I have been working with computers for my entire life. I am 7 courses away from completing my Bachelors in ITM to include obtaining soon to come Certifications. This problem, on one of my own Desktops, is causing me endless frustrations along with the fact that me being unable to find, and implement, a solution is helping me feel completely incompetent. Me reaching out to everyone here is a huge blow to how I feel about my own knowledge base since it seems as if the fix might be easy, and I feel as if I am missing something obvious. That being said here is the issue I am running into:
On my Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit system, which I have no intentions of upgrading for various reasons, I am noticing that my CPU usage and Physical Memory usage range from 60% to nearly 100% when I am not running any applications, which is a newer symptom and is severely hampering my system. Having narrowed the usage problem down to one of the "svchost.exe" Processes and the "wuauserv" Service within that Process labeled as Windows Update, I confirmed that it was this Service causing at least the CPU usage issue by stopping it, I went ahead and ran a manual Windows Update only to learn that it searches for new updates endlessly. The green status bar never stops moving nor does it ever get past this stage. I first went ahead and cleared the SoftwareDistribution folder, after stopping the appropriate Services, only to have the same issue. I have never received any type of error code on the Windows Update portion as it has yet to reach a point of not looking for updates. I also took the chance to try and remove some recently installed Updates in an attempt to remove any possible corrupted files so that they may be reinstalled to no effect. The same issue persists. I am confident this is a Windows Update issue and also confident it is a registry problem, yet I have trouble trusting any of the registry editing solutions I have come across in my search for answers. Also, I noticed that having messed around with the earlier stated fixes my Microsoft Word Documents do not open when I double-click on them, however, I am still able to open Word and open any existing document from within the program itself. This is a very new symptom, and I am unsure if it is related. It is my hope that a clean Windows install will not be necessary.
Please let me know any diagnostic programs I may need to run to help narrow down the issue. Thank you ahead of time for any of the help I may receive on this.