Windows 8.1 running BADLY. Won't update. Service Local Host problem
April 19, 2019 7:39 PM   Subscribe

A few months ago this computer went lame. And the network connection wouldn't connect. I completely refreshed the OS. Tried two different USB network cards. Nothing. So I was using an old garbage can laptop for a while, one day opened this puter and it connected. And then it didn't. Rinse/repeat. But now mostly it's connecting.

But now the puter has gone insane, continually using LOTS of CPU cycles with Service Host Local System the culprit. DuckDuckGo tells me that's been a problem since XP, most likely culprit being Windows Update. So I killed update under SHLS and hey, it resolved CPU usage. Until it didn't

So I stopped windows update process under Service Host Local System each reboot and it helped, until it didn't. And now it won't update no matter what I do. The CPU is running crazy again, until I go and kill update again, but the computer is still acting nuts, mouse tracking all slowed up and gummed up, I'm real close to getting out my six pound sledge hammer and putting this thing down.

Before I do that I'll put Linux Mint on it, which I will anyways. But even when I put Mint on it I'd like it to be a dual-boot machine, Windoze and Linux. For that to happen I've got to be able to use Update, and figure out and fix whatever is causing this thing to have gone berserk.

Searches online reveal that plenty of other people have had this happen but it seems no one has a conclusive, definitive answer. "Turn off Windows Update" is bandied about a lot, also "SuperFetch" (whatever hell that is) and then about seventeen million other answers which answer nothing that I can see. Pretty much all I see is a bunch of ppl staggering around blindly, scratching their head, annoyed as I am.

I'll reload the OS. I'll do whatever. Tell me what to do and I'll do it.

So. Please. Do tell.

Any help appreciated -- TIA!
posted by dancestoblue to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
What kind of machine is it and how old?
posted by Autumnheart at 8:37 PM on April 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Lacking more information, if I assume it doesn't have an SSD and it's in my lab, first, I'd get patient.

Then I'd take the HDD out, put it in another machne and run chkdsk /r on it until it came back with no new bad sectors. This might take a while, like all day & all night.

Then I'd put it back in the PC, uninstall a lot of whatever crap that's on it, upgrade it to Windows 10, make sure it's activated, then rip the HDD back out and put an SSD in there, do a fresh install of Windows 10, and have a nice day.

Depending on the RAM configuration I'd probably buy some new RAM as well to get it to 8 or 16 GB of 1600MHz DDR3 (which I assume it uses based on the Windows 8 OS).
posted by glonous keming at 9:12 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best source for all things wrong with windoze update is, a site that's almost all about windoze update started by a long time windoze expert. Their win7 solution for your problem worked the first time for me. Site covers win8 and win10 too, though I've paid no attention to the win8 content.
posted by Homer42 at 11:21 PM on April 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

My answer is that you want to learn how to partition a hard drive yourself, do so (completely erasing the exising Windows installation), install Windows to one partition, the Linux on the second.

To do this download and burn the GParted live CD (or bootable USB image), read up on how to use it and any details of disk partitioning you need to know, boot up the lame computer with it and split the disk into two partitions, install whichever Windows version you want, then Mint. (Since mainstream support of Windows 8.1 ended more than a year ago you really ought to go with Windows 10, as glonous keming suggests.)

You want Windows to go on first, then during the Linux install you'll tell it to install its boot loader into the MBR / master boot record (or there might be slightly different terminology.) That way the Linux installer will find Windows while it's doing its thing and set up a dual-boot menu.
posted by XMLicious at 12:36 AM on April 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

boot up the lame computer with it and split the disk into two partitions

My strategy for installing Linux (any distro, though the ones I regularly use are Debian, OpenSuSE and Mint) is to give it at least three partitions: / (root), swap and /home. 16 to 24GB for root, double the physical memory for swap, and /home takes the rest. Separating /home saves effort if you ever have to reinstall Linux or want to switch to a different distro.

So for this machine you'd set up four partitions, but the easiest way would be to just create one with a size to hold Windows. After installing that you boot off a Linux stick or DVD, and let the installer create its partition(s) in the unused space.
posted by Stoneshop at 1:53 AM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Does the dodgy Windows 8.1 installation include a third-party antivirus/security suite? If so, which one?
posted by flabdablet at 2:06 AM on April 20, 2019

If it's still on Windows 8, it probably has a long history of updates in it's archive. I'd try resetting the Windows Update history as outlined here:

Windows Update - Additional resources | Microsoft Docs —

Also note they have a script to do this automatically: Script Reset-WindowsUpdate.ps1 —

Which will fix most things. It will take a long time to run Windows Update afterwards, as it has to go through and process which updates have been applied and so on, but should work much better afterwards.
posted by Boobus Tuber at 4:47 AM on April 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

Our Win10 computer was failing updates. Eventually, I discovered it was due to a couple of update files for an old antivirus copied over from the predecessor machine. I would try to search out log files for connection failures and update failures.
posted by SemiSalt at 4:20 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

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