Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Exponential Algorithm In Windows Update Slowing XP Machines

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the no-pep-in-your-step dept.

Microsoft 413

jones_supa writes "An interesting bug regarding update dependency calculation has been found in Windows XP. By design, machines using Windows Update retrieve patch information from Microsoft's update servers (or possibly WSUS in a company setting). That patch information contains information about each patch: what software it applies to and, critically, what historic patch or patches the current patch supersedes. Unfortunately, the Windows Update client components used an algorithm with exponential scaling when processing these lists. Each additional superseded patch would double the time taken to process the list. With the operating system now very old, those lists have grown long, sometimes to 40 or more items. On a new machine, that processing appeared to be almost instantaneous. It is now very slow. After starting the system, svchost.exe is chewing up the entire processor, sometimes for an hour or more at a time. Wait long enough after booting and the machine will eventually return to normalcy. Microsoft thought that it had this problem fixed in November's Patch Tuesday update after it culled the supersedence lists. That update didn't appear to fix the problem. The company thought that its December update would also provide a solution, with even more aggressive culling. That didn't seem to help either. For one reason or another, Microsoft's test scenarios for the patches didn't reflect the experience of real Windows XP machines."

cancel ×

413 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

No Sympathy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708317)

They should have been off Windows XP long ago.

Re:No Sympathy (5, Informative)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 10 months ago | (#45708375)

They should have been off Windows XP long ago.

Indeed. But it will stay for very very long I'm afraid. Lot's of systems still runs on XP with no available migration path. They just recently upgraded the security system where I work to XP. I don't want to think about what it ran before that.

Re:No Sympathy (4, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 10 months ago | (#45708443)

So someone thought it was a good idea to upgrade a security system with software that will have no security support in 4 months time?

Re:No Sympathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708479)

He means their physical security system, because there's no way that somebody breaking into the building would ever use a software vulnerability to get around your fancy-ass computerized magnetic locks.

Re:No Sympathy (4, Funny)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 10 months ago | (#45708847)

Just shoot the control panel. Door will just open

Re:No Sympathy (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 10 months ago | (#45708929)

It's not just a (physical, building) security system, it's ANY system. Why on earth would you choose to base your product (something that presumably companies will use for many, many years) on something that will have no security support in just 4 months? It's really quite idiotic; there's lots of freely-available OSes (including an RTOS) out there that you can use instead which don't have this problem.

Re:No Sympathy (3, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 10 months ago | (#45709069)

Many reasons.

1. It's light enough.
2. It's air gapped.
3. It's secured via elimination of infection vectors.
4. It's needed for legacy reasons.
5. Etc.

Re:No Sympathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45709097)

So someone thought it was a good idea to upgrade a security system with software that will have no security support in 4 months time?

At least at the time of deployment it would be supported, which sounds like an improvement. Did you miss the GP's comment?

I don't want to think about what it ran before that.

Re:No Sympathy (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 months ago | (#45708439)

Yeah, let's throw away that perfectly good piece of kit because you don't like it.

Re:No Sympathy (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 10 months ago | (#45708577)

As mentioned above win XP is nearing its end of life where it will not get anymore security updates. Software updates can be done without throwing away hardware. That's a good reason to change the software on the machine to something else: win 7, RHEL, SUSE, something.

Re:No Sympathy (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 10 months ago | (#45708729)

Yeah, let's throw away that perfectly good piece of kit because you don't like it.

If it were perfectly good, there wouldn't need to be any updates.

Re:No Sympathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708671)

I have a laptop which my kids use for simple web browsing and typing homework. Should I pay to upgrade to 7, or what? XP serves its purpose just fine, except of course when it's running painfully slowly.

Re:No Sympathy (2)

Lazere (2809091) | about 10 months ago | (#45708825)

Not trying to be patronizing or sarcastic here, but have you thought about Linux? Throw Lubuntu on it and it'll run at least twice as fast. For the small amount of things you say they do on it, there really shouldn't be many migration pains.

Re:No Sympathy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45709249)

That machine is most likely a bot serving junk email and crap posts. Your charity is commendable, but I question your ethics.

another paid microsoft employee (1)

deysOfBits (2198798) | about 10 months ago | (#45708809)

Is everybody stupid. XP is fast. Faster than all the current consumer grade PC OSes Small print and does everything a true muti-tasking is supposed to do. DO you know that 2 gig on XP 32 bit which is pretty much the majority of all Xp installations equals 4 gig on a 64 bit OS. 2 Gig on win 7 64 is the same as 1 gig on XP 32.
God I do not want angels flying when I click a button on a window

We live in a consumer society populated by IDIOTS.

Re:another paid microsoft employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45709039)

You're like the Windows XP version of APK aren't you?

Re:another paid microsoft employee (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 10 months ago | (#45709241)

Is everybody stupid. XP is fast. Faster than all the current consumer grade PC OSes

I think that is what this patch... Sorry... BUG is supposed to fix.

It's a resource issue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45709113)

I'll upgrade XP to a different MS-OS the day MS can deliver something as small and efficient as XP. If they can't I have to look elsewhere

Re:No Sympathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45709119)

Really? Troll? I'm advocating people should have migrated off an operating system with a terrible security record, incompatibilities with newer (more secure) software, and is over a decade old, and I get marked Troll?

Honestly, letting this bug kill the system entirely and force normal users to move to a newer windows or Linux on the same machine (or even buy a new computer with whatever modern OS they want) is the best thing that can happen to internet visible Windows XP machines.

Remove, replace with apt (5, Funny)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 10 months ago | (#45708329)

This is clearly the right time for Microsoft to completely rewamp the update system in XP; and what could possibly be better than to just remove the whole thing and import an already working package system from Debian?

Re:Remove, replace with apt (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708397)

Yeah, four months before the final end of support date I'm sure they have a copious budget for massive rewrites on their three-major-versions-old legacy product.

But good news: after next April, just kill off the update checker entirely, because there will never be an update again! Problem solved. You're welcome.

Re:Remove, replace with apt (2)

johnsie (1158363) | about 10 months ago | (#45708475)

Screw compatibility, let's install Linux on all Windows XP machines just to keep this fanbody happy.

Re:Remove, replace with apt (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708493)

The dependency system in dpkg has been shown to be powerful enough to express sudoku puzzles which then APT has to solve to resolve conflicts. Technically still potentially exponential with improper use (I trust Microsoft would find some such non-working model reliably).

Re:Remove, replace with apt (3, Funny)

mlw4428 (1029576) | about 10 months ago | (#45708963)

That's right. I can just then run an apt-get dist-upgrade and I'll have a non-booting system in mere hours! No more waiting for pesky Windows releases.

Re:Remove, replace with apt (-1, Troll)

operagost (62405) | about 10 months ago | (#45708987)

I'm not sure why any intelligent person would think this is funny. THREE operating systems have come out after XP-- it's not like this 12 year old OS is the latest from Microsoft. You're making Linux zealots look even dumber than they are.

Re:Remove, replace with apt (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about 10 months ago | (#45709229)

I'm not sure why any intelligent person would think this is funny. THREE operating systems have come out after XP-- it's not like this 12 year old OS is the latest from Microsoft. You're making Linux zealots look even dumber than they are.

That's exactly why it's funny, you crusty old bastard. (At least, judging by your UID, anyway....)
Besides, I'm guessing in a few years we'll start seeing the same problem on Vista and 7, too.

Re:Remove, replace with apt (3, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 10 months ago | (#45709081)

It just isn't possible. There is a whole api (WUA) built on top of how it works now. Everything using it would fail if it moved to something different. That is, it is very evident that it was built with the update format currently in use to guide its direction. An emulation layer may not be possible, and even if it is, may not be more efficient than what is there now and also is work toward something that is EOL in 4 months.

The current way it works now, is the client downloads wsusscn2.cab, which in turn contains package.cab (among many others), which contains package.xml. Package.xml contains the updates in such a way that is flexible in that it can address more than one OS/platform/application/etc per patch, or more than one patch per update, or more than one file per patch, and so on. The Update nodes only point to categories/patches/files/locations/prerequisites/revision/etc via ids which have to be looked up deep in the file. Right now, that xml file is over 65MB. It would have made this easy if it were stored in a relation database, instead of an xml file, but it isn't and like I said, the API was built around the source of the information being an xml file, among other things.

An hour? Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708347)

I have a Q9550 processor'd machine running at 3.4ghz and left it over night and it was still chewing on the list. Eventually I just killed the svchost process.

What about 2003 Server? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708365)

Does 2003 Server have the same problem since it uses the same update mechanisms as XP?

Re:What about 2003 Server? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708391)

No they fixed it, but they refuse to backport the fix to XP since it's "not a new product" and "might break third-party applications".

Best way to force an upgrade (4, Insightful)

s_p_oneil (795792) | about 10 months ago | (#45708373)

That's the best way to force users to upgrade that I can think of. They're already planning to end-of-life it. After EOL, they can simply start adding empty patches to the update system until it drives left-over XP users to upgrade. ;-)

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 10 months ago | (#45708381)

Isn't EOL planned for April, anyways?

If there's no more updates, what's the point of fixing the update mechanism?

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (2)

Selur (2745445) | about 10 months ago | (#45708485)

probably all depends on how much pressure China and similar factions have on Microsoft to persuade them to expend the XP support,..

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708713)

Extending support for people who actually paid for the licenses once is one thing, although of course that has to end eventually, because a one-time payment can't support a development team in perpetuity.

Extending support for people who are running pirated copies, though? You're delusional.

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (-1, Troll)

penix1 (722987) | about 10 months ago | (#45709307)

Extending support for people who actually paid for the licenses once is one thing, although of course that has to end eventually,

Why? People paid good money for working supported product. Just because Microsoft wants to bait and switch doesn't make it right. I hope some deep pockets corporation sues the bejesus out of them to force this issue.

because a one-time payment can't support a development team in perpetuity.

Oh, so that's your reason to allow them to bait and switch. Look, they should have charged a proper amount to cover whoever does support. It isn't the customer's fault that Microsoft didn't price their product accordingly.

Be that as it may, one solution to the problem you gave is to force Microsoft to release the source code to legal licensees if they are unwilling to support the product they sold. That way at least someone can support it for working hardware. But oh, that would stop the bait and switch... Can't have that!

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (4, Funny)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 10 months ago | (#45708697)

Mainstream support ended on April 14, 2009. They've been pumping the dead horse full of adrenaline ever since to keep it from falling over.

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708799)

Well, to keep people from installing Lubuntu on their old XP machines?

It's a risk they take.

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 10 months ago | (#45708431)

What's the point of running the update service after EOL?

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 10 months ago | (#45708455)

Yep. If people haven't upgraded yet, making their computer as slow as molasses is a good means of forcing them to get around to it, finally.

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about 10 months ago | (#45709017)

It killed my Web browsing virtual machine until I used an offline update utility and fixed it manually.

Yes, XP needs to die, because it is made to deal with threats from 2000-2001, with added security patches strapped on as the need arose. Windows 7 and newer help address this issue.

However, I know plenty of places where XP is used that can't be fixed by a upgrade or platform change. Embedded stuff for example. Another are dedicated machinery that interfaces with a PC, does have newer drivers, and likely will not get newer drivers. A friend's $3000 sewing machine is one example.

Another person's CNC wood mill is another item. So, those machines are stuck with XP pretty much for good, because who is going to throw out a perfectly functioning mill just because it requires a legacy OS? Even some CD/DVD duplicators only will interface with XP, and moving to Vista or newer will be an exercise in futility.

So, XP in a lot of cases is here to stay, for better or worse.

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (2)

ApplePy (2703131) | about 10 months ago | (#45709261)

A friend's $3000 sewing machine is one example.

Another person's CNC wood mill is another item. So, those machines are stuck with XP pretty much for good, because who is going to throw out a perfectly functioning mill just because it requires a legacy OS?

There are still options. You'd be surprised how much old oddball hardware *someone out there* has written Linux drivers for.

Failing that, there's Wine. Or XP emulation mode in Win 7.

Or pay a homeless developer some cash & Red Bull to write you some new software. CAM has been around forever and it's not complicated.

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708775)

Just ran across this at a client's today. 100% cpu usage by svchost.

They ordered a new machine, as the April deadline is near anyway.

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45708785)

I've seen a similar pattern. A complaint about MS-Access not being able to handle a situation that most would consider "expected" or "normal", had the following reply from Microsoft (paraphrased):

"MS-Access is not designed for high-end loads or processing. We instead recommend you upgrade to MS-Sql Server, which is a more powerful tool. Thank You, -MS"

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 10 months ago | (#45709109)

However, that statement has been made about Access since version 1.0.

Re:Best way to force an upgrade (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45709271)

Warning: Rant Ahead

After MS effectively killed off the desktop-database competition, MS-Access mostly stagnated. I've seen silly bugs last for almost a decade.

They mostly just shuffled the menus around (driving existing users nuts), and added an HMTL-like forms/report editor about 5 years ago. I prefer the older WYSIWYG editor for most tasks, which is only half supported now. WYSIWYG is more natural for fine control where managers want to squish as much as possible on a single page. (Whether that's a good habit or not is another issue. They want squishy and they control my paycheck.)

Thus, MS actually de-evolved the product, but they don't care because they have no real competition due to their Office bundling deals. File Maker Pro is about their only semi-threat. And O-O-Base sucks maggot-filled eggs on a good day.

Upgrade? Win7 and 8 have their own update issues (1)

knarfling (735361) | about 10 months ago | (#45708937)

Upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8 certainly fixes one issue, but it creates a whole new set of problems.

1.) There is guarantee that this won't be a problem in Win7 or Win8. This only showed up when there were *Lots* of updates to IE. In three or four years, Win7 could have a similar problem, or at least a problem with similar symptoms.

2.) Win7 did redesign the update process. (Actually Vista first showed up with it, but many people are skipping Vista altogether.) But in their great (for very, very small values of great) wisdom, they removed the ability to delete old, unneeded patches. In XP and 2003, you simply went to the Windows folder and deleted any of the old patches. You could no longer un-install the patch, but who needs to un-install a 7year-old patch? With Win 7, you cannot delete old patches. The winsxs folder grows exponentially, and since everything depends on everything else, deleting from that folder causes all kinds of problems. This leaves you with a winsxs folder that can be 20G or 30G with no way to trim it down. This is fine for a single system with a 500G hard drive, but is a BIG pain when dealing with VM's.

When I saw this, I didn't know what it was (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708415)

I saw this during video playback, checked to see why the video was barfing and saw the svchost.exe chewing up 100% just like they say. It didn't happen on boot. I think it can happen whenever Windows Update scans for updates.

However, when I killed the svchost just to watch my video, I lost sound which made me think it had to be Media Player.

Well, maybe it was; but eventually I found out about this bug and realized I had to just sit through it.

The questions for me are "WTF does it do?", "Why does it have to walk this tree, and what is so bloody CPU intensive about it?" followed by, "Why does an update have to care what patches are superseded? As long as you're up to the latest patch level, it should be all good".

I think the whole thing is fundamentally broken. You have your current version of $Thing, it depends on N other things which must be of a given version. When you upgrade $Thing you just check to make sure the things it depends on are there and if they aren't, then you get them. The old stuff? You just check to see what depends on it, and if there is no longer anything depending on it you can quarantine it. If anything tries to access a quarantined dependancy, then your dependencies are broken and you need to patch the app that tried to do that.

I know I'm glossing over some things, and package management is not trivial; but there's no excuse I can see for exponentially growing scan algorithms.

Re:When I saw this, I didn't know what it was (5, Informative)

bmajik (96670) | about 10 months ago | (#45708709)

to isolate windows update so you can kill it safely, do

sc config wuauserv type= own

next time service manager starts wuauserv, it will get its own private instance of svchost.exe, which you can kill with impunity :)

Re:When I saw this, I didn't know what it was (5, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#45708849)

Additionally, "tasklist /svc" can be used to show which services each svchost.exe is running.

FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708939)

"fundamentally" should be "deliberately"

Re:When I saw this, I didn't know what it was (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 10 months ago | (#45708985)

I noticed this slowdown on the VMs I manage for legacy *native* IE6+ (because emulated doesn't cut it, it *has* to be the real thing) last Wednesday. I left one VM "running" Windows Update for 4 hours and it still hadn't finished "checking" for the 11 updates I knew it would want. As I needed to use my machine for actual work I couldn't leave it any longer...

O(2â) should be avoided (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708419)

How exactly does someone think a O(2â) algorithm is OK to check in?

Re: O(2â) should be avoided (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708451)

And how exactly does Slashdot not have full Unicode support?

Past abuses of Unicode (5:erocS) (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#45708965)

And how exactly does Slashdot not have full Unicode support?

Slashdot used to have at least some level of Unicode support. Then vandals discovered directionality override characters [slashdot.org] and used them to break the layout and spoof moderation. The admins responded by instituting a strict code point whitelist to prevent the use of directionality overrides and the use of characters that are more useful for Unicode art (the successor to ASCII art) than for English text.

Re:O(2â) should be avoided (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 months ago | (#45708463)

They don't seem so bad when the first 10 iterations take a few ms.

Re:O(2â) should be avoided (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 10 months ago | (#45708505)

How exactly does someone think a O(2â) algorithm is OK to check in?

It's magic. Repeat these magic words after me:

"It's just a temporary fix. We will replace it with something better after we meet the next deadline."

Keep saying that until you are reassigned to a different team or "decide to pursue interests outside of the company", and then it changes from a temporary fix to a permanent and immutable bit of legacy code.

Re:O(2â) should be avoided (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 10 months ago | (#45708975)

It's OK to check in as long as you meet your deadline and it seems to work. Performance (esp. years down the road) isn't important. Do you think people buying computers at Best Buy are going to avoid your product because it's going to become ridiculously slow many years later? Of course not. So just throw in a crappy algorithm, it doesn't matter. It's not like this is a free/open-source OS where someone will fix it just out of academic interest. With commercial code, if there isn't a compelling business reason to produce and ship quality code, they won't.

Also an issue for 2003 (2)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | about 10 months ago | (#45708423)

I've noticed that this is an issue on Windows Server 2003 (I believe R2 included). I have noticed that this is less of an issue once IE8 is installed (this should have already been done by this point), but this is still definitely an issue. I will be glad when I am rid of this OS (soon!).

Re:Also an issue for 2003 (1)

jaseuk (217780) | about 10 months ago | (#45708629)

This is probably an issue with every Windows operating system using the update services, it's only visible with XP as it's the oldest supported operating system, so it has many, many more patches.

Jason

Re:Also an issue for 2003 (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 10 months ago | (#45709313)

The update system was completely revamped with Vista so honestly you're doing a big assumption there.

On purpose? (4, Interesting)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 10 months ago | (#45708429)

I'm really not sure if I would put it past MS or not to do this intentionally and leave it unfixed while reporting (lying) about trying to fix it in order to force the death of XP on schedule. It seems too obvious.

Re:On purpose? (1)

johnsie (1158363) | about 10 months ago | (#45708495)

Is that you Alex Jones?

Re:On purpose? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708557)

You have that backwards. Those CONservatives support theft by corporations. They love it. In this case Microsoft is stealing from their customers by not allowing them to run the software they bought. Jones loves that sort of theft. All you CONservatives do. You must be one of them with your irrational support of him and this Microsoft theft.

Re:On purpose? (5, Funny)

X0563511 (793323) | about 10 months ago | (#45708593)

I'm really - I mean really, uncomfortable with the thought of Microsoft planning this kind of thing 12 years in advance...

Re:On purpose? (1)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | about 10 months ago | (#45708899)

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Bubblesort is a very easy algorithm to implement... and works well for a few entries.

Updates to EOL Software are a pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708473)

film at 11

Similar experiences (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708513)

I have implemented a couple of component systems. The dependency calculcation algorithm easily becomes a Towers of Hanoi exercise unless a proper heuristic is applied. In fact, you can solve it easily the way you brute-force a Sudoku solution. IOW, cut off the recursion at the first opportunity, and you'll be ok.

bizNatcH (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708519)

win out; 3ither the From within.

This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708521)

Seriously, did anyone think this wasn't the case?

Microsoft wants to make sure that their users are motivated to buy a new OS, so they do whatever they can to make their old OSes look slow and decrepit. Making the patching procedure painfully tedious is simply another trick to make the new OS look like an improvement and make the user want to upgrade.

Patching my old Ubuntu 12.04 LTS install (3 versions behind!) is simple and quick. None of this "make it slow to abuse/exploit the user" crap.

it's a h/w performance test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708527)

Microsoft does it this way so they have long enough durations to compare different OEMs.

Because of this issue (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708539)

I just instaled linux... problem solved...

Re:Because of this issue (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45708907)

I just instaled linux... problem solved...

Ubuntu gave me a boatload of dependency questions the last time I upgraded the OS version of my kids computer. Paraphrased: "The following gajillion packages or services with funny names may not be compatible with your new upgrade request. Please checkmark those you wish to keep."

Yeah, I know, I was probably "doing something wrong" or didn't bother to RTFM for upgrades, but from a "consumer" standpoint, it was not "user friendly" and time-consuming. (True, it's only once every couple of years one has to do such. MS sends upgrades far more often, but at least it's the machine slaving away instead of the human.)
 

Ah that explains it (3, Informative)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 10 months ago | (#45708621)

I just put XP on an old laptop to run some specialized automotive software. This svchost bug has been bothering me ever since. If you kill the process it also takes out other services (like wifi).

Re:Ah that explains it (2)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 10 months ago | (#45708659)

My work computer has been cursed with this problem. Eventually it started locking up every patch Tuesday, so I just killed automatic updates..... problem solved. Something with the Dell OEM XP install is clearly fubared with regards to the actual patch service as manually installing an update causes the machine to lock up too. Rebooting causes an evil "We had to shut your machine down to protect its hardware" blue screen until I go into safe mode once and reboot again. IT will get around to it eventually. I think they are just waiting for a new machine to become available to swap it out.

Re:Ah that explains it (1)

pgpalmer (2015142) | about 10 months ago | (#45709013)

Eventually it started locking up every patch Tuesday, so I just killed automatic updates..... problem solved.

Good plan. It's not like it will find any updates after EOL, anyway.

Re:Ah that explains it (5, Interesting)

bmajik (96670) | about 10 months ago | (#45708685)

one thing you can do to fix this is the following

sc config wuauserv type= own

(the space between "type=" and "own" is important)

this tells the service manager to put windows update service (WUAUserv) into its own hosting process, e.g. a new/separate instance of svchost.exe

Another service that can be implicated in updates is the "BITS" service. You can use the same command to isolate it also.

Anytime I see a svchost.exe instance misbehaving I start isolating the services inside it and then seeing which individual service is being problematic.

Re:Ah that explains it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45709091)

Or you can just use Process Explorer.

Re:Ah that explains it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708865)

just stop "Automatic Updates" service

Radical Idea (2)

rgmoore (133276) | about 10 months ago | (#45708731)

Here's a radical idea: why don't they fix the stupid exponential algorithm rather than papering it over by trimming the lists?

Microsoft Stops Supporting Win98 Early (2006) (1)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#45709015)

Because there aren't enough months of Windows XP's extended support left for it to be worth fixing. Microsoft refused to fix a few bugs near the end of Windows 98's service life as well; see this story from June 2006 [slashdot.org] .

Re:Radical Idea (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 10 months ago | (#45709121)

Here's a radical idea: why don't they fix the stupid exponential algorithm rather than papering it over by trimming the lists?

Because the product is obsolete and will be out of support in 4 months?

That's like replacing the air conditioner In a car that's about to be sold or scrapped.

Now, if you're talking about WIndows Vista or 7, then yes, it's a good idea to fix it. But for something already out of date and will be EOL'd, there's less justification.

NSA still using XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708761)

I spotted the XP logo on a screensaver during the 60 minutes episode.

Standard MS Joke (5, Funny)

Naatach (574111) | about 10 months ago | (#45708779)

How many Microsoft Engineers does it take to change a lightbulb? None. They just redefine darkness as the new standard.

Clowns, ass variety (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45708783)

These are the clowns who use some kind of insertion sort to sort the files in a folder window, so when you chamge the sort on a window with thousands of files, god help you. Hell, insertion sort would be faster. It's as if their algorithm is "add the next file name, then bubble sort the whole damned thing. Repeat with next name."

This is built into their display list widget. How shameful past the early 1980s.

Re:Clowns, ass variety (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 10 months ago | (#45709021)

This is built into their display list widget. How shameful past the early 1980s.

What are you talking about? Do you not realize that far superior sorting algorithms were invented as long ago as the 40s? Quicksort was invented in 1960, and mergesort was invented in 1945, for example. Being the early 1980s is no excuse for using crappy sort algorithms.

can't I just download all the patches instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708807)

Where can I find a complete set of all the updates they have so I can install those I like (not windows genuine disadvantage etc) without having to connect to microsofts update servers?
and not network connect the computer until I'm done

Re:can't I just download all the patches instead? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#45708941)

Microsoft Update Catalog [microsoft.com] is probably closest to what you need.

Slipstream (1)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#45709049)

Where can I find a complete set of all the updates they have [...] without having to connect to microsofts update servers?

If you don't want to connect to Microsoft servers, why did you choose to use a Microsoft operating system? But if you insist, start your research with the words slipstreamed updates.

Re:can't I just download all the patches instead? (1)

lowen (10529) | about 10 months ago | (#45709103)

wsusofflineupdate ( www.wsusoffline.net )works well; use one machine to download everything, generate an ISO or USB key with the updates, and update offline.

ah, I've been seeing this (1)

CaptainPhoton (398343) | about 10 months ago | (#45708815)

Wow, so I'm not crazy. I have to keep some old XP machines around for certain build tools. When I turned on my XP PC's recently for a sustaining engineering activity, the Windows update had them bogged down all night and all day. Was assuming a machine-specific problem, but this confirms it's a general problem. Thanks Slashdot for pointing this out, and thanks Microsoft for keeping IT interesting.

Not Just XP (1)

CWCheese (729272) | about 10 months ago | (#45708845)

I would suspect this is not limited solely to XP because I've experienced horrible delays with recent updates on a Win7 machine, which is only 6-7 months old. It's a new laptop I got from my company to replace an older XP machine and I recall updates were very snappy at first, now getting progressively more greedy for processing time.

My client's machine was affected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708873)

I have a client that uses Windows XP. The client contacted me last month about lags in the application I provide for them. The client's office isn't open every day, and they turn off all the PCs when they're out of the office.

Last month, logs showed me that the problems were ONLY occurring in the first few hours after booting the PC for the first time following a "patch Tuesday." The problem appeared on four consecutive months, so I immediately suspected windows updates. I warned the client that it might happen again and suggested that they turn on the PC first thing when they arrive.

The lags happened again this past week, so I did some looking around and noticed that they were using an old version of Internet Explorer (which is required for Windows Updates), so I upgraded them to IE8. After two failed attempts at installing IE8 (it spent several hours doing nothing while supposedly downloading updates as part of the install process), it finally succeeded on the third try, and now the machine processes Windows Updates significantly faster (a couple of minutes instead of more than an hour).

p.s. Why the F*** wasn't IE8 considered a critical update for XP?

Re:My client's machine was affected (1)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#45709065)

Why the F*** wasn't IE8 considered a critical update for XP?

Because too many organizations had web sites and ActiveX controls that depended on Internet Explorer 6 "features" removed in Internet Explorer 8.

We used to call it Cruft (2)

dccase (56453) | about 10 months ago | (#45708905)

Of course Windows performance degrades over time.

How else would they ever get anyone to upgrade? Remove the Start button?

Windiz Update solved that problem. (1)

heson (915298) | about 10 months ago | (#45708923)

I miss Windiz Update....

About time (1)

operagost (62405) | about 10 months ago | (#45708971)

I'd noticed this on one of two lingering Windows XP machines last month. Good to know I'm not nuts.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45709275)

Ditto. I came just to comment that my friends and family have been complaining about this happening for about the same amount of time now. I'd suggest them replacing their computers but I know who would be the lucky person to have to set them all up... *sigh*

Running a computer store, this is driving me crazy (2)

lev400 (1193967) | about 10 months ago | (#45709051)

I run a small computer store and this issue has been driving me crazy the last few weeks, we have had a few XP machines come back because customers are complaining they are so slow! When we refurbished them before these patches they were fine! I have had to disable Windows update to fix the issue, not the best solution at all. 100% CPU from svchost.exe for hours, how can Microsoft mess up so bad..!

.NET Updates Clobber My System (4, Interesting)

ewhac (5844) | about 10 months ago | (#45709267)

I couldn't tell you why, but I haven't (yet) observed the described behavior on my XP system. The auto-updater ususally settles down in a matter of minutes.

No. In my case, it's trying to apply the .NET updates that completely murders my system. Apparently MS wants a gigabyte or so of free disk space on C:\ (and nowhere else) or the update will fail miserably. As it happens, my system partition has about 200MB free space, so the update disappears down a rabbit hole and never completes.

I used to think it was because it needed a bunch of temporary disk space, so last night I changed the TMP and TEMP environment variables to point to a volume with tons of free space, rebooted (because, you know, it's Windows), set just one of the several .NET updates running, then went off to see The Hobbit. When I returned some three hours later, the update had hung, the disk was idle, C:\ had zero bytes free, and the system log was corrupted.

Honestly, I don't know why anyone continues to be surprised by Redmond's rank incompetence...

Schwab

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?