Microsoft fix for Automatic Updates lockup not working

Users are still complaining about the problem

Windows XP systems are still locking up during patch update attempts -- even after users deployed the fix suggested by Microsoft.

Symptoms of the long-running problem -- which the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) team dubbed the "svchost/msi issue" -- include 100 percent CPU usage by svchost.exe and its multiple processes during Automatic Updates scanning, update downloads and sometimes even if AU is simply enabled on a machine.

"Of course, the computer is virtually unusable" when that happens, said a user identified as Foxy-Perth on the Windows Update support forum.

Every month at patch time, Microsoft's support boards fill with complaints from users. It was no different this week. "I have 6 (and counting) computers having issues with SVCHOST process running at near 100 percent CPU utilization," said TKovacs on Wednesday, one day after Microsoft unveiled seven security updates. "Disabling Automatic Updates resolves the issue. [What] did Microsoft just release?"

A hotfix, updated just Thursday, is available on the Microsoft support site. The patch will be pushed out via Microsoft's usual update services, including Windows Update and Microsoft Update, late this month or in early June, said a developer on the WSUS blog. However, the fix can be downloaded and installed manually on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 systems.

Users will also need to download and install the new stand-alone WSUS 3.0 client -- even those who don't rely on the enterprise-centric WSUS for updates -- to completely patch the problem. "It's important to keep in mind that the new WSUS client is only a partial solution and clients must have both KB927891 and the new 3.0 client installed for a full solution," the WSUS team blog read.

The new client and the WSUS update to Version 3.0 will be available to WSUS on May 22. Like the hotfix, the client can also be downloaded manually and installed now. Instructions and a link to the download have been posted to the MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network) site.

Thursday and Friday, however, users poured out their frustration on the WSUS blog after installing the hotfix and updating the WSUS client. "I installed both WindowsXP-KB927891-v3-x86 and WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86 on Windows XP SP2 boxes configured to get updates from a WSUS 2.0 server. The problem still exists," said Summit Tuladhar in a comment to the blog.

"Doesn't appear that the fixes address the issue I experience on multiple machines," said ltpolaris.

"This is clearly a very serious worldwide issue," said Alan O'Riordan. "I will advise the disabling of the Automatic Updates until a clear resolution is found."

"I doubt you'd call what you've cobbed [sic] together a 'fix.' Thanks for nothing," said another user simply labeled jaded_admin. "We are seriously considering a pilot with SLED [SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop] or Ubuntu and OpenOffice now. Your poor workmanship is driving your customers right into the arms of the open-source community."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?