Dear Windows Update: please work again.
May 14, 2007 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Why can't I run a Windows Update anymore? It used to work; it no longer does. I've tried everything I can think of and I don't know how to get it to work again.

Sometime recently, an XP update brought the option of installing updates and then shutting down or just shutting down without installing updates. I've never gotten the install & shutdown option to work, so I typically tell it not to install the updates and just install them the next day.

The other night, I was shutting down before I went to bed and I was presented with the choice of installing updates or not installing them. I chose to shut down normally.

The next morning when I booted up, Windows ran VERY slowly, and a couple minutes after I logged in, I got a svchost.exe error, and my CPU was running at almost 100 degrees (normally, it runs at about 70 degrees). I restarted a few times, and still had the same problem.

Finally, I looked at the information of the error and Googled it. As it turns out, the problem I was having was linked to Windows Update, so I can only surmise that telling XP not to install updates--something I've done in the past--did something it shouldn't have.

I did a little more searching and found a post on some forum where someone said that if I turned automatic updates off, restarted, manually updated, and then turned automatic updates back on, it would fix the problem I was having. I turned automatic updates off, restarted, and didn't get that svchost error, so I figured the problem was fixed. However, now when I try to update, Windows Update checks for updates for about 10 minutes--during which one of the multiple svchost.exe processes that are loaded uses 50% of my CPU and about 70 megs of RAM--and then spits out an error. Googling that error gives me this page, but nothing on there helped me.

I badly need to reformat and reinstall Windows, but at this point, I'd prefer to do that with Vista; I've been done with XP for quite a while now, and I really don't want to reinstall XP only to have to go through the process with Vista whenever I can afford that. Barring that, is there anything I can do to remedy this?
posted by phaded to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The fix for the windows update svchost.exe error is supposely this:

1. Install the new windows update client:

WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86.exe (google for this or search for it on MS's site)


2. If youre computer is still locking up then install the hotfix KB927891 (search MS's site for this)

3. If that still doesnt work just disable windows update until Microsoft can provide a better fix.

/have had it up to here with this bug
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:55 PM on May 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

First link linkified for ease of use.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:58 PM on May 14, 2007

Alteranitevly, you could (re)install SP2 which should clear up most MS issues.
posted by jmd82 at 1:02 PM on May 14, 2007

I have had this happen with almost exactly the same scenario. I cured it by booting in safe mode, doing a system restore (in safe mode) from a restore point at least 3 or 4 days prior and then letting it restart normally.

I then installed the updates manually and at that point everything returned to working normally. Yes a real PITA, but it seemed to work. I now manually make new restore points two or three times a week just in case it happens again (and it has).

FYI, just restoring from a normal boot after this annoying sequence of events never worked and it always bombed out before the restart, which is why I was advised to restore while it is in safe mode.
posted by worker_bee at 1:20 PM on May 14, 2007

I also forgot to post this Microsoft discussion about this.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:47 PM on May 14, 2007

If you have done all the above steps, it doesnt hurt to wipe out our WU cache like so:
Click Start, Run, type: cmd and press Enter

--> net stop WuAuServ

--> Click Start, Run, type: %windir% and press

--> In the opened folder, rename the folder
SoftwareDistribution to SDold.

--> Click Start, Run, type: cmd and press Enter.

--> net start WuAuServ.

--> Tried Windows Update again.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:58 PM on May 14, 2007

Response by poster: damn dirty ape, you are a lifesaver. Problem solved.
posted by phaded at 2:26 PM on May 14, 2007

Good to hear! WHich method worked for you? Did you just do the WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86.exe update or did you also have to do the KB hotfix too?
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:53 PM on May 14, 2007

huh. I've got the same issue. I was unaware that it was such a wide problem.
posted by WetherMan at 5:30 PM on May 14, 2007

Gah, I've had this bug hit me on three attempted fresh installs of XP SP2. I'll have to try some of these solutions and see what comes of it. Great question, and thanks for the answers!
posted by CipherSwarm at 6:35 PM on May 14, 2007

Response by poster: I did the WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86.exe update, and when that didn't do anything after a couple of minutes, I did the KB hotfix, and that did the trick. It's nice not having XP barking at me, and I'm glad that other people are finding this question useful.

damn dirty ape - a help to hive minders all over.
posted by phaded at 10:29 PM on May 14, 2007

« Older Where can I find the most thorough indictment of...   |   Excel translated w/o my permission. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.