Our entire IT department is on vacation. All of them, the sysadmins, the netadmins, and the helpdeskers providing first level support. How on earth could we let that happen? Well, it's all just one guy. 😉

During any of his vacations, I am suddenly the most popular person in the institute. I'm happy to help where I can, and the most common “problem” are usually forgotten or mistyped passwords. This time, however, it turned out to be more interesting.

Actually, I was among the first users suffering from this year's problem. I have a virtual machine with a Windows 7 that was last updated in June. I've devoted only one core and 2 GB of RAM to this installation as it's only rarely used and not for much anyway. A few weeks ago, I've noticed that the system was entirely unresponsive, and found that 'svchost.exe' utilized 100% CPU. “Windows”, I thought, and closed the virtual machine.

Last week, several of our users suddenly complained that "their" Windows update doesn' t work any more. I've checked and found the same symptom of svchost running wild. The resource monitor showed that it is actually 'wuauserve.exe' (the Windows update service) consuming all CPU cycles.

It turned out that this problem exists since quite some time, and Microsoft has repeatedly tried to address it by providing new versions of the Windows update client. I was able to solve it in all cases by following the directions provided here. If you find this link helpful, ask yourself why you've spent money on a software produced by the greatest bunglers in this business.