Windows Update Nightmare
Posted on: August 13th, 2008
Here’s a story of an unsolved mystery. If your computer goes into a lockup mode – no response to starting programs shortly after you start it up, chances are you are one of the victims of the Microsoft Update flaw.
A client brought his computer to me with the symptom that he was not able to use his computer for the first 20 minutes after he turned it on.
I got onto it and found some minor infections, did a full cleanup of temporary files and the registry. At the first look it seemed okay, was a lot faster. Then I tried to do the windows updates. The computer went into a 100% CPU use and practically nothing could be done. If I waited it out it took approximately 20 minutes to settle down and get the computer back into a responsive state.
In analyzing this I found that the svchost.exe was running at nearly 100% CPU usage. This is a Windows process that handles all the services, including the Automatic Update service that whacked out.
So I went to my good friend Google, searched and shortly found a recent article in Computer World and a reprint of that article at another place about the same problem. According to that it’s a common problem and the fixes issued by Microsoft does not work. I gave it a try and downloaded the Microsoft patch and ran it. It didn’t work. I also found a script that would clean out the automatic updates database. That didn’t help either.
So the options I had is to A, reinstall windows from scratch, or B, disable Automatic Updates. Because option A wasn’t feasible I had to disable Automatic Updates to make the computer usable. But I made sure that the computer’s virus protection and firewall are in good shape.
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