Windows 10 Update process (wuauserv) causes high CPU usage [FIX]

By: Aleksandar Ognjanovic
6 minute read
wuauserv high cpu windows 10

It’s not unusual for some third-party apps to hog on your CPU in the background. But, what happens when this unwelcome occurrence appears to be inflicted by none other than one of Windows 10 essential processes?

That’s what a lot of users reported to be the issue, with wuauserv (Windows Update service) taking up to 60% of CPU. Even in the idle mode, which is preposterous!

For that purpose, we enlisted some solutions that should come in handy and, hopefully, relieve you of this annoyance. If you can’t deal with constant overuse of your CPU on your own, make sure to check out the troubleshooting steps below.

How to address wuaserv process high CPU activity in Windows 10

  1. Wait for the update process to complete
  2. Disable the third-party antivirus
  3. Run Windows Update Troubleshooter
  4. Restart Windows Update service
  5. Disable P2P update distribution within the home network
  6. Delete recent updates
  7. Reset Windows 10 to factory settings

Solution 1 – Wait for the update process to complete

If you take a little peek at Task Manager services, you would identify ‘wuauserv’ as Windows Update service. Now, this service, as the name itself says, is there to run and maintain update processes.

Additionally, if we take into consideration that updates in Windows 10 are mandatory distributed (you’re forced to get them eventually), you’ll be seeing this service a whole lot of time.

Apparently, that’s where the issues start for some users. Namely, this service will be active through the search, download, and install procedure of Windows Updates.

And sometimes, certain updates just, so to say, refuse to cooperate. Maybe your bandwidth is slow or the update servers are busy. Either way, we advise you to wait for some time and, if your CPU activity still hits the ceiling, move to additional steps.


Solution 2 – Disable the third-party antivirus

The beef between Windows 10 and certain third-party solutions is already a known fact. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll need to ditch your antivirus when Windows 10 behavior takes the wrong turn.

Just disable it for the remainder of updating. Once the Windows Update service locates and downloads all updates, you can enable it again.

If you already tried this and the aforementioned process is still hogging on your CPU, there are still a few things you can do.


Solution 3 – Run Windows Update Troubleshooter

There’s a variety of troubleshooting steps you can use to address update issues in the Windows shell. For starters, let’s stick with the built-in troubleshooter which will, upon running, scan for possible errors and resolve them accordingly.

Consequently, even the slightest error can turn a low-consuming Windows service into a CPU-hogging mutant.

If you’re not sure how to run the dedicated Windows Update troubleshooter, follow the steps below:

  1. Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Open Update & security.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  3. Click on Troubleshoot under the left pane and expand Windows Update.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  4. Then click on ”Run this troubleshooter”.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  5. After the procedure ends, right-click on the Taskbar and open Task Manager.
  6. Look for changes in wuauserv service behavior.

Solution 4 – Restart Windows Update service

Besides the usual automatized troubleshooting with the built-in troubleshooter, sometimes you’ll need to do things by hand. As the saying goes: ”If you want a thing done well, do it yourself”. This includes some meddling with command prompt, so make sure to follow the steps below closely and we should be good to go in a blink:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type cmd.
  2. Right-click on the Command Prompt and choose to run it as an administrator.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  3. In the command-line, type the following commands and press Enter after each:wuauserv high cpu windows 10
      • net stop wuauserv
      • net stop bits
      • net stop cryptsvc
      • Ren %systemroot%SoftwareDistributionSoftwareDistribution.bak
      • Ren %systemroot%system32catroot2catroot2.bak
      • net start wuauserv
      • net start bits
      • net start cryptsvc
  4. Close Command Prompt and navigate again to Task Manager to ensure that the Windows Update service abnormal resource consumption is reduced.

Solution 5 – Disable P2P update distribution within the local network

With the introduction of the Windows 10 update feature, users are able to update multiple Windows 10-powered PCs in one local network with the P2P update distribution.

At the first glance, this sounds great as it should substantially speed up the update process. However, there are some flaws in this update approach and they can, eventually, result in constant, never-ending update cycle.

In that case, your Windows Update service will continuously run in the background and hog on your system resources.

In order to avoid possible issues with this feature, we advise you to disable it. It’s well hidden so make sure to check the instructions below on how to turn it off.

  1. Press Windows key + I to summon the Settings app.
  2. Open the Update & security section.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  3. Select Windows Update from the left pane.
  4. Open Advanced options.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  5. Scroll to the bottom and open the ”Choose how updates are delivered” section.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  6. Turn this feature off and restart your PC.wuauserv high cpu windows 10

If you’re still stuck with abnormal, nerve-wrecking CPU overuse, continue with the steps below.


Solution 6 – Delete recent updates

Furthermore, certain updates can provoke a malfunction within the updating procedure and therefore prevent the Windows Update feature from:

  • looking for new updates.
  • downloading already queued updates.

Even though this is a rare occurrence, it still just might be the case. And since we’re running out of ideas on how to address this problem, it’s a viable solution to uninstall recent updates and move from there.

In order to resolve possible halt caused by lately-installed updates, make sure to follow the steps below:

  1. Click Start and then on the cog-like icon to open Settings.
  2. Select Update & security.
  3. Highlight Windows Update in the left pane.
  4. Click on Update history.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  5. Choose Uninstall updates.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  6. Right-click on the most recent update and uninstall it.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  7. Restart your PC and look for changes.

Solution 7 – Reset Windows 10 to factory settings

The last place on the list is reserved for painful but sometimes needed recovery options. Or, more precisely, ‘Reset this PC’ feature that enables you to reset your PC to factory settings.

In a system shell as complex as Windows, there are so many things that can go south for you. Especially if you decided to upgrade to Windows 10 rather than to perform a clean reinstallation. So, maybe the best way to resolve your issues is to start from a scratch.

On previous Windows iterations, system recovery features were lackluster in certain terms. Luckily, Windows 10 has an advanced recovery option that enables you to restore default system values but keep hold of your personal files.

Follow the steps below to reset Windows 10 and resolve resource-hogging issues:

  1. Use Windows key + I to open Settings.
  2. Select the Update & security section.
  3. Click on Recovery from the left-side pane.wuauserv high cpu windows 10
  4. Below the ‘Reset this PC‘ option, click Get started.Screen flicker after updgrading to Fall Creators Update
  5. Choose Keep my files.
  6. Click Next and then Reset.
  7. The procedure is a bit long but it will eventually restore your PC to factory values.

On the other hand, if the clean reinstallation is your cup of tea, then make sure to check a detailed walkthrough article on how to perform a clean reinstallation of Windows 10.

That should do it. In case you have questions regarding the enlisted solutions or additional solutions you are aware of, feel free to tell us in the comments below.

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