What is wuauserv? | Plus 4 Fixes For Common Windows Update Service Issues

In this post, we analyze wuauserv and provide some easy fixes for common problems- particularly high CPU usage issues.

Indeed, one of the biggest complaints that users have when they use a Windows OS such as Windows 7, 8, or 10 is that their computer may run really slow and sometimes freeze from time to time.

One of the most common reasons as to why this happens is because of a program that uses a lot of CPU memory to the point that the computer cannot take it anymore.

One of these programs is known as WUAUSERV, an application that has garnered a lot of complaints from irritated Windows owners.

According to DriverEasy, “Wuauserv is a Windows system service of the Windows Update feature. It runs only when Windows Update is running.”

Thankfully, there are a number of easy fixes to solve this problem. Before we get to that, let us first talk about what the program is.

What Is Wuauserv?

Wuauserv is a feature for Windows Update that is already pre-installed in every Windows OS.

It actually doesn’t really serve much of a purpose, although it helps in some functions when it comes to Windows Updates.

Without it, you may get an error message whenever your Windows OS is trying to have an automatic update. However, you should have no problem if you don’t want automatic updates in the first place.

4 Fixes For Common Wuauserv Issues

Fortunately, it’s not that hard to solve the issues related to wuauserv.

The vlogger outlines 4 separate ways to enable and disable it. Watch his video to find out how using services.msc, using CMD, Windows PowerShell, and Windows Registry

We’ve also listed out some extra fixes below that can be done in just a few simple steps.

Let’s start:

1st Fix (Wait For It To Finish Updating)

The first fix isn’t really a fix but a method you might want to consider first before trying out the other more technical methods.

The service uses a huge amount of CPU resources every time an update is ongoing because Windows Update scans for any update on your computer.

According to the folks at DriverEasy, the most basic method you can do is to wait for the process to complete.

Normally, your CPU usage will go back to normal once an update is done. However, if the update takes a very long time to complete, you should now proceed to the other fixes.

2nd Fix (Uninstall Recent Updates)

Since this program is related to Windows Updates, then Windows Updates are the root of it all.

If you find your CPU usage to be too high, DriverEasy recommends that you uninstall the recent updates and see if your problem will be fixed.

Here are the steps to do that:

  1. Go to the Control Panel of your computer.
  2. Click on Uninstall Program.
  3. Click on View Installed Updates.
  4. Look for the Updates on your computer and uninstall the ones you think cause the high CPU usage on your Windows 7, 8, or 10.
  5. Restart your computer.

How To Uninstall Or Remove Windows Updates

According to the vlogger, he’ll show how you can delete or remove updates on Windows 10. You can do this by navigating to “Programs and Features” and then selecting “View Installed Updates.”

This is the primary fix that people usually do and usually works. If not, then you can try the other fixes below.

If you’re having computer trouble, it could be worth trying out Advanced SystemCare (click to learn more). CNET describes it as a “Swiss Army Knife of a PC utility“. Once you download it, you get a suite of optimization tools, including an uninstaller, one-click registry fixes, defragmenters, and more.

3rd Fix (Delete SoftwareDistribution Folder)

If the first fix didn’t work, DriverEasy suggests that you delete the SoftwareDistribution folder.

This folder is a temporary storage for files that you need when you update your Windows computer.

There are files that are possibly corrupted in there and should therefore be deleted so that you can fix the problem. To do this, follow the necessary steps below:

  1. Search for CMD in the Start Menu
  2. Right click on Command Prompt and click Run as Administrator
  3. Enter the code “net stop wuauserv” and press Enter.
  4. Type “net stop bits” and press enter
  5. Open a separate file explorer window and type in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution. Alternatively, go to My Computer, click on Drive C, and look for the folder in the Windows folder.
  6. Remove all the files in the folder.
  7. Go back to the previously opened CMD and type “net start wuauserv” then press Enter.
  8. Type “net start bits” and press Enter.
  9. Close the CMD and restart your computer.
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After you open your computer again, your CPU usage should go back to normal by now.

4th Fix (Disable It)

If none of the above-mentioned fixes work, The Windows Club advises that you disable the WUAUSERV service completely.

When you disable WUAUSERV, you will disable Windows Update Service as a whole. That means Windows isn’t going to update anymore when you do that.

While Windows does not recommend you to do that because there are always new security updates or added features to Windows, a lot of people do it because it gives their computer more resources for their CPU.

Most people also state that their computers have become more usable if they choose to disable Windows Update Service. Of course, they will also fix their high CPU usage in Windows 7 problem as well.

To do that, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on Run in the Start Menu and type in services.msc. Press the Enter button.
  2. You’ll be lead to the Windows Service Manager. Click on Windows Update Service.
  3. Click on Startup Type and a drop down should pop up.
  4. Click on the Disabled option from the list.
  5. Click Apply.
  6. Restart your computer.

After you do this, you should find that the WUAUSERV won’t be giving you a problem anymore. Of course, you won’t be getting all the Windows Updates that your computer may need in the future, but you can always install them manually. All you have to do is check if there are Windows Updates from time to time.

If you see that an update is necessary, then just enable it again and install it.

Forum Feedback

One computer user has reported that wuauserv.dll increases the processor temperature to the range of 60 degree Celsius to over 80 degree Celsius. Also, when it is active, it causes high CPU usage and permanently takes the CPU usage to 30%.

Once the process is terminated, it brings the Windows 7 computer back to normal status.

An individual says that he had to stop it in order to delete the contents of his “Software Distributions” folder.

Every time, he had to go back and kill it in order to get rid of the problem that arises whenever there is a download and installation of Apps from Windows Store. Below is the proper step that this user followed in order to fix the problem:

a. Open the Command Prompt (cmd) and then go to location, C:\Windows\system32>

b. Write the command ‘net stop wuauserv’, press enter.

c. Write the command ‘net stop bits’, press enter.

d. Go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and delete all the items present in this folder.

e. Go back to Command Prompt.

f. Write the command ‘net start wuauserv’, press enter.

g. Write the command ‘net start bits’, press enter.

Multiple Machine Slowdown

Another individual observes that it is wuauserv that was slowing down his multiple machines.

He says that wuauserv had consumed 50% of CPU on a particular day. It was started on more than 50 machines, all with Windows 7 Pro operating system installed, and it ran all through the day. He stopped it on some computer as it was hindering users from working.

XP Slowdowns

A user reported that  wuauserv caused his system to slow down, saying that it’s a known bug and was first introduced in XP SP1 with the introduction of MS Update vs older Windows Updatation. Microsoft never made a fix for XP and seems that they don’t have fix for Windows 7 as well.

The root cause is that the local updates to database grows with time and the match for installed and unrelated updates gets too much slower as the database grows. Currently, there are approximately 200 known updates for Windows 7 Service Pack 1, which is same as to what XP was having when users started raising the same issue.

Delayed Updates

A computer owner explained that it took a week for him to find out the root cause for delayed processes. He watched the software distribution growing initially, and then to stop. He tried for an April roll up update and renamed the software distribution folder together with various tricks he could find online.

Bottom line is to set the updates to install automatically at 3 AM and by morning, the machine will be back to normal. Then again set the updates to ‘notify’ status.

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Infinite Loop

An individual says that WSUS offline failed due to the freezing of his CPU core- the reason being was that the wuauserv service was getting ‘stuck’ as it is continuously looking for new patches and updates. In order to resolve the issue, set the WU or wuauserv to ‘Never search updates’ and then reboot the machine to make it active. This fixes the issue in 90% of machines.

A Windows 10 mobile user pointed out that he was using interop tools for a few weeks so that whenever there was a file download, it was deleted. However, disabling wuauserv with interop requires the ‘Start’ parameter of wuauserv to be set equal to numeric 4 in order to prevent automatic updates.

Conclusion

You don’t really have to worry about issues regarding WUAUSERV because they’re just related to the Windows Updates.

The worst that could happen would be that your computer would hang from time to time due to high CPU usage. Other than that, you’d probably just experience a lot of error messages whenever a Windows Updates is installed. However, this is not as worrisome as having a virus or trying to fix a corrupted program.

With a simple problem comes a simple answer. This issue can be fixed if you try the simple fixes mentioned above.

Always try out the first one before you go on to the next ones. Only go on to the next ones if the previous ones didn’t work. It’s always best not to disrupt the computer too much because there may be consequences if you do.

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