FIX: Windows Update process (wuauserv) high CPU usage

by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Editor-in-Chief
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • When the wuauserv process reaches high CPU levels, that signals a problem with the Windows Update service.
  • This can be triggered by an incomplete or stuck update, so you should address that issue.
  • We have a lot of solutions for Windows 10 but luckily they also apply for Windows 11.

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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 essential processes?

That’s what a lot of users reported to be the issue, with wuauserv 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 the service host Windows Update high CPU usage on your own, make sure to check out the troubleshooting steps below.

Why is wuauserv consuming so much CPU power?

If you take a peek at the running tasks, you would identify wuauserv as the Windows Update process name in Task Manager.

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

Apparently, Windows Update is using 100% CPU and 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 the actual solutions from this guide.

Our solutions will also cover the datastorecachedumptool high CPU problem so read on to fix it.

How can I fix the wuaserv high CPU usage in Windows 10 & 11?

1. Restart the Windows Update service

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type cmd, and select Run as administrator from the results.
  2. In the command-line, type the following commands and press Enter after each: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
  3. Close Command Prompt and navigate again to Task Manager to ensure that the Windows Update service abnormal resource consumption is reduced.

This should address the Windows Update process high CPU issue because the commands listed above reset the corresponding services.

2. Run the Windows Update troubleshooter

  1. Press the Start button and open the Settings app.
  2. Open Update & Security.
  3. Click on Troubleshoot under the left pane and select Additional troubleshooters from the right.
  4. Click on Windows Update to expand it, then hit the Run the troubleshooter button.
  5. After the procedure ends, right-click on the Taskbar and open Task Manager.
  6. Look for changes in wuauserv service behavior.

The dedicated troubleshooter will solve the Windows Update service high CPU issue and if you look into Task Manager, all should be normal again.

3. Disable the third-party antivirus

  1. Open the third-party antivirus and access the Protection or Security menu. We offer Bitdefender as example but all antiviruses can be disabled from their menus.
  2. Click the Open button under Antivirus.
  3. Lastly, select the Advanced tab and click the switch to turn off Bitdefender Shield.

The beef between Windows and certain third-party solutions is already a known fact. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll need to ditch your antivirus when the system 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 discover that the antivirus is the one causing this problem, maybe you should consult our list with the best antiviruses and get a better one.

4. Disable P2P update distribution within the local network

  1. Click the Start button to access the Settings app.
  2. Open the Update & Security section.
  3. Select Windows Update from the left pane and click on Advanced options.
  4. Scroll down and click on Delivery Optimization.
  5. Turn this feature off and restart your PC.

With the introduction of the Windows update feature, users are able to update multiple 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.

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However, there are some flaws in this update approach and they can, eventually, result in a constant, never-ending update cycle.

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

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.

5. Pause Windows updates

  1. Select the Start button, then click on Settings.
  2. Choose Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update from the left pane, then scroll down on the right and select Pause updates for 7 days.
  4. Restart your PC.

Pausing the updates for a while can fix the problem, but only temporarily. It’s imperative to install your updates to keep your system safe so don’t abuse this feature.

6. Uninstall recent updates

  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 and click on View update history.
  4. Choose Uninstall updates.
  5. Right-click on the most recent update and uninstall it.
  6. Restart your PC and look for changes.

Furthermore, certain updates can provoke a malfunction within the updating procedure and therefore prevent the Windows Update feature from looking for new updates, or downloading already queued updates.

Even though this is a rare occurrence, it still just might be the case. Therefore, it’s a viable solution to uninstall recent updates and move from there.

6. Reset Windows 10 to factory settings

  1. Use the Start button and click on Settings.
  2. Select the Update & Security section.
  3. Click on Recovery from the left-side pane, then, under the Reset this PC option, click on Get started.
  4. Choose Keep my files.
  5. Click Cloud download and then Reset.
  6. This procedure will eventually restore your PC to factory values.

The last place on the list is reserved for painful but sometimes needed recovery options. More precisely, the 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 your system rather than performing a clean reinstallation.

Luckily, Windows has an advanced recovery option that enables you to restore default system values but keep hold of your personal files.

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.

How can I fix the wuauserv high CPU usage in Windows 11?

Microsoft’s new OS is clearly more advanced than Windows 10 but unfortunately, it inherited a lot of the bugs and errors from the old one.

That includes Windows Update problems like the wuauserv consuming an unusual amount of resources but it’s not such a big issue.

Luckily, Windows 11 is not so different and all the solutions we provided above for Windows 10 also apply to the new OS.

There are a few differences, especially in the design of the windows but the menus and commands are all there.

A slight distinction is that for solution 6, you will find the Uninstall updates option at the bottom of the Update History menu from the Windows Update section.

If you didn’t switch to the new OS yet, we have a comprehensive guide on how to download Windows 11 ISO or update from 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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