I tried to download updates for my home pc [Win XP(SP3)] yesterday, but since I've set it to manual, I had to restart the service. However, when I ran services.msc and right-clicked Start on the Automatic Updates line, I get an error message "Could not start the Automatic Update service on Local Computer. Error 2: The system could not find the file specified." I've gone online and found out this is usually caused by some malware attack (is this true?). I've then tried to do the following recommended fixes:
1.Ran my local AV program (avast!) and found nothing.
2.Downloaded MS Security Essentials, updated and ran it, but again no malware was found.
3.Checked the ImagePath Value in the Registry key HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wuauserv and verified it is "%systemroot%\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs" and not a fake path like %fystemroot%\.. netsvcs.
4.Ran sfc.ex /scannow and no prompts came up.
5.Ran HijackThis and spotted this suspicious line --- O23 - Service: UPHClean - Unknown owner - ?:\P?ogr?m Files\UPHClean\uphclean.exe (file missing). I've tried several times to delete this but it still comes back, and still shows up after running HJT several times.
As of today, I still can't get updates or restart the service. This thing has me worried like a cornered cat, and I'll really appreciate any help you guys could extend me.