Microsoft: We will work on fixing SVCHOST bug in Windows XP "through the holiday"

We have been reporting for the past few months on a long-standing bug in Windows XP that causes SVCHOST to push the CPU of a PC up to 100 percent usage. Microsoft was supposed to finally fix this issue with a patch that was released in November, but the update failed in this goal.

With official support for Windows XP due to end in less than four months, there's very little time for Microsoft to fix this problem for the many users of the 12-year old operating system. A few days ago, Doug Neal, the senior program manager for Windows and Microsoft Update, sent out a message to the subscribers of the PatchManagement listserv. He stated that Microsoft has found what was causing SVCHOST to increase a PC's CPU usage:

From the extended Windows Update logs, we saw the issue stemmed from inefficiencies in the Windows Update Agent processing long lists of superseded updates. And the problem was exponential in that each additional superseded item took twice as long as the previous item to evaluate. With lists as long as 40+ superseded items, the processing cost on SVCHOST via the Windows Update Agent had an exceptional impact on client PCs.

Neal said that Microsoft tried to get rid of a large number of superseded updates in the IE6 and IE7 lists in order to fix the SVCHOST issue. Unfortunately, the updates to Windows XP released in November, and also earlier in December, failed to squash this bug. He stated, "We're working diligently to release changes to the supersedence logic that will comprehensively solve this problem. It's a top priority. And the right (and smartest) people are on it."

He added " ... we're working through the holiday to provide the right fix as soon as possible. As you can imagine, we don't have an ETA. And we want to make sure the next fix is the last and comprehensively solves this for our customers."

Source: Microsoft via InfoWorld

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I just upgraded to IE8 and everything worked peachy when I manually entered Windows XP update. :-)

So all our parents and grandparents out there that may have older hardware and software should just stop using it because it's 'old and outdated?' Most of them only use it to check webmail and MAYBE facebook. Those run fine on 10 year old hardware and XP. No need to go buy something new to fix a problem they didn't have in the first place.

Hell, the parents and grandparents are old... let's kill them off too! And let's stop driving any car older than 2001 since it's outdated.

dreamliner77 said,
So all our parents and grandparents out there that may have older hardware and software should just stop using it because it's 'old and outdated?' Most of them only use it to check webmail and MAYBE facebook. Those run fine on 10 year old hardware and XP. No need to go buy something new to fix a problem they didn't have in the first place.

Hell, the parents and grandparents are old... let's kill them off too! And let's stop driving any car older than 2001 since it's outdated.

That is an incredibly ignorant comment, I won't waste too much of my time picking it to pieces, however I will say this;

Windows XP won't suddenly become inactive and unusable, if people such as the ones you mention are only using a PC for web surfing then maybe they are better off using a free operating system such as Ubuntu, or maybe ditching a PC in favour of a cheap tablet.

They can upgrade to Ubuntu for free or sell their old PC and put the money from that towards a tablet.

Lastly, tell me a car manufacturer that provides updates to a model they released 12 years ago, for free?

A workaround I've been doing is to run and install IE8-WindowsXP-x86-ENU.exe and that seems to allow windows update to work and get the new updates after.

Less man hours will be spent on fixing XP bugs after April, this should in theory free up resources to work on 7/8/8.1. Also after April Nvidia has stated they will stop wasting time creating new XP drivers as well. It won't be a large change, it will be subtle, but it will be a boon for actual computer development.

Isn't it possible to reduce the priority of the service, allowing other processes to continue uninterrupted?

Crashdance said,
Man, why not just give Windows XP a well-deserved rest?!

because businesses still use it and a lot of them are using it up until april, I know we still have 60 desktops on XP that we are converting before April to VDI systems with windows 7... so we still need patches until then

Man, why not just give Windows XP a well-deserved rest?!

It's easier for them to at some point take the hands-off approach and let people who want or need, to continue running their software. And we are discussing end of general support here, not end of all (yeah, you can pay for additional patches) support, nor the actual end of functionality of the software. As for continuing to push out patches, they'll go straight until the end of support rolls around.

It's good for business overall, because people wouldn't be as likely to go out and purchase software if the vendor isn't known to (over)commit to support.

>>"From the extended Windows Update logs, we saw the issue stemmed from inefficiencies in the Windows Update Agent processing long lists of superseded updates. And the problem was exponential in that each additional superseded item took twice as long as the previous item to evaluate. With lists as long as 40+ superseded items, the processing cost on SVCHOST via the Windows Update Agent had an exceptional impact on client PCs."

Yes, I am having trouble accessing Windows Update/Microsoft Update web site to get Windows Security Updates and other Windows updates. Going to http://update.microsoft.com is no problem. as soon I as click the button Get Express Updates, the trouble starts.

>>" ... we're working through the holiday to provide the right fix as soon as possible. As you can imagine, we don't have an ETA. And we want to make sure the next fix is the last and comprehensively solves this for our customers."

I hope so. I am using Windows XP SP3 32-bit as a guest OS on Oracle VirtualBox running on an Asus Eee PC 1215N with Windows 7 SP1 32-bit as a host OS. I create electronic music using Propellerheads ReBirth RB-338 2.0 on the guest OS. ReBirth won't run on Windows 7 SP1 32-bit. I suffer from buffer underruns occasionally because I am emulating ReBirth, a 16-bit app and the guest OS too using an Intel Atom D525 1.8 GHz dual core CPU on the netbook.

This SVCHOST issue has been a thorn in my side for a long time now.

>>We have been reporting for the past few months on a long-standing bug in Windows XP that causes SVCHOST to push the CPU of a PC up to 100 percent usage. Microsoft was supposed to finally fix this issue with a patch that was released in November, but the update failed in this goal.

I just kill the SVCHOST process and deal with the consequences. I don't know of any other way to resolve.

>>Like many have complained in the past, at month three they should release a final rollup pack with this update and all others.

I have my own self-extracting installer that takes care of this. I call it Updates Installer For Windows XP SP3 32-bit December 2013

Microsoft should make it available to corporate partners only. Any consumers on this OS don't deserve upgrades.

warwagon said,
You would be surprised how many that would be.

No I wouldn't. It's a lot. The way I see it, that's a lot of people who need to move to a new operating system. Not Microsoft's problem that some people's ****ty legacy apps won't run on new systems, they've had more than enough time to make the required changes.

XP needs to die.

I know of one place in NZ that's tried that route and it failed miserably the programmer could never get the win 7 version working how they wanted it to and this is an DOS program from 30yrs ago hence why they still use XP

Athlonite said,
I know of one place in NZ that's tried that route and it failed miserably the programmer could never get the win 7 version working how they wanted it to and this is an DOS program from 30yrs ago hence why they still use XP

Then NZ needs to get a better programmer. Or the NZ company need to pay more money to make a new compatible version.

There is no excuse, there has been far more than enough time.

Why does XP need to die? What's the hurry and why does it matter to you anyways? If you don't like it, don't use it.

Because it's old and outdated. And Microsoft is wasting it's time, which could be better spent on those who paid them for their new software.

It's ridiculous that anyone still be using this OS except in embedded devices.

Jlobb2 said,
Why does XP need to die? What's the hurry and why does it matter to you anyways? If you don't like it, don't use it.

From the point of view of a web developer, it needs to die because XP is the only OS that people still use IE6 and 7 on. They need to disappear because they make everything take twice as long to write.

Jlobb2 said,
Think of it as job security.

Nah, I'll just wait for XP to die and take IE6 and 7 with it. Then the lives of all web developers will improve.

Nashy said,
Microsoft should make it available to corporate partners only. Any consumers on this OS don't deserve upgrades.

That's exactly what's going to happen post-April. Corporate customers will pay through the nose for updates on a case-by-case basis, but they're not gonna be available to consumers.

it's GOVT department so it's tax payer money so no they can't just go spending willy nilly and they did have a program it did sort of work but in the end it didn't do everything they wanted it to do despite umpteen times of trying to get it to function how it was meant to so gave up and just use the DOS bit for what it's for and the other program for everything else

I had this SVCHOST problem on Windows 8.1, and found on several boards it was sadly a common issue in September, October and all the way thru November, and the only solution was to stop and disable most SVCHOST processes.

I'm not an expert, more like an efficient user, and what happended was this:

I started a windows update, I think it was September patch Tuesday, suddenly the download/install became very slow, I have a 200Mb connection, but my router sometimes gets crazy, so I decided to interrupt/cancel the download/install and restart the router...

So I did, and while the computer restarted (or so I thought), I went to the other room to restart the router...

After restarting the router I came back to the computer room and was still trying to shut off, which was very strange, considering that you should not force anything while doing updates I let it finish bi its own... it took about TWO HOURS to fully restart...

And the problem remained for almost two days, until I considered I had done something wrong and that maybe interrupting the install somehow broke my windows registry or files...

I was about to wipe clean the drive and reinstall, when for whatever reason I went to task manager, BTW taking about half an hour to open... and saw that some Service Host Processes were taking almost 100%...

So I went online and find the problem was this, or at least, similar, t this topic.

I stopped all host processes that let me stop them, and magically it got faster IMMEDIATELY.

I restarted the computer and the problem was solved...

It even allow me to finish updating, although it marked a few errors on installation, which still keep me worried... still thinking of reinstalling windows 8.1

So that is what happened to me... and several more people in different boards...

Make of this what you want...

Best regards.

Hello,

Like many have complained in the past, at month three they should release a final rollup pack with this update and all others.

Lolz them working thru the holiday is about as laughable as Valve working thru a weekend after releasing a game crashing bug on Friday.

Good on them, at least they're not just giving up on it completely. Quite honestly though XP served the industry well but it's time to move on now. The servicing in newer versions of Windows is great.

hopefully this will show that Microsoft is slowing their support for windows XP.. They only have 3 months and 3 weeks of support for Windows XP left and this should show people its time to move on

Lachlan said,
hopefully this will show that Microsoft is slowing their support for windows XP.. They only have 3 months and 3 weeks of support for Windows XP left and this should show people its time to move on

I would think if MS was "slowing their support", they'd be silent about this issue and not be announcing they have people actively working on it instead.

I can't really speak to the internals of their database. I assume either they're trying to improve the dependency algorithm efficiency or reduce the dataset somehow. SVCHOST really has nothing to do with it as that's just a generic executable that links an executes code from a dll.

warwagon said,
Then why don't they release a rollup.

It was my understanding that it has something to do with a 10+ yr long cert chain.
Not something that can easily be 'rolled up'

warwagon said,
Then why don't they release a rollup.
They did... several times.

They're called "Vista", "7", "8", "8.1".

I had Vista running on an old Athlon for well over a year without issue, other than not having "Aero" graphics due to using on-board VIA chipset.

abecedarian paradoxious said,
They did... several times.

They're called "Vista", "7", "8", "8.1".

I had Vista running on an old Athlon for well over a year without issue, other than not having "Aero" graphics due to using on-board VIA chipset.


I take it you have no clue to what a Rollup is well Rollup = Service Pack and it give you a way Slipstream the file in CD to or to just update and all ready installed OS in one go or maybe MS can just come out with a new CD XP ISO and that problem is solved.
Ever one know Vista is trash and as for 7, 8, 8.1 it best to have 64bit CPU/OS with 4+GB system.

SHS said,

I take it you have no clue to what a Rollup is well Rollup = Service Pack and it give you a way Slipstream the file in CD to or to just update and all ready installed OS in one go or maybe MS can just come out with a new CD XP ISO and that problem is solved.
Ever one know Vista is trash and as for 7, 8, 8.1 it best to have 64bit CPU/OS with 4+GB system.
Your opinion, and you are welcome to have it.

I had an old Athlon Barton with on-board VIA graphics and it ran Vista just fine, though without the Aero "eye candy".

"Roll-up" does not equal "Service Pack." So, off your high-horse you go.