I'd imagine this is something that got broken on the last update and is
currently affecting a lot of other people. There is nothing complicated
about my Dell home laptop running XP Home SP2...I barely use it, 8-way
servers at work are more fun to play with. Anyways, I've had Automatic
Updates turned on to download the updates and then prompt me to install for
at least 2 years, with no problems. Yesterday evening (April 10 '07) my
laptop decided to simply freeze - after a hard boot, it froze again within
about a minute.
After some considerable effort to track the offending process and make sure
it's not a virus, I am surprised to find that it is Automatic Updates, which
runs as a service under svchost.exe -k netsvcs. With the updates turned on
as I've had them for years, I can see that service starting, and a few
seconds afterwards the parent svchost process starts clocking 100%,
effectively hosing the machine. This happens within a minute after startup.
Disabling the Automatic Updates service or simply turning automatic updates
off in Security Center gives me my computer back. However, this is not an
ideal solution - that service needs to be running to update even manually,
and when it's started simply by visiting Microsoft's windows update site, the
same issue manifests. Basically, whenever the Automatic Updates service
runs, it hogs all the CPU and thus locks up the machine. I used Process
Explorer and ran through the same sequence of events 3 times to verify this
beyond any doubt...it's also the only thing I can use to kill the offending
svchost process and get control back.
Has anyone else run into this? Do you have a better solution? Please post
if you do. If you don't, go to Control Panel and disable your Automatic
Updates through the Security Center right upon startup, then quickly reboot -
at least you'll be able to use your computer that way.