Operating System Affected: Windows XP
Symptoms: svchost.exe at 100% cpu utilization during idle
Cause: Windows/Microsft Update Failure
I came across this problem a month ago, but this is far from an isolated problem nor did it actually start a month ago. It was actually an issue back in 2007, however Microsoft fixed it and seemingly broke it again in October, 2013. It has something to do with Windows/Microsoft Update either trying to contact Microsoft servers or failing while searching your computer for new updates. If your svchost.exe is at 99-100%, the best way to confirm is to try using Windows Update through Internet Explorer. If it hangs or takes a long time at the “Checking for the latest updates for your computer…”, then you have the problem. Some users have even reported this issue while never having updated, freshly installed Windows XP, or having automatic updates off. This is a huge issue, especially for older computers as it can affect the stability of other programs being run, or for computers that may be running 24/7 can overheat it. One computer I was running continuously blew its chipset from overheating.
The solution is to install these two patches (select the proper operating system and IE version).
KB2888505 – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms13-088
KB2898785 – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms13-097
Install both and then restart your system, you should be able to then get past the checking phase of Windows Update in Internet Explorer as well as see that your scvhost.exe should no longer be at 99-100% CPU utilization.
Microsoft apparently is going to address the issue in the future, however this seems to work and they’re discontinuing support anyways for Windows XP so they probably don’t even care. Maybe this is their attempt to get users to move away from Windows XP by breaking it. Apparently the best solution to this problem is not be using Windows XP.