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Automatic Update causes SVCHOST.exe high CPU

Automatic Update causes SVCHOST.exe high CPU

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SVCHOST high CPU.  If stopping  the Automatic Update service, the high CPU issue disappears.


You can use the following method to verify whether it is AU caused SVCHOST high CPU.


1.       Run the command to find the PID of SVCHOST which is running on Automatic Update service.

Tasklist –m wuaueng.dll


2.       Run the command to enforce client to Automatic Update.  In certain circumstances, high CPU issue may recur after running the command.

Wuauclt /detectnow


3.       Find the PID of SVCHOST which is running on Automatic Update service, monitor and verify if it causes high CPU for long time. High CPU for short time is normal and is not a problem.




If Automatic Update causes SVCHOST.exe high CPU, please refer to the following KB articles:


You can try the following methods to resolve the issue.


1.       Install update KB927891


2.       If client still encounters persistent 100%CPU issue after installing update KB927891, please download and install the latest WSUS 3.0 client:


32-bit versions


64-bit version


The 2 updates (KB927891and WUA3.0 )to resolve AU related SVCHOST high CPU issue are available on WSUS now.


KB927891 is available on WindowsUpdate /WSUS. It is listed as Critical Updates in WSUS. Please refer to:


KB936301 is listed in WSUS as Critical Updates. It is to install on WSUS 2.0 SP1 server to upgrade Selfupdate tree to “WSUS 3.0” but keep the server as WSUS 2.0, so that client can get WUA3.0 by visiting WSUS selfupdate tree. Please refer to:


Based on our monitoring and customers’ feedback, the above two steps are able to alleviate the Issue.


For the latest update about the issue, please refer to the following web site.


If you have any question about the issue, please contact GCR PSS Security Support Group ( to get further technical support.

 [v1]Is this supposed to be here?

  • We have numerous 2003 servers which are having this problem. SVCHOST.EXE uses up 100% of CPU and causes all critical applications to fail. We've tried everything mentioned in this article - no success.

  • we experience the same problem with 2003 servers. 100 % CPU with 1 CPU servers.

  • I saw this recently in an XP VM I use . I chased it down to the "Automatic Updates" service. Disabling the "Automatic Updates" service cured it. (Also disables Windows Update from doing Auto updates, but I can live with that for now.)

  • We have the same issue, once updates are approved on WSUS our 2003 server go high cpu unstill the updates are actually installed, constant alerts on Nagios. WSUS client is 7.6.7600.256, 2008\r2 servers are fine. KB927891 is already installed.

  • svchost.exe 99%CPU started happening on three of my WinXPSP3 machines (two different offices) last nite.  (Win 7 PC has no problem.)  I disabled Automatic Update service using services.msc, and that fixed it.  MS or somebody must have sent some remote commands to all the XP Windows Update Agents recently.  I can't think of any other way to explain how all my XP machines in geographically different locations would start doing this simultaneously.

  • svchost.exe 99%CPU started happening on 2 of my XP machines. Win 7 is fine. Turning off Auto updates fixed this soooo turning off auto $buy$ Win 8/9/10 will also fix future problems for me.

  • I've seen it reported that if you apply the cumulative update for the version of IE on your workstation or server, this problem goes away, at least for a month. I've done this on a x86 2003 server successfully tonight.

    Go to this link for the full security bulletin:

    In that link, under Affected Operating Systems, look for your Operating System and your version of IE. The IE version is a link that will take you to the download page. Download and apply, then restart your Automatic Updates service and scan. I did not have to reboot my server after I applied the cumulative update but, of course, I had to reboot after applying the rest of the updates.

    Hope this helps.

  • Thank you, tcv -- your cited solution worked for me. I tried a number of other suggestions until finding yours; as soon as I applied the Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer and then rebooted the system wuauclt.exe is no longer hogging the CPU. Process Explorer shows 2 instances of wuauclt.exe currently active, but they are behaving themselves now!

  • Yes, thank you, tcv... manually downloading and installing that cumulative update helped me as well.  

    I've been dealing with this problem of svchost.exe -k netsvcs using up 100% of cpu for a few weeks now, running XP sp3 and IE8.  I figured out that I can stop the Automatic Updates service and everything seemed to calm down.  Kind of forgot about that last night and got frustrated enough to back up my files and reimage it.  Sat down this afternoon to install hardware drivers, SP3, IE8, antivirus and when I got to the point of downloading and installing critical updates it slowed to a crawl again.  The green bar just kept running on the update search and the processor fan started singing again.  Lo-and-behold svchost.exe was at 100% again.  I couldn't believe it.  Stopped the Automatic Update service and of course the update page errored out.  But the processor settled down again.  Popped the hard drive in another computer of the same model thinking it might be a hardware problem.  Of course it wasn't.  Even the older computer's hard drive, which hasn't been used in many months and was working ok when last used, exhibited the same problem and cleared up when I stopped the Automatic Updates service on it.  I did a little online searching from the old one while the green bar is still running for update search on the new one, found this thread and downloaded the cumulative update for XPsp3 and IE8 to a flash drive.  Popped it in the new one and stopped the Automatic Update service.  Installed the cumulative update on the new one and rebooted.  It is happily downloading and installing the first batch of 128 critical updates now and the cpu usage is bouncing around normally now.  It now has 2 instances of wuauclt.exe showing in Process Explorer under svchost.exe and behaving themselves, like wej said.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it stays happy.  

    Kind of hate that I pulled the trigger and rebuilt it last night if that cumulative update was all it needed.  But Automatic Update wasn’t working and it couldn’t find the cumulative update without it.  And I recall when it first stared happening a few weeks ago I didn’t have much luck searching for a solution to fix it.  I had reached the conclusion it must have been a malware problem that I had no desire to waste time fixing.  In my frustration last night I thought it was better to just blow it away and reload it.  Oh well, I got a fresh and speedy OS now even though that didn’t fix it.  

  • Really thanks Tcv, it worked for me too. Manually downloading IE update and installing it resolved this annoying issue

  • Anxious to try the update tcv mentions as I have been dealing with this issue for the better part of a week to no avail.  Here is the problem...the machine I most need to repair will not run the update!  I downloaded the update for XP SP3 IE8, but I get the following errors when trying to run it: "The system cannot find the file specified."  Then, "Installation did not complete."  HELP!

  • I had this problem after reformatting and doing a fresh install of XP SP3, found that if I first installed the "Micorosoft Update", Windows update began working as expected with no other fixes.

  • I had this problem after reformatting and doing a fresh install of XP SP3, found that if I first installed the "Micorosoft Update", Windows update began working as expected with no other fixes.

  • Thank you Tcv, it works !

  • This worked for me: ren "C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\DataStore\DataStore.edb" DataStore.edb.bak

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