Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CPU Usage 100% AND svchost.exe

This isn’t my normal type of posting, but I am posting this here to help anyone that is having the same problem that I had. A couple of weeks back I installed Microsoft Office 2003 on my desktop (Windows XP OS) and within a day or so my CPU usage went up to 100% just after booting my machine. I temporarily fixed this problem by cutting off the Microsoft Automatic Updates. I couldn’t manually install updates either. I would try to install them and the page would hang up and the CPU would max out. This also happened with Windows Defender when I would try to update the definitions. In the words of Joseph Conrad from his novel Heart of Darkness, the horror, the horror!

First, I looked for all of the usual culprits (spyware, keyloggers, viruses, etc.) but I didn’t find anything. Anyway, I didn’t want to leave the updates turned off, so I searched numerous forums looking for a solution to no avail until today. After Microsoft Hotfixes/Patches didn’t work, I finally found the solution HERE, thanks to a very intelligent individual named Pati610. I wish that I could give Pati more credit, but all I have is her great post from the forum. Was it helpful? To use my student’s lingo, “Heck yeah it was!”

Here is the solution or the fix to a problem that was created by corrupt files downloaded from Microsoft’s Automatic updates that caused my CPU usage to peg out via the svchost.exe.

"1) turn off automatic updates, reboot, then manually go to windows
updates and install the updates, turn on automatic updates, reboot.

or (as in my case)

2) Perform these steps:

1. Click Start->Run, type "services.msc" (without quotation marks) in the
open box and click OK.
2. Double click the service "Automatic Updates".
3. Click on the Log On tab, please ensure the option "Local System account"
is selected and the option "Allow service to interact with desktop" is

4. Check if this service has been enabled on the listed Hardware Profile. If
not, please click the Enable button to enable it.
5. Click on the tab "General "; make sure the "Startup Type" is "Automatic".
Then please click the button "Start" under "Service Status" to start the
6. Repeat the above steps with the other service: Background Intelligent
Transfer Service (BITS)

Step 4: Re-register Windows Update components and Clear the corrupted
Windows Update temp folder

1. Click on Start and then click Run,
2. In the open field type "REGSVR32 WUAPI.DLL" (without quotation marks) and
press Enter.
3. When you receive the "DllRegisterServer in WUAPI.DLL succeeded" message,
click OK.
4. Please repeat these steps for each of the following commands:


After the above steps are finished. Sicne temporary folder of Windows Update
may be corrupted. We can refer to the following steps to rename this folder

1. Click Start, Run, type: cmd and press Enter. Please run the following
command in the opened window.

net stop WuAuServ
(note, you might need to reboot before the net stop command will work)

2. Click Start, Run, type: %windir% and press Enter.
3. In the opened folder, rename the folder SoftwareDistribution to SDold.
4. Click Start, Run, type: cmd and press Enter. Please run the following
command in the opened window.

net start WuAuServ

Thanks Pati for the great post. All systems are go thanks to you!


William Bishop (Bill)

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Blogger Dento said...

Worked for me! Thanks!!!

1:27 PM  
Blogger heather said...

Worked great! Awesome!

5:15 PM  
Blogger heather said...

Worked for me as well! Thank you so much! I was getting so frustrated!

5:15 PM  
Blogger photomic said...

Thanks Bill - sorted at last!

Solution (1) didn't work for me as, even in manual mode, PC would hang during Windows Update.

Following solution (2), success!

I can now stop wasting any more hours/days trying to fix this **** thing and get some real work done instead.


PS. Your link to Pati610's post appears to be broken.

6:23 AM  
Blogger roylec said...


Solution (2) seems to have done the trick. SvcHost now behaves itself.

I just can't help wondering if it something to do with 'Microsoft Update', so I'll post back after reinstalling it and running the scan again.

7:56 PM  
Blogger zzymurgy said...

This has been bugging me for weeks. Thanks for the post, it has worked and freed up my computer!

10:36 AM  
Blogger David said...

Since this post got so many good comments I thought to give it a try. I tried both options twice, and neither have seemed to work.

I'm still really frustrated. I don't want to have to reinstall windows.

7:09 PM  

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