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monroe

[Ongoing] Win XP Problems with MS Update

28 posts in this topic

NB: The original title of this thread was: Anyone Able To Get or Check MS November 2013 Updates?

I have not been able to have the November MS updates finish, been doing this for several days, on and off ... computer is running Fast and HOT and never finishes. I wanted just to check what updates were released for XP. I just found this article a few minutes ago about an XP update problem for November.

Windows XP update locks machines with SVCHOST redlined at 100%: Fix it with KB 2879017.
Bug returns with recent patches in Windows XP's Windows Update processing, as SVCHOST pegs 100% CPU utilization.
By Woody Leonhard @InfoWorld on Nov 13, 2013

It isn't a new bug, but it's a killer, and this month's round of Automatic Updates has brought it back with a vengeance. Freshly installed Windows XP SP3 machines running Windows Update -- typically because Automatic Update is turned on -- will stall twice. First, when Windows Update accesses the Microsoft website to gather a list of available updates, the machine can lock up for five, 10, 15 minutes -- or more -- with the CPU and fan running at 100 percent. Then, if the customer waits long enough for the updates to appear, and clicks to install them, the XP machine goes racing away again for five or 10 or more minutes, with the CPU redlined at 100 percent.

If you've turned on Windows Automatic Update, your brand-new WinXP SP3 installation may just sit there and churn and churn.

Microsoft has known about the problem for months -- probably years -- but it hasn't fixed it. I first saw the problem described in a TechNet post for the June 2013 Black Tuesday patches. In September, reader warwagon on the Neowin support forum described the same problem -- and drew more than 100 comments, many of which repeated the same story. Jeff Duntemann talked about the problem in October -- and he traces its origins back to 2004. Now the November 2013 Black Tuesday patches are bringing back the same litany, and Microsoft hasn't made any moves to fix it.

The source of the problem isn't hard to track down. In every instance I've seen, wuauclt.exe -- the Windows Update Agent -- running in a SVCHOST wrapper takes over the machine. Clearly, there's a bug in wuauclt running on Windows XP and/or a bug in the way Microsoft's servers handle wuauclt on XP. Whether Microsoft will ever deign to fix it remains a sore point.

Some people advise that you turn off Automatic Update -- I do, too, for reasons painfully obvious in the 17 epic Windows Auto Update meltdowns slideshow -- but turning off Automatic Update doesn't solve the problem. As soon as you venture into Windows Update manually on a fresh Windows XP SP3 machine, the problem comes back.

The best solution appears to be a manual update to Internet Explorer. Yes, Microsoft has messed up wuauclt.exe so badly that it has to be repaired by installing an IE update -- not a Windows update -- to get it working properly. The fix is part of the October cumulative IE patch known as MS13-080/ KB2879017. If you manually download and install the October cumulative patch, then you should be able to use Windows Update with no problems.

Operative term: "should."

The precise download location varies depending on which version of IE you're using. For IE6 go here. IE7 is here. And IE8 is here.

You would think that simply upgrading to the latest version of IE would solve the problem, but it doesn't. You have to manually download and apply the patch for your version of IE.

Will Microsoft go in and fix wuauclt.exe -- or, better, fix whatever is broken in its back-end processing -- before Windows XP turns belly up next year? I wouldn't bet on it.



so there, so much for MS and the November updates ... anyone else notice this?

additional ... I only do manual updating, I get the list of updates needed and then download them to keep in a folder to burn to a CD, I install them myself, nothing actually installed by M$ ... I put the IE 8 update from October back on (as mentioned in the article) and nothing is fixed ... computer is still running very HOT and going nowhere. Thanks again to M$ for a great product, like they care! I have the updates installed through Oct 2013 and things are working good so no more crap updates for me till April / May of next year. I have been putting them on every 2 or 3 months and then doing an image backup for that stage. It's just not worth it, possibly destroying a good working XP setup in these "final days". Does M$ care, probably not at this point but I will attempt to put all final updates on in May of next year ... this frustration is too much !!!

Edited by duffy98
Added quote tags and missing links to the ginormous unmarked literal quote...
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I have the Automatic Updates turned on but I use Microsoft Update for downloading and installing every months updates. This time it took a bit long but it finally did the job (I mean detecting the updates and listing them, that's the difficult part, the rest is easy).

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Thanks dencorso for tidying up my earlier post ... looks and reads much better, I don't know how to make a post look like that ... a moderator to the rescue.

HarryTri ... thanks for the reply. I am still having no luck with the November update check, computer is still running crazy and hot. After installing the September and October updates on my XP setup everything was working OK and I would go to the MS update site and in less than three minutes the update check was completed. After what happened in late August at the MS update site, which I posted about earlier, I now always run update checks right up to the next "update Tuesday" release. For a quick refresh on the August thing, there was a bad July update, which I was not aware of and instead of MS waiting till "update Tuesday" in September to release the fix, they released the fix early, around Aug 28th or that time frame. I posted about it to give everyone a "heads up" that a new update had suddenly appeared.

Anyway, because of that happening, I now run update checks a few times a week, till the new "update Tuesday" releases. My last update checks before November 12th were under the three minute mark but after last Tuesday's update release it's the Twilight Zone for me.

Since you were able to get the updates and no one else has said they were having update problems then I am figuring it must be an isolated case for a computer here or there and me being one of the lucky ones. Probably a good reason to just forget about any future XP updates till May of next year on my part.

...

Edited by duffy98
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OK ... problem solved with help from another forum ... I found this solution at the Neowin site ... you have to be able to get the "new" IE 8 update (Nov 2013) downloaded and installed on your computer FIRST ... then you can get into the MS update site to get the other November updates. I just did the fix and the November updates appeared in less that two minutes ... computer running cool and fast with the update check.

http://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/1176387-xp-windows-automatic-updates-svchostexe-100-cpu-ms-did-something/page-9

... go down to the post by raynerph (Post #123):

Posted 12 November 2013 - 23:52

I've just had the same problem with the November 2013 updates, and svchost at 99%. And wasted several hours.

Having read the fix ideas, I looked to see if the November updates contain an update for Internet Explorer 8. There is an update: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41074

I installed the update. Rebooted. Then ran Microsoft Update (I have updates turned "off", but with wuauclt.exe running as a service in the background).

This time the search for updates completed with only a few brief moments of svchost hitting 99%, and then the updates installed OK.

It seems crazy that you have to manually install the November Internet Explorer 8 update, before the update system will automatically find and install the other updates.

I had a lot of difficulty with the September updates too (same problem), but eventually the PC got there. Whereas the October updates were no problem at all.

I am also running an old XP installation, on a slow (1.6GHz) single core, low memory (1024MB) PC; it's over 8 years old, and has never been re-installed.

-----------------------------

Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 8 for Windows XP (KB2888505)

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41074

that should work for anyone having this problem ... it did for me.

Edited by duffy98
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In relation to my last post ... I found this additional news with MS saying a permanent fix is on the way ... we can only hope.

Microsoft Promises to Fix Windows XP SVCHOST Bug

November 15th, 2013

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Microsoft-Promises-to-Fix-Windows-XP-SVCHOST-Bug-400634.shtml

A Windows XP bug is causing CPU usage to skyrocket when launching Windows Update, with the SVCHOST process eating almost 100 percent of the available CPU power and causing the system to freeze for several seconds.

While the issue has been spotted earlier this year, Microsoft hasn’t yet addressed it, with users trying all kinds of workarounds to deal with system freezes.

Doug Neal, a Windows engineer, has confirmed in a post on PatchManagement that Microsoft is looking into the fix and provided more details on what’s going wrong on Windows XP.

As InfoWorld points out, the patch that is causing trouble to XP users is supposed to correct an issue in IE6 and IE7. Since these two versions have been released a long time ago, there are plenty of updates available, which means that Windows Update needs to load the entire list before getting the patch you need.

“The problem is caused by the Windows Update client evaluating an exceptionally long supersedence chain - something IE6 and IE7 have more than any other version of IE due to their time in market,” Neal explained.

“Each ‘link’ in the chain doubles the CPU resources needed to evaluate it over the previous version. The chain is so long that the design stymies the WUA client.”

At this point, Microsoft is working to provide a fix, but no timeframe has been provided, so nobody knows for sure whether the patch would arriver sooner or later. One thing is for sure though: Windows XP will go dark on April 8, 2014, so Microsoft needs to hurry up a little bit this time.

“We're working to expire these exceptionally old, dated, unnecessary updates in the chain. The expirations for these didn't happen as planned. While I can't provide a date for when this will be done, we know it's an issue affecting customer PCs and we're working to get it out as soon as possible to halt the impact,” Neal concluded.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://marc.info/?l=patchmanagement&m=138447194406363&w=2

List: patchmanagement

Subject: Re: [patchmanagement] Windows Update on XP not usable any more

From: "Rose, Derek" <DRose () iso-ne ! com>

Date: 2013-11-14 23:28:33

Message-ID: 2A9636CA-A7D1-4721-B256-E512FCBD868D () iso-ne ! com

[Download message RAW]

Thanks for the great explanation Doug. My understanding around IE updates is that the \

most recent security update is cumulative. If this is the case, even only most of the \

time, is there a reason why retirement of superseded updates can't be more \

aggressive, IE version wide? I guess the only reason I can think of is if the latest \

update causes a problem for some, they'd want the previous to be available in order \

to reduce the vulnerability footprint. Outside if that though, not sure.

Derek

Sent from my iPhone

> On Nov 14, 2013, at 15:23, "Doug Neal" <dugn@microsoft.com> wrote:

>

> Thanks to those who have sent their logs. Thanks to your logs, we found the \

> backend changes that were supposed to be made to fix this weren't made.

> In short, this isn't a bug fix (at least not in the near term). The problem is \

> caused by the Windows Update client evaluating an exceptionally long supersedence \

> chain - something IE6 and IE7 have more than any other version of IE due to their \

> time in market. Each 'link' in the chain doubles the CPU resources needed to \

> evaluate it over the previous version. The chain is so long that the design \

> stymies the WUA client.

> We're working to expire these exceptionally old, dated, unnecessary updates in the \

> chain. The expirations for these didn't happen as planned.

> While I can't provide a date for when this will be done, we know it's an issue \

> affecting customer PCs and we're working to get it out as soon as possible to halt \

> the impact.

> Thanks - and I hope that helps...

>

> doug neal

> Microsoft Update (MU)

...

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duffy98, I'm confused. You were already aware of this issue since you participated in this thread, so I don't understand why this caught you so off guard this time, Isn't this the same thing as the other thread, or directly related to it? I know it was a long time ago, (last month), but ... LOL j/k :)

Bottom line, to quote from a new post in that other thread, until MS gets this truly fixed, each month before trying to do anything else with WU/MU:



The secret is to install the LATEST Cumulative Security Update for your version of Internet Explorer.
This is a recurring problem so the current latest versions keep getting updated each month.


For November 2013, you can find the appropriate updates here, and in general, you can find them each month by doing a search for "cumulative security update for internet explorer", and it will probably be the first "technet.microsoft.com" link.

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt
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I am also "confused" ... I (as apparently others are at the Neowin forum) thought the earlier problem had been fixed with the October updates but as I said in an earlier post ... up until "update Tuesday" last Tuesday Nov 12 ... Windows update was working just fine for me ... I was able to check in a 2 to 3 minute time frame with the computer running normal for any additional October updates. I like to do that just before the "new" updates are released. That's how it was for me until after Nov 12th when I could no longer get into the Windows update site. Why, ... what changed from Nov 11 to the 12th ... couldn't tell you but at the Neowin forum when I found the solution today, then I was able to see there were other people also having my problem. At this site (MSFN) people do not seem to be having this windows update problem but if you read the post by raynerph, he described my problem exactly.

Posted 12 November 2013 - 23:52

I've just had the same problem with the November 2013 updates, and svchost at 99%. And wasted several hours.

Having read the fix ideas, I looked to see if the November updates contain an update for Internet Explorer 8. There is an update: http://www.microsoft...s.aspx?id=41074

I installed the update. Rebooted. Then ran Microsoft Update ... this time the search for updates completed with only a few brief moments of svchost hitting 99%, and then the updates installed OK.

It seems crazy that you have to manually install the November Internet Explorer 8 update, before the update system will automatically find and install the other updates.

I had a lot of difficulty with the September updates too (same problem), but eventually the PC got there. Whereas the October updates were no problem at all.

-------------------

.... I also had no problems with the October updates and had no problems at all till "after" Nov 12th.

Like I said earlier, I am apparently the only one at the MSFN forum having any problems with the November XP update cycle but I posted a solution from the Neowin forum ... in case someone tomorrow or next week runs into this situation.

This from raynerph's post is a "crazy" solution and I agree 100% with him: "It seems crazy that you have to manually install the November Internet Explorer 8 update, before the update system will automatically find and install the other updates."

Edited by duffy98
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Yep, it seems to be a recurring problem for MS after each patch Tuesday. (I think I was adding to my post, referencing the other thread, at the same time you were writing yours.)

Cheers and Regards

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This from raynerph's post is a "crazy" solution and I agree 100% with him: "It seems crazy that you have to manually install the November Internet Explorer 8 update, before the update system will automatically find and install the other updates."

Perhaps it isn't so crazy. According to Doug Neal the problem has to do with WUA evaluating the superseedence of the patches for Internet Explorer, perhaps if the latest patch is already installed this somehow helps the situation.

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I have noticed over the last few months that nothing has been left in the $hf_mig$ folder. I wonder if that should worry me. Updates are downlading and installing every month without incident.

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I have KB folders in my $hf_mig$ folder so maybe someone else can shed some light on your situation. I don't know about installing anymore updates till 2014. I'm getting nervous about the closing days of XP. I have the November updates installed and all is working OK plus I made an image backup of everything. I have and will continue to run XP update checks through November until the December updates are released ... to see if any fixes or new updates show up.

Edited by duffy98
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My hope is that on my old Dell Notebook PC with 1 GB of RAM, running Windows XP Professional, I can install XP with an "nLited" a CD-ROM. This disc will include ALL of the updates right up to April 2014 inclusive. I will reinstall XP Pro with that CD-ROM, and then turf the $hf_mig$ folder altogether.

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I have noticed over the last few months that nothing has been left in the $hf_mig$ folder. I wonder if that should worry me. Updates are downlading and installing every month without incident.

It should not. Microsoft has abandoned updating the GDR branch for Windows XP. What this means is that the files that would normally go into $hf_mig$ (the QFE branch files) are now installed in System32/SysWOW64.

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Does that mean bloat and duplication that comes with $hf_mig$ folder entries? (in the System32/SysWOW64 folder I mean)? Or does it just replace the files and that's it?

Edited by JodyThornton
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If, by "folder entries," you mean the registry entries related to the files located in $hf_mig$ at the following registry keys, then the answer is yes. It means them.

HKLM,"SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Updates\Windows XP\SP4\KB<number>\Filelist"HKLM,"SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Updates\Windows XP Version 2003\SP3\KB<number>\Filelist"
Since the GDR files are no longer included in update packages, the QFE files are installed directly into System32/SysWOW64. Edited by 5eraph
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