Windows XP will soon go dark, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that users shouldn’t be able to update their computers until this date comes.
And still, it’s happening, not because Microsoft wants to, but due to a bug causing 100 percent CPU usage when trying to launch Windows Update on an XP machine.
Whenever you launch Internet Explorer on Windows XP and go over to the Windows Update page, the computer might simply freeze for a few minutes. If you’re the kind who wants to wait and see what’s happening, you might in the end regain control over your computer.
Once you click install on the available updates, the machine freezes one more time, again for a few minutes, before eventually starting deploying the patches.
"Soon after boot, my PC go slowly, and in task manager i see a svchost running 100% CPU. After some trials, i saw that turning off automatic updates fix the problem. In windowsupdate.log there is no error. When I try manual updates on Windows Update, the PC stays on a page searching updates," one affected user explained.
While the issue seems to be affecting the Windows Update Agent, and its local process – wuauclt.exe, it turns out that the MS13-080 Internet Explorer security update can solve all your problems.
Here’s what Microsoft says in the description of the update:
“This security update resolves one publicly disclosed vulnerability and eight privately reported vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer.
“An attacker who successfully exploited the most severe of these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.”
Basically, users are recommended to download Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, and Internet Explorer 8 patches to fix a flaw that would allow an attacker to gain the same rights as the logged on user.
For some reason, this patch makes it possible to deploy updates on a Windows XP SP3 machine without any computer freezes. Disabling Windows Update completely is yet another solution, but as everyone says, this isn’t quite the best thing to do if you care about your security while being connected to the Internet.