Continually get a "wuauclt.exe" pop-up message

16 bit MS-DOS Subsystem window

The NTVDM CPU has encountered an illegal instruction.
CS:1217 IP:0179 OP: 63 72 69 70 74 Choose 'Close" to terminate the application.

This message keeps popping up every 5 seconds. I click close and it pops up again. I cannot choose the "Ignore" button as it just keeps reappearing. Cannot close the window either. Have tried Task Manager to remove the process. Task Manager does not see it.

I have Windows Vista on a Dell Laptop. How do I stop this? What is the problem? Will purchasing a registry cleaner fix this problem? Which registry cleaner should I purchase?

Many thanks!

Question Info

Last updated October 24, 2018 Views 86,336 Applies to:
Hi Sheryl30,

Thank you for using Microsoft Answers Forum.

Since when are you facing this issue?

What are the hardware changes you made?

wuauclt.exe is initially a Windows Auto Update Client.

wuauclt.exe stays resident in the background and checks Microsoft website for the operating system updates.

Originally, wuauclt.exe is a legitimate system process that is located at C:\Windows\System32, but there are cases when wuauclt.exe is actually a disguised virus, Trojan or a worm.

If you find wuauclt.exe stored anywhere different from its original location, you should get really suspicious and scan your system for possible threats.

Search for the file and see if you have this in more than one location.

 If you find, run a Malware scan on your computer. Find a right program and run the Malware scan on your computer

You can also set your computer to Clean Boot state as you get this error randomly. This will help you figure out if any of the services running in the background are causing the problem.

Here is how you set your computer to clean boot: 

a.               Log on to the computer by using an account that has administrator rights.

                 Click Start, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER to start the System Configuration Utility.


b.             Ifyou are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.


c.             On the General tab, click Selective Startup, and then click to clear the Load startup items check box. (The Use Original Boot.ini check box is unavailable.)


d.            On the Services tab, click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box, and then click Disable all.

e.            Click OK, and then click Restart.


Here is a link to the article that will show you how to troubleshoot using Clean boot:

You can also try to run System File Checker tool (SFC.exe).  To do this, follow these steps:


1.       Open an elevated command prompt. To do this, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow.


2.       Type the following command, and then press ENTER:


sfc /scannow


The sfc /scannow command scans all protected system files and replaces incorrect versions with correct Microsoft versions.
However, you can also refer the link below for further information about System File Checker.

If the above steps does not help you, run a virus scan. Refer the link below:
I hope this helps you, Good Luck.


Manasa P-Microsoft  Support.


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