If you’re thinking about reinstalling Windows XP, now is a good time to procrastinate…
I read a couple times recently that one of Microsoft’s recent changes to the Windows Update program was causing big problems for people that reinstalled Windows XP.
No, they didn’t disable Windows Update and lock you into an old version — although that might as well have been the intent…
Windows Update uses the Windows generic "host" program SVCHOST.EXE, which handles many, many Windows tasks. (See my article What is svchost.exe and why are so many copies running?)
Unfortunately, the recent change has triggered again a problem of the past with Windows Update — Windows Update, under certain circumstances, causes SVCHOST.EXE to go to 100% of CPU usage. This effectively locks up Windows.
What circumstances trigger this problem?
The latest problem is reported to be triggered by running WIndows Update after doing a new install / clean re-install of Windows XP and then updating to Service Pack 3.
Microsoft is reported to be aware of the problem and promises a fix. hopefully, that’s will be really soon, as the only options before that are to back out Service Pack 3 (not really an acceptable option because of needed security and other fixes), or reinstall again without installign SP3 (again, not acceptable), or turning off Automatic Updates in Windows XP (A Look at the Windows XP Security Center),
Note that running Windows Updates manually is also reported to trigger the problem.
So, why am I writing about this?
Very simply, a subscriber had the problem and wrote me for help:
I know you’ll say ditch it, but its a 3rd computer that had electrical problems. Anyhow replace HD with a larger One (80GB) with a look fo install Win 7. Ram is 2 GB.
Completely installed XP Home, SP1, SP 2, dotnet1.1, dotnet 3.0, dotnet 3.5 and dotnet 4.0. Did an sfc and no problems. THEN installed SP3. Thats when starting to have problems. Set updates to notify me when ready for downloads. Puter slowed down. Checked task manger and "svchost — system" was at 99% CPU use.Have web
browsed and many problems can cause this usage. Did read somewhat about Updates. Processor Explorer shows a pid of 880. From what I gather this is port 80. Turned off automatic updates and CPU usage dropped to a nice 13%. But still can’t update. Really want it to be secured before it kick to history and I can get a WIN 7 software that I can afford. I’m 75 and don’t have much money. Can you help with the above problem??
Unfortunately, I don’t have a way to recommend to get the updates without the Windows Updates program.
The good news is that Microsoft is reported to be working on a fix. Maybe try Windows Updates once a week to see if a new version has been released yet.