Windows 7 - SVChost.exe 99% CPU Usage with SP3 installed

Asked By Wil on 08-May-08 11:48 PM
Hello,

I recently installed SP3 on my laptop and desktop PC's running Windows XP
Home SP2.  Everything was fine for about a week, but last night, both PC's
slowed till a standstill and became unusable.

The show an instance of SVCHost.exe using 99% of the CPU.  I used Process
Explorer to narrow the problem down to the Automatic Update service.  Stop it
and SVCHost.exe goes to 0% usage and System Idle jumps back to 99%.

I left the PC on today for 12 hours to see if it was actually downloading
something and might "fix" itself.  After 12 hours, it was still using 99% for
svchost.  No network activity light and no hard drive usage; just running the
PC full bore.

I knew this was a problem that happened to some people a year ago, and there
was a fix.  However, wasn't SP3 supposed to have all those fixes.  Why did
this start happenening on two different PC's at exactly the same time,, with
both having SP3 installed.

Also SP3 was installed from disc, not download and installed with no errors
on either machine.

Can anyone help me with a solution that will allow me to use automatic
updates, and not have svchost.exe use 99% of my CPU.  With the problem, it
takes 10 minutes to open Explorer, or even 5 minutes just to get a command
prompt to come up.




Carey Frisch [MVP] replied on 09-May-08 01:40 PM
When you run Windows Update to scan for updates that use Windows Installer, including Office updates, you may experience a memory
leak, or you may receive an error message for the Svchost process
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/916089/

--
Carey Frisch
Microsoft MVP
Windows Desktop Experience -
Windows Vista Enthusiast

---------------------------------------------------------------

Hello,

I recently installed SP3 on my laptop and desktop PC's running Windows XP
Home SP2.  Everything was fine for about a week, but last night, both PC's
slowed till a standstill and became unusable.

The show an instance of SVCHost.exe using 99% of the CPU.  I used Process
Explorer to narrow the problem down to the Automatic Update service.  Stop it
and SVCHost.exe goes to 0% usage and System Idle jumps back to 99%.

I left the PC on today for 12 hours to see if it was actually downloading
something and might "fix" itself.  After 12 hours, it was still using 99% for
svchost.  No network activity light and no hard drive usage; just running the
PC full bore.

I knew this was a problem that happened to some people a year ago, and there
was a fix.  However, wasn't SP3 supposed to have all those fixes.  Why did
this start happenening on two different PC's at exactly the same time,, with
both having SP3 installed.

Also SP3 was installed from disc, not download and installed with no errors
on either machine.

Can anyone help me with a solution that will allow me to use automatic
updates, and not have svchost.exe use 99% of my CPU.  With the problem, it
takes 10 minutes to open Explorer, or even 5 minutes just to get a command
prompt to come up.
Wil replied on 09-May-08 02:01 PM
This doesn't help. Your link references updates that are included in the SP3
install.  So the updates you link says to install to correct that problem
were already installed with Service Pack 3.

Further, I did not have this problem prior to SP3 being installed.  Please
tell me how to correct the problem with Service Pack 3 already installed.
Carey Frisch [MVP] replied on 09-May-08 02:21 PM
Please initiate a free Windows Update support incident request:
https://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?LN=en-us&gprid=6527&x=16&y=7

--
Carey Frisch
Microsoft MVP
Windows Desktop Experience -
Windows Vista Enthusiast

---------------------------------------------------------------

This doesn't help. Your link references updates that are included in the SP3
install.  So the updates you link says to install to correct that problem
were already installed with Service Pack 3.

Further, I did not have this problem prior to SP3 being installed.  Please
tell me how to correct the problem with Service Pack 3 already installed.
TaurArian replied on 10-May-08 04:07 AM
Hi Will, ignore the title of this KB article and reinstall the WU Agent -
Updates are not installed successfully from Windows Update, from Microsoft Update, or by
using Automatic Updates after you repair a Windows XP installation
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/943144

Reboot.

If that hasn't helped contact MS for free support -

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 (All Languages)
http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?ln=en-us&prid=11273&gprid=522131

Free unlimited installation and compatibility support is available for Windows XP, but
only for Service Pack 3 (SP3). This support for SP3 is valid until April 14, 2009. For
more information about this policy, visit the Windows XP Support Lifecycle page located at
http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=3223. Chat and e-mail support is available only
in the United States and Canada. For all other Windows XP issues, visit the Help and
Support site at http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?gprid=1173, and then choose
your product.

. US:
http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?ln=en-us&prid=11273&gprid=522131

. CA:
http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?ln=en-ca&prid=11273&gprid=522131

. UK:
http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?ln=en-uk&prid=11273&gprid=522131

. AU:
http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?ln=en-au&prid=11273&gprid=522131

. Other:
http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?gprid=1173
select Windows XP | select Windows XP Service Pack 3


--

TaurArian [MVP] 2005-2008 - Update Services
http://taurarian.mvps.org
======================================
How to ask a question: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555375
Computer Maintenance: Acronis / Diskeeper / Paragon / Raxco
Guacamol replied on 20-May-08 07:02 PM
I tried using the commands in the prompt.  A dialog box told me that the .dll
was not found.  So I tried downloading and installing the WU Agent only to be
told it's allready installed.  SVChost is driving me nuts!  Any other ideas.

Thanx,
Mike
p replied on 20-May-08 09:33 PM
I had the same problem....what can we do to fix it?
freeheele replied on 22-May-08 07:59 PM
I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.......I was hesitant to apply sp3 and I SHOUD
HAVE TRUSTED MY INSTINCTS!
When will MS fix this piece of crap!??????
Shenan Stanley replied on 22-May-08 08:05 PM
Assuming that "MS" is "Microsoft" and "this piece of crap" is "Windows XP
SP3" (not just any SP3) then your solution is likely not coming from
Microsoft, but from your own evaluation of your specific issue and finding
the solution to that problem with SP3.

I suggest that you find out what with your specific system and settings
(software, hardware, etc) has caused the issue with Windows XP SP3.  I would
then properly prepare in the future before you install something as large as
a service pack (SP3 contains SP1a, SP2 and 1174+ updates after SP2 until
SP3.)  Here's some stuff to consider...

A place to get FREE support for SP3 installation issues *from Microsoft*...
http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?ln=en-us&prid=11273&gprid=522131


WinXP SP3 - Read all prerequisites for a successful installation
http://msmvps.com/blogs/harrywaldron/archive/2008/05/08/windows-xp-sp3-read-all-prerequisites-for-a-successful-installation.aspx

Steps to take before you install Windows XP Service Pack 3
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950717

Release Notes for Windows XP Service Pack 3
http://download.microsoft.com/download/c/d/8/cd8cc719-7d5a-40d3-a802-e4057aa8c631/relnotes.htm

Key things to note:

Internet Explorer:
Internet Explorer 8, and then install Windows XP SP3, you cannot uninstall
Internet Explorer.  To avoid this, ensure Internet Explorer 7 or a beta
version of Internet Explorer 8 is not installed before installing Windows XP
SP3.  If you have already encountered this issue, uninstall Windows XP SP3,
uninstall Internet Explorer, and then reinstall Windows XP SP3."

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2002:
Edition 2002 with SP1, Windows XP Media Center Edition may malfunction.  To
avoid this, install Windows XP SP2 before you install Windows XP SP3.  If
this issue has already occurred, uninstall Windows XP SP3, install Windows
XP SP2, and then reinstall Windows XP SP3."

It seems some people are unable to get further updates after installing
SP3...  Seems some have experienced a symptom similar to doing a repair
installation on Windows XP - and the same fix seems to work for them for
that...

Updates are not installed successfully from Windows Update, from Microsoft
Update, or by using Automatic Updates after you repair a Windows XP
installation
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/943144

Some people experience an "endless reboot" issue...

From PA Bear [MS MVP]:
Workarounds:

http://msinfluentials.com/blogs/jesper/archive/2008/05/08/does-your-amd-based-computer-boot-after-installing-xp-sp3.aspx
[NB: The above has been updated many times and now includes "a small tool
that will detect the IntelPPM problem and mitigate it before installing
[WinXP SP3]."

1. Boot into Safe Mode and rename INTELPMM.SYS to INTELPMM.OLD.
2. After booting into Safe Mode:
Start --> Run --> (copy/paste)
sc config intelppm start= disabled
-->  OK --> Reboot into normal (Windows) mode.

Other references include:
. http://aumha.net/viewtopic.php?p=187790#p187790
.
http://msinfluentials.com/blogs/jesper/archive/2008/05/08/does-your-amd-based-computer-boot-after-installing-xp-sp3.aspx
. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/09/windows_xp_sp3_reboots_crashes/
.
http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9084418
. You receive a "Stop 0x0000007E" error message after you upgrade to Windows
XP Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3 on a non-Intel-processor-based computer
(Revised 06 May-08)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/888372

Good luck!

--
Shenan Stanley
MS-MVP
--
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
Dr. W replied on 08-Jun-08 10:40 PM
For brevity I've removed all previous posts text from this response.

Though I don't yet have an answer to this issue I am experiencing it on one
of my two computers.  My laptop isn't causing me this issue.  My desktop,
however, is.

There were very little differences in the installations at the time that I
saw the issue start.  Both have Windows XP Pro and both were updated to SP 3.
While the Laptop has Office 2003 Professional and all ancilary Office 2003
products (Visio, InfoPath, FrontPage, Project...) the Desktop has all of that
plus Office 2007 Enterprise and a couple of extras such as Visio, Project and
Expression Web.

When I installed the Office 2007 products I opted to keep all previous
versions of Office as well as the Download a file to keep it running and the
automatic updates.

I installed Office 2003 and Office 2007 after installing Windows XP SP3.  I
did not notice any hit to performance until after installing Office 2007.

This leads me to believe that it is Office 2007 or part of the installation
that is causing the CPU issues.

I've installed Windows XP SP3 on many computers to date (I am in an IT
department and take care of over 200 workstations - and sadly over 200
end-users).  SP3 has installed on all of them through automatic updates and
I've yet to receive a complaint.

It might be helpful to find out how many people who have this problem also
have installed Office 2003 with it's automatic updates turned on.

But I digress...

What has prompted me to post this reply is Sheenan's response to Freeheeler.
Though Freeheeler should not have used the verbage that he/she did I've
found myself in his/her level of frustration many times in the past 5 years.

There have been many Microsoft Updates that have brought our computers to
their knees.  I've spent many mornings in crisis mode because a Microsoft
Update has crashed computers.  Usually it starts with the VPs of the company
because they are there early (yes that isn't a typo).

We had an Automatic Update bring our Exchange Server down and it took a day
and a half for the poor gal who had to fix it to talk with Microsoft and
eventually determine that it was Microsoft's Update that caused the problem
in the first place.

Though I sympathize with Freeheeler's frustration I don't condone his/her
use of language.

I also strongly oppose Sheenan's retort.  Microsoft has conditioned us to
beleive that any and all "Critical Updates" must be installed as soon as
possible.  When they do put information about the update it is usually a very
long and complicated document that none of us in the "real" world have the
time to read and fully comprehend.

Microsoft's support is no longer what it used to be as well.  I used to be
able to contact a real person by phone and get immediate, accurate and fully
understandable help to resolve a problem as soon as possible.

Microsoft understood that happy customers are faithful customers.

Now I can't get to anyone on the phone.  If I can I'm stuck with someone who
cannot speak without an accent so strong that I cannot understand them.

Microsoft's documentation used to fully cover the software that it was
written for.  I work with Visual Basic 6.0 Pro, Visual Studio .NET 2003 Pro,
and have just received Visual Studio .NET 2008 Pro.

I am here to tell you that Microsoft's documentation is no longer what it was.

I worked with VBA 6 a while back.  The documentation was flawless.  It was
truely a place to go to get any questions answered.

It is no longer the case.

I suggest that Shenan get off his/her high horse and start using compassion
towards those who've been hit by anything Microsoft that has caused their
computer to crash or become non-responsive.  These are people who have work
to do and cannot do it because of a possible poorly written update.

I've been there.  I know.

Let's become helpful, not condescending!

Whether you like what I say or not, there you have it.
Olórin replied on 10-Jun-08 05:29 AM
Don't confuse terseness with condescension. And Shenan WAS helpful - he
provided *plenty* of material, some of which should have been researched
before applying something as significant as a Service Pack to an Operating
System, some of which provided help fixing the problems it caused (including
a link to free support from Microsoft). Topped off with a "Good luck!". What
more do you want?

If the OP had had a quick scout in the "real world" before installing SP3,
he/she would have found *plenty* of people advising "wait a while, see what
the early adopters find".
DrW replied on 10-Jun-08 01:24 PM
Though I agree that updates such as Service Packs need to be researched
prior to installation I must state that I was not informed of the
installation of Service Pack 3.  Not on the computer that I am having
problems with or many of the computers that I take care of at work.

If a Service Pack needs to be researched prior to installation then tell me
why Microsoft has decided to make it an automatic, unattended update?

If Microsoft has made it an automatic update then how does anyone think they
can tell someone that "they should have researched it prior to installation"?

The problem here then is not on the end users side but rather on Microsoft's
decision to publish a Service Pack as an automatic and silent update.

It would have been far more appropriate for Microsoft to post the
availability of the Service Pack as well as the preliminary preparation
procedure towards the installation of the upgrade.

Now there are a lot of computers out there that may be suffering from this
malady.  That means that there are a lot of people who use those computers
for critical business use that are down or having serious problems.

I'm sorry but even though good luck is a nice touch it is far from adequate.

Information on what to do prior to the installation is a little too late.

Information about issues not related to this problem such as a 0x7e stop
error also is not appropriate.  This isn’t the reported issue.

What would be acceptable is a resolution so that we can get back to work on
business matters, not on troubleshooting computers.

Please don’t read any emotion into this post, there is no anger here.  There
is a lot of frustration however.
Shenan Stanley replied on 10-Jun-08 01:41 PM
Actually - if everything is on schedule - today is the first day Automatic
Updates will offer SP3 to those people with the setting configured to
automatically download and install updates.  Other users may have gotten it
if their settings for AU were different than that - but they still had to
choose (in those cases) whether they installed it or not from the list they
were shown - and if they just click on it and don't specify what to/what not
to install - why do they have their settings set to notify them anyway?


Most people *expect* things just to work and just to stay secure.  Sad - but
it seems to be true.  They purchase some software and if it doesn't
automatically configure for them - they get frustrated and remove it or
replace it or...


What defines "a lot" and how did you come up with this?


*shrug*
I volunteer here - that's it.  I gave my advice politely even faced with the
obvious obstinance of the poster.  If you don't take it as friendly advice -
so be it.  Each has to make their own determination of everything in life -
everything is from their perspective.


But it may be all someone has if they didn't bother to prepare.


There was no reported issue.


Okay - in a business enviroment - involving computers - you should be able
to revert to your latest backup - most likely made moments before you
applied something as critical as a service pack - but likely at least the
night - possibly the weekend before.


Frustration is good - but you are directing your frustration about your
problems onto others - from my perspective.

--
Shenan Stanley
MS-MVP
--
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
CW replied on 10-Jun-08 02:20 PM
I have 3 home built PC's on a home network. I have installed all the updates
and SPs and have never had any kind of problem!
DrW replied on 10-Jun-08 04:54 PM
I am so happy for you.

At least you do not understand the frustration of going to finish a bit of
code that is required and not being able to do it.

Good for you.
DrW replied on 10-Jun-08 04:59 PM
I understand that you volunteer.

Whatever Microsoft's schedule is the cat was let out of the bag early.

The computer I'm typing on now received SP3 without any user intervention or
acceptance, it just happened.

I can't tell you why it just is the case.

Anyways, this has gotten a whole lot more heated than originally intended.

I am just going to back away now.  I'm not finding any resolutions to the
reported issue of SVChose.exe 99% CPU Usage with SP3 installed.

Even after uninstalling SP3 there is still a svchost that is wacking out.
And the updating is not working (even though it worked with SP2).

I guess I'm just going to drop back and punt.

It's time to reinstall the OS and all applications.

I hope that I haven't said anything here to continue this argument.  If so
then what the heck, a rise in blood pressure is good every now and then.

Ya'll come back now ya hear!
Daave replied on 11-Jun-08 11:06 PM
Wow, that's a drastic solution! But I guess it will work.

In the event you decide you wish to troubleshoot first (which is usually
easier and quicker than flattening and rebuilding), I recommend using
Process Explorer to determine the offending service which is using
svchost.exe. This should get you started:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22process+explorer%22+svchost

The first hit seems more than adequate:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial129.html

I also suggest from now on to manually update your PC (you have already
been burned by relying on Microsoft's imperfect automatic updates!).
Also, it's a very good idea to periodically make images of your hard
drive, especially before installing anything substantial like a Service
Pack.
M replied on 13-Jun-08 01:15 AM
And he is right.  I had this problem a year ago, installed the patch, it
fixed it, all was well.  SP3 came out, I installed last week, the problem is
back, my fan runs constantly, my pc is burning up, ridiculous.  So I tried to
reinstall the patch and guess what?  It won't run on SP3.  I called
Microsoft, they know it's a problem, they are working on it.  In other words,
don't hold your breath.

So here's the solution:

Start, Run, services.msc, automatic updates, stop it if it's running, then
disable it.  You will HAVE TO REMEMBER to start it and check updates once a
week or so.  then turn it off again when done, but at least your pc will work
right again.
M replied on 13-Jun-08 01:18 AM
P.S.  You also have to stop BITS.
Silver D replied on 06-Aug-08 03:17 AM
Hello, all.



I had the same problem as you all, hence my posting on this thread. AUinstaller3.0 did not fix the SVCHost problem so I just turned everything off. I can't even run the ActiveX plugin on the Windows Update website.



On the underlaying topic of proper research and documentation, I just have to say all of you are right, to some extent.



MS (yes, Sheenan, I do mean MICRO$OFT) should've have made the SP3 update require User Permission to install since they KNEW from the beginning it was not complete. (which is kind of an prescription drug paradox "you take an asthma med and the side effects are rashes and shortness of breath"). They should've also provided proper documentation about preparations and precautions (case in point, the missregistration of wuauserv.dll/wuauserv2.dll AND the deletion of previous restore points when SysRes has not been assigned enough memory, since those seem to be the most common problems floating around and they shouldve surfaced on the testing phase IF they did do a proper testing phase.)



BUT the user, myself included should've also done more research. Since this is a new update, way new, one would've encountered almost no material TO research, therefore prompting to wait a bit more on the installation of SP3.



I guess the mayority of end-users (oblivious, non-geek, and computer savvy) are not bare-bone experts, and do not have the knowledge nor the time to do a complete system image or spend several hours rummaging through websites and technical data to find out if they should or should not install a piece of code from a vendor they have been condition to trust blindly (case in point, "silent" automatic updates.)



So take a chill pill, y'all! Cause in computers like in life you only got options: Take the plunge, or don't do crap (oops! LANGUAGE LOL.)