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Exponential algorithm making Windows XP miserable could be fixed

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#1
Windows XP is really old, and we would suggest that you don't use it unless you really have no option. For the most part, however, that age doesn't really manifest itself. Sure, the operating system is missing the security features, hardware acceleration, and built-in support for things like USB 3 that newer versions of Windows have, but old software doesn't have the same issues as, say, old cars. Old software generally runs as well today as it did when it was brand new.

But Windows XP users have noticed that this isn't entirely true. A bunch of them have found that the old operating system is working considerably worse than when it was released in 2001. The problem is that—especially among those who are still using Internet Explorer 6 or 7—each time you boot your Windows XP machine, it slows to a crawl. There's a built-in process, svchost.exe, chewing up the entire processor, sometimes for an hour or more at a time. Wait long enough after booting and the machine will eventually return to normalcy. But an hour can be a long time to wait.

Loss of horsepower and trouble starting up are common enough problems in old cars, but we don't really expect the same things to happen on old PCs.

It looks as if Microsoft has figured out what the problem is—though not at the first time of asking. It's all down to Windows Update. Machines using Windows Update retrieve patch information from Microsoft's servers. That patch information contains information about each patch: what software it applies to (for example, systems that have been upgraded to Internet Explorer 7 or 8 don't need Internet Explorer 6 patches), what knowledge base article it relates to, and, critically, what historic patch or patches the current patch supersedes.
Rest of Article/Source: http://arstechnica.com/information-...m-making-windows-xp-miserable-could-be-fixed/

Kinda surprising given Microsoft's desire to get people off XP and buy their later OS'es, not to mention XP's upcoming final end of support in four months. The Windows Update problem may also exist in Vista and beyond, but it seems moot if Microsoft's plan to push out a new OS in a shorter period of time is true. Of course, whether Microsoft will actually be able to fix it by April 2014 is another thing.
 

newtekie1

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#2
To me, it seems like this problem is directly related to the speed of the internet connection. Like maybe it is referencing the patch list constantly over the internet or something. Because on machines I have in the shop on my 30Mbps connection this problem almost never exists, but out at clients offices with slow ass AT&T DSL the problem is very noticeable.

That being said, with an OS this old with so many patches, I can see why this would become an issue. It is time for people to drop XP. There really is no legit reason to still be using it.
 
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#3
...It is time for people to drop XP. There really is no legit reason to still be using it.

+1

There used to be a reason to have XP. Vista was an absolute system pig, and 7 was showing compatibility issues with some hardware. That being said, 7 has proven itself a worthy successor. 8 isn't always a winning proposition, but there's definitely no reason to remain on XP. If your legacy equipment is not going to work it's time to put it to bed. It's not suddenly going to be supported going into the future, and there have been years of opportunity to upgrade.

XP is dying (if not dead), and it doesn't need a whole lot of people trying to resurrect it.
 

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#4
There used to be a reason to have XP. Vista was an absolute system pig, and 7 was showing compatibility issues with some hardware. That being said, 7 has proven itself a worthy successor.
Even Vista at this point is better than XP. Most of the problems with Vista have been worked out with patches, it really isn't bad anymore. Not that I'm saying people should be buying PCs with Vista or anything, but a lot of XP machines that were sold in the days of Vista had Vista Business licences. So there is basically no cost to upgrade from XP for a lot of people, and they still refuse to do it. Just use the Vista licence and get away from XP already!

And really Vista got its bad name as a system hog because of the Pre-Built companies trying to be cheap and take machines designed for XP with 1GB or even 512MB of RAM, and just throwing Vista on them and selling them. Of course Vista was going to run slow on those PCs. But give Vista 2GB or more of RAM and it runs just fine, even back when it was still new. Where Microsoft went wrong was making the minimum requirement for Vista 512MB or 1GB depending on the version. They should have just done it right and made the minimum 2GB. There would have been a lot less people complaining about Vista running so slowly then.
 
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#5
There's a built-in process, svchost.exe, chewing up the entire processor, sometimes for an hour or more at a time.
It's all down to Windows Update. Machines using Windows Update retrieve patch information from Microsoft's servers.
This has been a problem off and on with XP since 2001 or so.
 
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#6
Even Vista at this point is better than XP. Most of the problems with Vista have been worked out with patches, it really isn't bad anymore. Not that I'm saying people should be buying PCs with Vista or anything, but a lot of XP machines that were sold in the days of Vista had Vista Business licences. So there is basically no cost to upgrade from XP for a lot of people, and they still refuse to do it. Just use the Vista licence and get away from XP already!

And really Vista got its bad name as a system hog because of the Pre-Built companies trying to be cheap and take machines designed for XP with 1GB or even 512MB of RAM, and just throwing Vista on them and selling them. Of course Vista was going to run slow on those PCs. But give Vista 2GB or more of RAM and it runs just fine, even back when it was still new. Where Microsoft went wrong was making the minimum requirement for Vista 512MB or 1GB depending on the version. They should have just done it right and made the minimum 2GB. There would have been a lot less people complaining about Vista running so slowly then.

The issue was only for people who had old PC's and then the new features didn't work they way they thought they should with 1GB of RAM and a 1Ghz processor and integrated video.

Vista itself was a hurried project where many features that made it better and worthwhile were thrown out to get it into a release product, even Bill gates admits it was poorly implemented from what the original ideas were. No new file system WinFS was dumped, inter-relational libraries built to create a network group were dumped, single point network health/maintenance management was ripped out and now is a "cloud' product and a paid add in, many more features were not implemented in the RTM product and dumped from early builds both internal and Beta.


People didn't understand the cache concept of "Total" "In Use" "Cached" and "Available" and they would throw a fit when 2GB was in use when just the desktop loaded, despite the OS loading frequently used programs.
 
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#7
late reply but all this information in the thread isnt exactly quite right...

this is specifically an issue of windows update checking for updates when the current OS has many installed, but if you're like me, you disable auto updates & manually check for them every month (with IE or WU), so the only time you even see the slowdown is exactly at that moment (i can confirm the search for updates time takes longer & longer every month)

svchost.exe is merely a process that handles a lot of windows services (as in, 1 service could launch 1 process, or if you look at your own, you have multiple services under a single process), i hate it when articles throw the filename around as if it means something specific, that just confuses unfamiliar users with unrelated issues that happen to be the same filename

vista... is quite nice, i first got on it in 2008 & quickly noticed how much i cant stand XP with its lack of 60fps vsync aero & disorganized settings locations

speaking of which, my vista is also slow when checking for updates, it's not about network speed, it seems to mostly be cpu & snails pace disk activity when going through previously installed updates

anyway, not a big deal either way to me, but i can imagine the annoyance for everyone that has auto enabled WU on startup
 

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#8
Having installed XP on no less than 7 computers recently, the IE6/7 issues the OP discusses are irreverent because they're easily rectified by installing IE8 by way of redistributable. The problem with XP is that, if you install directly from SP3, Windows Update consumes the equivalent of 1 core at 100% usage for what could be hours while "searching for updates." This is mostly just an exercise in patience because as the number of updates reduces, so does the wait. Still, it seems to be a universal nuisance.

These are the steps I follow:
1. When installing Windows, turn Windows Update on.
2. Install drivers.
3. Install .NET Framework 2.0 (can skip)
4. Install .NET Framework 4.0 (can skip but if Windows Update installs this one, it takes forever)
5. Install Internet Explorer 8 without internet. It will try to install updates but fail.
6. Enable internet.
7. Run Windows Update Agent 7.6.7600 using batch (attached).
8. Restart computer.
9. Go to Windows Update.
10. Do Custom and let it search for updates. This will likely take hours.
11. Install both updates it finds (package installer and Windows Genuine Advantage Tool).
12. Search for custom updates again. This will likely take hours.
13. It will find about 130 security updates, download and install them.
14. Restart computer.
15. Windows Update should now run the way it used to. Get further security, software, and hardware updates and/or expand the search to Microsoft Updates

The above steps should take care of the Windows Update problems including avoiding issues with Windows Update services failing to start.
 

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#9

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#10
That's for Server 2003 and only Server 2003. I doubt Server 2003 has the XP update bug because Server 2003 will be getting updates for another year.
 
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#11
You can install/mod the registry/shell on XP too.
 
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#12
Windows Update consumes the equivalent of 1 core at 100% usage for what could be hours while "searching for updates." This is mostly just an exercise in patience
That ain't so easy for an Athlon XP with the fan blasting at ~4000rpm so the poor thing doesn't melt.
 
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#13

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#14
That ain't so easy for an Athlon XP with the fan blasting at ~4000rpm so poor thing doesn't melt.
Did you blow it out? I had to put some laptops on a cooling rake so the CPU fan didn't go loco.
 

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#15
instead of messing with an Operating system over 12 years old now, why not focus on Windows 7 code and fix that- oh wait that will greatly cripple sales of the abysmal OS we call Windows 8
 
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#16
Did you blow it out? I had to put some laptops on a cooling rake so the CPU fan didn't go loco.
It has a clean Tt vulcano on top of it. I have the fan at that speed to keep the chip below 50ºC, that being a socket temp.