A few days ago, I hit a problem with my laptop following an issue with a Windows update. Windows was set to alert me to new updates, but not download until I said so. It alerted me to the presence of several updates, including the usual monthly anti-malware one, and I started the download as usual. Once the download had completed, I checked to see what updates they were before starting the install process. All of this up to now is what I've been doing regularly for the past few years without a problem.
However, something then went wrong with the process and the installation seemed to fail (the progress window just vanished). The computer slowed down to a crawl, and when I checked Task Manager, it showed it was locked at 100% CPU usage. Checking the processes list, it showed that one iteration of svchost.exe was the culprit.
A quick bit of online research told me that there is a known issue with svchost.exe linked to Windows Update that can cause this problem, and that the solution was to turn off automatic updates and install a couple of updates manually. Turning off automatic updates did solve the problem with CPU usage, but now I can't install any updates manually as going to the Windows update website causes svchost.exe to kick in again and start hogging 100% CPU usage once more.
So I'm currently in the situation where I can't use automatic updates because having them turned on leads to svchost.exe hogging all of the CPU time and stopping anything else from happening, and can't install updates manually because that leads to the same issue as soon as I go to the Windows update website.
I'm currently completely stumped by this issue, and was hoping that someone could suggest a fix that would enable me to keep Windows patched and up to date. Any ideas?
System info: Thinkpad R32, 1.6GHz/1GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP3.