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What is poqexec.exe – Primitive Operations Queue Executor (performs Windows updates)

This post tries to better understand what the poqexec.exe is and what it can do on your PC

Poqexec Exe What Is It

poqexec.exe runs after a reboot to update your programs

Ever noticed that Windows update automatically reboots your PC? Well, yes it’s quite annoying, we explain how to disable auto restarts after updates here, but that’s not the point. Windows updates wants you to reboot your PC because it is unable to update the OS and programs while it is running. This makes perfect sense, but have you ever wondered how Windows manages to get them installed anyway? Exactly, it uses an executable that runs right after a reboot. And as it happens it’s called poqexec.exe – Primitive Operations Queue Executor.

Pending.XML: Update Instructions

Ok, it gets a little more technical. It stores all update instructions for the Windows Updates in a file. The file is located at C:\Windows\WinSXS\Pending.XML – XML files are great because they are easy to open and read for everyone, so take a look with notepad++ if you dare.

Once the system is rebooted after a Windows update, it runs the C:\Windows\System32\POQExec.exe and this executable makes use of the instructions stoed in Pending.XML to update programs and service that were running last time.

Hopefully, this will clear up a few things and you will feel less distracted by this .exe file, because it’s not a virus, not a trojan, nor malware. However, in some cases it may get infected so make sure to run a virus scan and in particular scan System32 for rootkits

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Published: Thursday, August 16th, 2012 Last Modified: July 21, 2014

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