User’s computer exhibited the following symptoms today:
- System would boot fine, and work without any problems when offline
- As soon as you connected it to the internet you would see a drastic spike in CPU usage, mainly caused by the svchost.exe process.
- The CPU usage would spike up to 100% and stay there making the machine unbearably slow
- Scanning with Symantec NIS 2007, Spybot and Windows Defender did not find any viruses or spyware
- Examining the running processes with Sysinternals Process Explorer and HijackThis did not show any suspicious behavior
Apparently this is a very common issue and few people have a solution for it. Because so many different services are dependent on svchost.exe there is no catch-all solutions. But I did find “a solution”.
In my case this seemed to be a combination of Microsoft Update being funky and possibly having somewhat corrupted DataStore folder. Here is what you do:
Switch Microsoft Update back to Windows Update
First step is to make sure you are using the standard Windows Update – not the Microsoft Update. If you are using the wrong one simply go to Windows Update website, click “Change Settings” on the sidebar, and then check the box labeled: “Disable Microsoft Update software and let me use Windows Update only” and hit apply.
Flush the DataStore Folder
Stop the Automatic Update service and delete or rename the DataStore folder located in %WINDIR%\SoftwareDistribution. There are two ways to do it. First, there is the geeky way:
net stop wuauserv
rmdir /Q /S %WINDIR%\SoftwareDistribution\DataStore
net start wuauserv
Then there is the long way:
- Press Windows+R and type in services.msc
- Stop Automatic Updates service
- Press Windows+R and type in %WINDIR%\SoftwareDistribution
- Delete or rename the DataStore folder
- Go back and start the Automatic Updates again
If you can’t delete the folder, it means that the update service is still running. You may want to reboot after doing all of this for a good measure.
After doing all of this I did not experience any more CPU usage spikes. I was able to connect to the internet normally, and to run Windows update as normal.
[tags]svchost, svchost.exe, 100% cpu usage, svchost 100% cpu usage, windows[/tags]