I ran into this issue when I got a new HP laptop. After going through the setup of the brand new PC, I found that I couldn't run updates. After some escalations, I recieved this fix
reg delete HKLM\Components /v AdvancedInstallersNeedResolving
Please note, that the engineers worked through quite a few logs on my machine to get this, so it may not apply to your case. After applying, autoupdate's been working like a charm!
Update: Jan 29/09
Robear Dyer was kind enough to point me to a new KB article that covers this and other fixes. Here’s the link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946414
I’ve seen several comments on this command above not working. If so that means this is not the issue you’re facing. Please try the support link form the Jan 29 update. If that doesn’t work, please do get in touch with MS Support.