoding service packs, etc. at SP-1, as that’s what I learned about optimization, etc., when I started. I’ve stuck with it- and I keep my music PC off-line. I’ve got to admit to being uncomfortable loading up .Net Installer…

I asked the guy who services my machine (we have sort of a running experiment with this) to not install any services/attributes/etc. that I don’t need, including clients, other network stuff. No modem. No anti-virus. I do all my downloading and surfing on this buggy I’m on for this post, and scan 'em before they go to the studio.

I do this to avoid trouble, and unnecessary education! I’m not about computers, I’m just about making music. But maybe that’s a thing of the past- maybe it’s time to think about an alternative to Microsoft? I.e., the pop-culture format…

I have to go with Sloom. I don’t buy into all of this virus paranoia and need for update crap. I don’t need Symantic screens popping up out of nowhere with some dubious message nor do I need MS telling me a “Critical Update is Now Available”… Critical ?..come on.

If my machine works the way it is supposed to, how much “better” can it be? It came with SP2 already installed but, after the hassles I had fixing that “upgrade”, I won’t do any others.

Sorry 'bout carrying on… :O


co-sign with Sloom and g8torcliff…

My “recording” partition boots to a copy of XP that’s straight off of the install CD (at SP1), and of course I’ve got a bunch of services disabled, etc… and it never touches the net. XP runs just fine like this… In fact, the only thing that crashes on a regular basis is n-Track. (build 1846, I refuse to go any higher yet)

SP2 has behaved just fine on my DAW. Though, I am not a compulsive updater either, so it is pretty much SP2 with nothing else.


My “recording” partition boots to a copy of XP that’s straight off of the install CD (at SP1), and of course I’ve got a bunch of services disabled, etc… and it never touches the net. XP runs just fine like this… In fact, the only thing that crashes on a regular basis is n-Track. (build 1846, I refuse to go any higher yet)