I have a Haeir Laptop from Oct 2014 with OEM Windows 8.1 on it.

Lately (last 18 months), my laptop has been on high CPU usage quite a lot more than usual.

From the task manager and Services tab, I have found out Windows Update is the bad guy.

If I stop the "wuauserv" service, the CPU usage comes back to normal.

But whenever I try to install a Windows update, or try to update antivirus (Windows Defender) definitions, or try to update any driver from the Device Manager, it starts again. I give it time to do whatever it is trying to do but it continues on for weeks without completing, until I have to stop it myself for some reason. I usually sleep my computer or hibernate it, so it continues whatever it is doing after I wake it up every time.

I know some things about computer security so I never click on phishing links etc. and never run any software from internet unless I am sure of what I am doing. The Windows Defender somehow keeps up to date and is always on the watch. It has caught scripts and viruses from USBs a few times so it is probably doing its job fine. I am almost sure that my PC is clean from malicious software.

I usually mind my own business and don't try to tell Windows how to do its job, but this problem is getting on my nerves lately for the following reason. I want to help my Windows get out of it.

1) It is ruining the battery. The original battery wore out soon with constant 50% CPU usage. It discharged within 1.5-2 hours without the cahrger, so it came through 2-3 charge discharge cycles every day. I replaced the battery. The new battery lasted even less with the high CPU usage and went through 3-4 charge discharge cycles everyday. Didn't last more than 8 months until its backup went less than 10 minutes.

2) I can't get any Windows updates. I have set the update setting to manual. So whenever I try to update it, it goes into some deep thinking and continues thinking for the next 20-30 days until I have to interrupt it for some reason by stopping the wuauserv.

3) I can't install any new drivers (I work on Arduino and other hardware, so I need it a lot). Whenever ask it to search and install the drivers automatically, it goes into CPU usage and keeps in some deep thinking until I have to kill the update process.

One thing I would like add. A few years earlier, it had started exhibiting this behavior, but it wasn't so toxic then. It used to go into high CPU usage, but recovered in a few hours and it had completed whatever task it was trying to do (Windows update, install driver, every time on start up). But the time kept getting longer until now I let it do this thing for 40-50 days but it doesn't stop.

Otherwise the computer is perfectly fine. I have some mildly heavy software on it and the hard disk is about 80% full, but it doesn't mind them much. It comes to desktop in 30-40 seconds of pressing the stat button and can open Excel in the next 5-10 seconds.

Please advise me on how to help my Windows get out of its misery.

High CPU Usage High CPU Usage

High CPU Usage Process High CPU Usage Process

High CPU Usage Service High CPU Usage Service

Updates Available Right Now Updates Available Right Now

  • 2
    Best thing to do is get all your windows updates installed, including the optional ones mentioned by Hefewe1zen that may fix your issue. – Moab Mar 12 at 22:43
  • Nope. I am not installing all Windows updates without considering them necessary. – Abdullah Baig Mar 20 at 12:59
  • Then manually download and install the updates you DO consider necessary. – music2myear Mar 20 at 16:50

There are a number of Google results which will suggest various solutions (deleting WU folders, reverting updates, etc). I had a similar problem with Win7 which was only resolved with additional updates from MS. In that vein, I would start with these:

Microsoft article about "Installing and searching for updates is slow and high CPU usage occurs in Windows 8.1"

Windows 8.1 updates KB4467697 and KB4467703

1 - Addresses an issue that causes high CPU usage that results in performance degradation on some systems with Family 15h and 16h AMD processors. This issue occurs after installing the July 2018 Windows updates from Microsoft and the AMD microcode updates that address Spectre Variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715 – Branch Target Injection).

2 - Security updates to Windows App Platform and Frameworks, Windows Graphics, Internet Explorer, Windows Wireless Networking, Windows Kernel, and Windows Server.

  • This seems worth trying. I tried to search on Google but it returned click bait articles advertising adware. – Abdullah Baig Mar 12 at 14:32
  • The KB3102812 from the Microsoft article triggered the wuauserve service. – Abdullah Baig Mar 12 at 14:36
  • It is running with full CPU (25%) but not using any disk usage, with the installation windows saying "Searching for updates on this computer." – Abdullah Baig Mar 12 at 14:50
  • If I stop the wuauserv service, the installer crashes, so I am letting it do it's thing for now. – Abdullah Baig Mar 12 at 14:53
  • Well, the KB4467697 was already present in my available update lists. I tried to install it but it gave some error like low disk space. So I have cleared up some space and getting it installed. Let's see how it goes. – Abdullah Baig Mar 20 at 13:05

One of the problems with Windows Updates I have seen many times is that occasionally they get "stuck" while downloading or installing. When this happens no other updates will go through and sometimes the computer just stays in update mode. The best way I have found to fix this is to search for the most recent cumulative update or whatever update isn't going through (I noticed in an earlier comment that you might be having an issue with KB3102812) and download it from the Microsoft Update Catalog. Then you can manually install it. If this is the issue, the rest of the updates will automatically continue.

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