I’ve had several clients that have had problems with their XP systems running at 100% CPU usage lately. After my inspection I found one instance of svchost.exe was causing the 100% CPU usage. Using MS Sysinternals I was able to find the process that was calling up the svchost.exe that was running at 100 % CPU, it was Microsoft’s Automatic Updates service. Once I stopped the Automatic Updates service, that svchost.exe went down to 0% CPU.
After some searching I found a post on Microsoft.com that resulted in the same issue being resolved by downloading the latest update for Internet Explorer and installing this update by hand with the Automatic Updates service turned off.
The following procedure has resolved every Windows XP system that had this issue that I have come across.
To turn off the Automatic Updates service click on the start button and select Run now enter the following into the field and press enter:
This will start the Services window, the 7th or 8th item on the right will be Automatic Updates, click on it and then click on “Stop” this service. Warning do not make any change to this service settings, you only want to stop it nothing more
Download the latest Internet Explorer Update for your version of I.E. from this link:http://search.microsoft.com/en-us/Downl ... 20Explorer
Now install the latest I.E. update you just downloaded and reboot the system. The Automatic Updates service will be automatically turned back on.
If it's like all the systems I've worked on for this issue, about 10 minutes after the restart there will be Microsoft updates to install.