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Problem with Microsoft Windows Update software (100% processor consumed by svchost) (ntdll.dll!RtlAllocateHeap+0x18c)

Dell Dimension L800r with fresh Windows XP SP2 Upgrade install.

After installing Windows, I installed a Linksys wireless network card,
connected to the network and then attempted to download the Windows Updates
using IE6 on Windows' Updates site.  Here I was asked to install the latest
ActiveX control.  After installing it, my system became unstable and I had to
reboot.  Now within about two minutes after rebooting, my processor is
consumed 75% to 95% by svchost.exe.  I realize this sounds like a virus, but
this computer is behind an NAT modem and an NAT router and there is little
chance of a virus.

If I visit the windows update website, (whether Automatic Updates is enabled
or not) the green bar just loops forever.  I even tried disabeling the
Automatic Update service and then went back to the update site, but the same
thing occurs.

I did a Windows XP repair and then visited the update site.  This time I was
allowed to reinstall the ActiveX control and then my processor consumation
problem started all over again.

Here is some information I wrote to another user (who's having a similar
problem) on how I have been troubleshooting this issue:

In order to get back my processor, I visited the management console and
disabled the Automatic  Updates service.  My Computer > Right Click > Manage
> Services and Applications > Services > Right Clicked on Automatic Updates >

Properties > Select "Startup Type" Disabled > Then clicked on "Stop" to stop
the service from running.

Next, I downloaded Process Explorer from SysInternals.  I started Process
Explorer, restarted the automatic update service and then I visited Windows
Update website again.  At this point I noticed that my processor is consumed
by svchost again, 70% to 95%.  Next, in Process Explorer, I double clicked
svchost to see which thread is consuming my processor.  It is one called
ntdll.dll!RtlAllocateHeap+0x18c.  Here is where the problem lies, but I
haven't been able to find anyone that can help me with it yet.  I can kill
that thread, but I'm still unable to download Windows Updates.  The green bar
just goes forever.

Another thing I did in troubleshooting this was I booted into safe mode and
deleted the new windows update files that got downloaded when I installed
that ActiveX control.  (I assume that's what I'm deleting here.)  This got me
back to original, or nearly so.  I did a file search for wu*.dll and deleted
all results in Windows\System32.  I also deleted wuauclt.exe.  Now I was able
to restart the Automatic Update service without the negative processor
problems.  I was also able to visit the Windows update website and download
the same buggy files all over again.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make this machine functional with
Microsoft's Update software?

I also posted this on the usenet group for Windows Update.  I see lots of others are having the same issue.

And just so this comes up correctly in the search engines: ntdll.dll RtlAllocateHeap +0x18c
Windows XP

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Last Comment

8/22/2022 - Mon

When I run into that problem (1,800 + computers), I download the actual executable file for the update, then run it from the download folder on my computer.

I've chased that rabbit down the hole a few times and don't know what the real answer is, but my solution works.

Good Luck,

How do you know which executable to download?  In this case, I cannot even see which updates are needed because the Windows Update Software that scans my computer for necessary updates is the thing that I need to download.  Its also the "thing" that is causing all the trouble to begin with.  It's the "thing" I refuse to download now because it will bring back my processor problems.

If I go to the update site, I do not have any option but to download it, as it is the first and the only thing that comes up on that site.

I did enable Automatice Updates now with the old, original XP SP2 update software installed.  I've always been visiting the update site manually.  We'll see what happens now.

We get notice of the actual 'name' of the update that needs to be loaded and download it from the Microsoft 'downloads' web page.

You can compare the actual patches on your machine (add/remove programs "show updates") to what is being suggested at MS.
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What I did to resolve this one was I let it sit overnight (with the CPU running high) and it finally downloaded 58 updates.  After installing them, the problem went away.

There have been various inconlusive "fixes" for this problem.  I don't consider what I did to be a fix.  Other fixes that I'm finding online have mixed results.  But it's clear by the amount of posts on Usenet that there is a problem.

Glad it worked -- another 'Old Trick' from an 'Old Dog'.