Wuauserv Causing High CPU Usage

Wuauserv Service/Process Is Causing High CPU Usage. How To Easily Fix It?

Windows Services (also know as services.msc), are used to modify how Windows services run on your system. These services are responsible for running available programs and managing many system settings and resources. You can modify a service's settings for security, troubleshooting, and performance-related reasons. One of those services is Windows Update service.

Windows Update is a service that is also known as "wuauserv" service, or Windows Update Auto Update Service. Wuauserv enables the detection, download, and installation of updates for Windows system and other programs. If this service is disabled, users will not be able to use Windows Update or its automatic updating feature, and programs will not be able to use the Windows Update Agent (WUA). Basically, this service is responsible for download and installation of available updates for your Windows operating system and its programs. However, sometimes this update process can become problematic and cause high CPU usage and slow down your computer.

There could be various reasons that could possibly cause wuauserv high CPU usage, like corrupted or missing system files, conflicts with the update client, stuck update process etc. In this guide we are going to show you several ways how you can solve this problem with the high CPU usage caused by the wuauserv process. Simply read our guide below and follow our described steps one by one, and hopefully your CPU usage will get back to normal and wuauserv won't eat it up.

wuauserv is causing high cpu usage

Table of Contents:

Wait Until Windows Update Process Is Finished

Most likely the wuauserv process is causing high CPU usage (or higher than the average CPU usage) only because Windows is checking for any possible updates or downloading them. It is quite normal for wuauserv to use CPU during the Windows update process. So, our recommendation would be to simply wait a little longer. Maybe the updating process will be finished soon and the CPU usage will go back to normal. However, if the updating process is going for hours, then you start applying the following methods.

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Restart Windows Update Service

In order to restart the Windows Update process you will need to stop the wuauserv (Windows Update) service, to delete the Software Distribution folder and then to start the wuauserv (Windows Update) service again. There are two easy ways how you can stop the wuauserv service: using Windows Services and Command Prompt. We are going to show you how you can do this both ways.

To disable Windows Update (wuauserv) service using Windows Services, press Windows (Win) key + R, or simply right-click Start and select "Run" from the contextual menu. In Run dialog box type "services.msc" and press Enter or click "OK".

restart windows update service step 1

Find Windows Update service on the services lists, to do it faster press "W" on your keyboard and scroll a little until you find "Windows Update". Right-click it and select "Stop". Now the Windows Update (wuauserv) will be stopped and you can now proceed to deleting the Software Distribution folder.

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Another way to stop the wuauserv (Windows Update) service is using the elevated Command Prompt. Command Prompt is the input field in a text-based user interface screen, a command line interpreter application available in most Windows operating systems. It is used to execute entered commands. Most of those commands are used to automate tasks through scripts and batch files, perform advanced administrative functions, troubleshoot and solve certain kinds of Windows issues. To use Command Prompt, you must enter a valid command along with any optional parameters. Then it executes the command as entered and performs whatever task or function it's designed to perform in Windows. Some commands available in Windows require that you run them from an elevated Command Prompt. This means you have to be running it with administrator level privileges. To open Command Prompt as administrator , type "command prompt" in Search and right-click on the "Command Prompt" result. Choose "Run as administrator" to run it with administrative privileges.

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When you select "Run as administrator" a User Account Control prompt will appear asking if you would like to allow the Command Prompt to be able to make changes on your computer. Click "Yes".

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In open Command Prompt window type the "net stop wuauserv" command and press Enter, now the wuauserv (Windows Update) service will be stopped and you can delete the Software Distribution folder.

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Software Distribution folder is a temporary folder where Windows keeps the update files until they are completely downloaded, then Windows starts the updating process. You can find it by following this path in your Windows: "C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution". Open the SoftwareDistribution folder, select all files and folders in it, right-click the selection and choose "Delete" from the contextual menu. Now you can start the wuauserv (Windows Update) service again.

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To start the wuauserv (Windows Update) service using Windows services, open Services by following the same steps and find the Windows Update service. Right-click it and select "Start" from the contextual menu.

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To start the wuauserv (Windows Update) service using Command Prompt, run it as administrator by following the same earlier described steps, type the "net start wuauserv" command and press Enter on your keyboard. Now the Windows Update (wuauserv) service will be started. See if this solves the problem and the Windows Update (wuaserv) process is not causing high CPU usage longer than it should.

restart windows update service step 8

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Run Windows Update Troubleshooter

Windows includes a number of troubleshooters designed to quickly diagnose and automatically resolve various computer problems. Troubleshooters cannot fix all problems, but they are a good place to start if you encounter a problem with your computer, operating system or connected devices. To start troubleshooting, go to Settings and type "troubleshoot", select "Troubleshoot" from the list.

run windows update troubleshooter step 1

Find "Windows Update" under "Troubleshoot", select it and click "Run the troubleshooter". Troubleshooting process will start. Follow the instructions and see if it finds and fixes any problems. Restart your computer and see if this fixed the problem with high CPU usage caused by wuauserv.

run windows update troubleshooter step 2

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Run System Maintenance Troubleshooter

System Maintenance Troubleshooter is a Windows tool that automatically fixes any detected problems related to maintenance tasks. It fixes broken shortcuts, disk volume errors, unused desktop icons, etc. To run the System Maintenance Troubleshooter open Run dialog box again (by pressing Windows key + R) and type "msdt.exe -id MaintenanceDiagnostic", press Enter to run it.

run system maintenance troubleshooter step 1

Before you start troubleshooting maintenance problems, bear in mind that you will need to use your administrator account to run System Maintenance Troubleshooter. In System Maintenance window click "Advanced", then click "Run as administrator". Click "Next" and follow the instructions.

run system maintenance troubleshooter step 2

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Run System Performance Troubleshooter

You can also try to run the System Performance Troubleshooter. This automatically finds and fixes problems, and checks issues that might slow down your computer. Open the Run dialog box by typing "run" in Search. Type "msdt.exe -id PerformanceDiagnostic", press Enter on the keyboard to run it.

run system performance troubleshooter step 1

Find "Advanced" and click it. Ensure that the "Apply repairs automatically" checkbox is marked and click "Run as administrator". Follow the instructions. See if this solves the problem with the wuauserv process taking too much CPU power.

run system performance troubleshooter step 2

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Run System File Checker

System File Checker (SFC) is a utility in Windows that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files. If there were any driver files corrupted then this tool could possibly fix this problem. This guide describes how to run the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe) to scan your system files and to repair missing or corrupted system files. If a Windows Resource Protection (WRP) file is missing or is corrupted, Windows may not behave as expected. For example, some Windows functions may not work, or Windows may crash. The "sfc scannow" option is one of the several specific switches available in the sfc command, the Command Prompt command used to run System File Checker. To run it you need to open elevated Command Prompt again. You must run an elevated Command Prompt in order to be able to perform SFC scan. In open Command Prompt window type the "sfc /scannow" command and press Enter on your keyboard to execute this command. System File Checker will start and it should take some time to complete the scan. It should take about 15 minutes. Wait for the scanning process to complete and restart your computer.

run system file checker step 1

If the SFC scan couldn't fix the problem, or for some reason you couldn't run the SFC scan then try to run the DISM scan and then try to run the SFC scan again.

DISM stands for Deployment Image Servicing and Management and it can be used to repair and prepare Windows images, including the Windows Recovery Environment, Windows Setup, and Windows PE. To run DISM scan you need to open Command Prompt as administrator again and to type in this command: "DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth". Press Enter on your keyboard to execute it.

run system file checker step 2

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Disable Windows Update Service

If none of the described methods work, then you might want to simply disable the Windows Update (wuauserv) service. However, Windows won't be updated automatically and if you will need to update it, then you will have to enable this service back on manually. In order to disable the Windows Update service open the Services window again (by opening the Run dialog box and executing the "services.msc" command). Find Windows Update service on the services lists, to do it faster press "W" on your keyboard and scroll a little until you find "Windows Update". Right-click it and select "Properties" or simply double click it.

disable windows update service step 1

In Windows Update Properties window find the "Startup type" and set it to "Disabled". Make sure that "Service status" is set to "Stopped" as well. Click "Apply" to save the changes and exit Services. Restart your computer. Now the wuauserv service process won't bother you anymore and it won't use your CPU at all.

disable windows update service step 2

That's it, we hope this article was helpful and you were able to solve the problem with the wuauserv service causing high CPU usage. If there is another method that solved this problem for you and it is not mentioned in our guide - do not hesitate to share it with us and with the others by leaving a comment in our comment section below. 

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Video Showing How To Fix High CPU Usage Caused By Wuauserv:

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