Wuauserv Causing High CPU Usage.
Many Windows system processes are considered essential for a safe and fully functional PC. Wuauserv is arguably one of the most important – this service (also known as Windows Update service) keeps your computer up to date with the latest feature releases and bug fixes.
Like ntoskrnl.exe and other essential system services, wuauserv requires priority access to your system resources from time to time. Unfortunately, this does mean that you will occasionally see wuauserv reporting high CPU usage. If this happens to you and you are looking for a solution, here’s what you need to do.
Why Does Wuauserv Cause High CPU Usage?
Windows Update Service (or wuauserv), as the name suggests, is responsible for keeping your Windows PC up to date. Emergency security measures and bug fixes, as well as new features and system improvements, are available through Windows Update.
Windows will usually take care of these updates even if you don’t even notice, although you may need to fix stuck updates from time to time. However, if the processes associated with wuauserv (such as wuauclt.exe) report high CPU usage in Task Manager for an extended period, this may indicate a problem with your computer that needs to be addressed further.
For most people, this might indicate an update that is currently being installed – you just have to wait for it to come out. It can also indicate problems with incorrectly installing updates, but it can also be corrupted system files, causing services such as wuauserv to stop working as expected.
In this case, you will need to check and restore system files or, in the worst case, consider resetting Windows 10 to factory settings. Of course, if your computer is struggling, you may need to update it to get more processing power.
Check Your Windows Update Status
High CPU utilization has a root cause – after all, it is low for no reason. If wuauserv and related processes (such as wuauclt.exe or svchost.exe) report high CPU usage on your computer, then Windows Update is running.
The likely answer is that Windows Update does what it does best – downloads and installs updates. Some updates (especially major feature updates) take time to download and install, requiring additional system resources to complete the process. In this case, don’t panic.
Allow Windows Update to complete the update process and when prompted, restart your computer to complete. You can check your Windows Update status (including whether any updates are being downloaded or installed) in the Windows Settings menu.
- To test this, right-click the Start menu and select Settings.
- From the Windows Settings menu, select Update & Security> Windows Update. From here, you will see the current status of the Windows Update service, including whether there are any updates available, downloading or installing at the moment.
If Windows Update is using a significant amount of your system resources without any signs of normal activity (such as downloading or installing updates), you should continue to investigate a possible solution by following the instructions below.
Check and Repair Your System Files
Imagine your Windows installation is like an expensive coach watch. It may sound simple, but underneath are all sorts of cogs, levers, and gadgets to create the system you are using.
However, if one of these gears is broken or damaged, the entire system will stop working. In this case, the cogs break – these are your system files. Corrupted system files cause problems, whether it’s general system instability (including high CPU usage) or more serious crashes and BSOD errors.
Windows Update is one such gear. If you see problems with Windows Update, you should check your system files for errors and, if found, fix them. This can be done using the System File Checker tool in Windows PowerShell.
- First, right-click the Start menu and select Windows PowerShell (Admin).
- In a PowerShell window, type / sfc scannow and press Enter to run the command. This will run an integrity check on your system files, comparing it to the standard Windows installation image and automatically fixing any corrupted files, but watch for any additional on-screen instructions.
Disable Windows Update Delivery Optimization
If you have multiple Windows 10 computers on your local network, you may notice an increase in CPU usage due to the wuauserv service and related processes. This is due to Delivery Optimization, which helps limit the amount of bandwidth used for Windows Update downloads by sharing files on your network.
If you have one computer that is downloading a major update, that update is automatically pushed to other Windows PCs on your network using Delivery Optimization. This same system can also be used to provide updates to other internet devices due to the peer-to-peer nature of the system.
This can affect the available internet bandwidth (including any data limits on your connection), but it can also cause spikes in your CPU usage when content is streamed to other devices. To limit this, you can stop Delivery Optimization completely in Windows Settings.
- First, right-click the Start menu and select Settings.
- From the Windows Settings menu, select Update & Security> Delivery Optimization.
- Select the “Allow downloads from other computers” slider in the Delivery Optimization menu to the “Off” position. Or leave the slider enabled, but select a PC on my local network below to restrict update file sharing to other Windows PCs on your local network.
After you turn off Delivery Optimization, restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
Check for Malware Using Microsoft Defender
If your computer is infected with viruses or malware, it can seriously affect your computer. Stopping Windows updates is one of the possible ways malware infection can be harmful, especially because security updates can stop certain types of malware from being exposed.
In this case, you need to scan your computer for malware. While there are third-party tools available for this, the best way is to run a boot scan of your PC with the built-in Microsoft Defender.
This complete antivirus and malware protection solution can remove the toughest malware from your computer. However, you can only use Microsoft Defender if you are not already using a third-party antivirus. Otherwise, consider using the download scan features of this tool as an alternative.
- To get started, right-click the Start menu and select Settings.
- From the Options menu, choose Update & Security> Windows Security. > Open Windows Security.
- In the Windows Security window, select Virus & Threat Protection> Scan Settings. A list of additional scanning methods for Microsoft Defender appears below.
- Select an offline Microsoft Defender scan option from the list, then select Scan Now to schedule it.
- Windows will prompt you to close all open windows, save your work, and prepare to restart. Select “Scan” to continue.
After a few seconds, Windows will restart and boot into the Microsoft Defender scan menu. Microsoft Defender will scan your computer for malware – follow any additional on-screen instructions to confirm removal, quarantine, or possible repair of the infected files found.
Stop Automatic Windows Updates
Although you cannot completely disable the Windows Update service and prevent the installation of updates, you can temporarily stop them. Pausing these updates may allow you to continue troubleshooting, especially if a particular update is causing you problems.
- First, right-click the Start menu and select Settings.
- From the Settings menu, select Update & Security> Windows Update. You can pause the Windows Update service for a week by selecting the Pause updates for 7 days option. Or select “More Options” to choose a longer period.
- Use the Pause Updates drop-down menu in Advanced Options to select a date to resume Windows updates. The change will take effect automatically.
If you defer updates using the advanced options menu, you will need to install the missed updates after the specified time period has passed before you can repeat the process.
Keeping Windows 10 Updated
If the wuauserv service is causing high CPU usage on your PC, it probably indicates an overdue system service. Windows Update is part of this process, but if the update seems problematic, you may need to stop installing Windows Update to investigate and fix any underlying issues first.
You may also want to consider updating your device drivers automatically using Windows Update or a third-party application, although some components (including your graphics card) may require you to manually download the latest drivers. If you are concerned about outdated software, you can also update your apps automatically.
Wuauserv Causing High CPU Usage
Wuauserv Causing High CPU Usage