Windows Update High CPU

I’ve had a couple of Windows XP virtual machines get hung trying to do Windows Updates this month. CPU usage approaches 100% and if I do a manual update check through Internet Explorer, the green bar just keeps sliding back and forth for half an hour or more:

Windows Update Progress Bar

I thought that the answer in this TechNet post was helping:

  1. Stop the Automatic Updates service.
  2. Rename %windir%\SoftwareDistribution to SoftwareDistribution.OLD.
  3. Restart the Automatic Updates service.
  4. Run this command: wuauclt /resetauthorization /detectnow.
  5. Wait 30 minutes.

But it seems that the CPU still goes back to 100% for quite a while. In two cases, I left the virtual machine running overnight and the updates eventually finished.

You can watch the progress (or lack thereof) by opening this file:

%windir%\WindowsUpdate.log

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