When SVCHOST does you wrong...

Over the weekend, maybe late last week sometime, my old(er) HP laptop started giving me a:

svchost.exe - Application Error

Instruction at "blah blah blah" could not read[write] memory at 0x00000000.

With an OK/Cancel button as the only option...and OK sends the PC into the big lock-up. Well, it seems that Windows Update has come around to bite us a little (admittedly, a little embarassing). As this is now my wife's primary computer, and much to her chagrin, her life outside of work revolves around e-mail communications more and more...the household IT staff (yours truly) was beginning to get the cold shoulder for the dropping system availability metric.

Anyway, when/if you find yourself in this situation do the following:

  1. Get a beer (or your beverage of choice)
  2. Turn off Automatic Updates (I had to boot into Safe Mode to do this).
  3. Initiate a manual update (Start Internet Explorer. Choose Tools -> Windows Update).
  4. Let Windows Update do an Express update.
  5. Drink beer (or beverage of choice), write a blog post, do some early Christmas shopping, watch something mindless on television, play something mindless on the XBox....or generally otherwise occupy yourself for an appreciable amount of time.
  6. When the update finally completes (I had 10 recommended updates...ranging from SQL Server 2005 SP1 to IE7 RTM - oops, I was still running a pre-release version), a reboot will probably be necessary. If not, it is advisable.
  7. Drink some more.
  8. Turn Automatic Updates back on.
  9. Take your users out for dinner....beleive me this goes along way ;)

I know what you're thinking....Automatic Updates got me into this mess, why would I turn it back on?! Well, consider the batting average, several hundred (I'm guessing...I actually don't know the number) updates have passed without incident. The odds are in your favor to keep Automatic Updates back on.

Gotta go....time to use the men's room after all that beer (or beverage of choice).