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Sunday, July 01, 2007

SVCHOST.EXE 100% CPU and Windows Update Services - Update!

A short while back, I posted on the problem that I was having with my Windows XP machine. The symptoms I was seeing were that my computer was sluggish and behaving like it had a virus, malware, trojan, or spyware on it. Not to mention that it was using up 99% to 100% of my CPU for 15-20 minutes at a time.

At that time, the post talked about a work around that Microsoft had posted that was only if you had the specific issues with your computer. They would not admite that there was really a bug in the Windows Update Services on the machine that needed to be taken care of.

My how they have changed their tune! Basically, during a recent update I was greeted with the following update from Microsoft's Windows Update Services during a patch release:

Microsoft Windows Update Services SVCHOST 100% CPU Fixed with Update KB927891

The new update, KB927891 apparently addresses the bug in the Windows Update Services as its description. "This is a reliability update. This update resolves an issue in the Windows Installer (MSI) that can affect performance during software updates. After you install this item...."

No kidding, it does affect both systemn performance and reliability. Thanks Microsoft for being a day late an a dollar short on this one. Here it is directly from the Microsoft Site on KB827891:

When you try to install an update from Windows Update or from Microsoft Update, you experience the following symptoms:• The system may appear to become unresponsive when Windows Update scans for updates that use Windows Installer.
• You receive an access violation error in the Svchost.exe process. This process is related to the Automatic Updates service. This access violation occurs when you use Automatic Updates to scan for updates by using the daily automatic schedule or when you visit the Microsoft Update Web site to manually scan for updates.
• A memory leak occurs when Windows Update scans for updates that use Windows Installer.
• Windows Update scans take a very long time, sometimes hours, to finish.
And then the reason technically for the problem:
Important Many instances of the Svchost.exe process may be running on a Windows-based computer. These Svchost.exe processes control certain tasks. The software update that is described in this article is only designed to address the problem that is mentioned in the "Symptoms" section. Other problems that you experience with Svchost.exe may require alternative resolutions or troubleshooting steps.

To resolve this problem, you must install this update together with the Windows Update Automatic Client 3.0. The Windows Update Automatic Client 3.0 will automatically be released through Automatic Updates by June 30, 2007. The updated Windows Client changes the thread modeling to move MSI scans to a thread that is separate from the user interface.

For the MSI update, install one of the following updates based on the version of Windows that is installed. To determine the version of Windows that is installed, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then click OK.
2. In the System Properties dialog box, click the General tab, and then notice the information that appears under System.
After you download the appropriate update, double-click the update package to install the update.

Thanks Microsoft for posting an easier fix than we had before. Hopefully this will solve the issue for others now! Interestingly, this also affects Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 2000, and Microsoft Windows 2003!

Please let me know if this fixed the issue for you with a comment below.


Anonymous said...

I'm getting these problems but in Vista, exact same scenario, it seems, unresponsive while/after doing MS updates.. this and previous link apply to no-Vista OSs - any update on Vista yet??