While preparing to upgrade my older computer's RAM, I recalled the many times I'd dreamed of maxing it out, getting a high-speed connection, and hitting the web in style. After popping the RAM modules in place and reconnecting the cables, I loaded a Memtest floppy, hit the 'on' button and... nothing
. It wouldn't pass even a single test. I tried re-seating the RAM, and then everything that I could think of, including cleaning the connectors, to no avail. It appeared as though my motherboard had failed after all. With a heavy heart, I powered down the rig for the last time. It had served me well for over six years, my loyal companion and willing accomplice on literally thousands of internet adventures.
Things went better with my newer computer. After outfitting it with 2 GB of RAM the machine took right off and had a snappy response the likes of which I'd never experienced before. And at some point, logic once again asserted itself.
It occurred to me that if my older PC's motherboard had been the cause of all the problems, then the 320 GB hard drive might still be alright. Hooking the drive up to my newer PC, it turned out that three of its partitions, including the 'sluggish' partition, were now accessible. The former C: partition was detected as RAW. Using a shareware recovery application I was able to get in to the former C: boot drive and recover the most important of my files, including my extensive list of games that I've beaten. I planned to try restoring function to the entire drive at some future date, but for the moment this was good enough.
Arriving at Microsoft Update in the Cruising Vessel that is Internet Explorer 6, the scan took such an inordinately long time that I finally canceled it. Thinking that the PC's 256 MB RAM might be causing IE6 to act even more sluggish than usual, I closed that and turned on Automatic Updates, rebooted, dialed-up and waited for The Mothership to make contact. When it finally did, I deselected "Malicious Software Removal Tool" same as always and commenced with the update.
In time I noticed that the computer was throwing off a lot of heat, and Task Manager confirmed that the CPU was running continuously at 100%. The update seemed to be taking much longer than expected; hour after hour crept by as Automatic Updates crawled around inside my computer's guts, pushing the hardware to its limit.
The next day the CPU was still running at 100% and the update appeared to have barely progressed. Finally calling bullshit, I turned Automatic Updates off, rebooted my PC and launched der
Firefox, taking to the web in search of answers. It turned out that the Windows update client (wuauclt.exe) had a bug that made it necessary to download the latest Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer separately and install it before using MS Update. With the patch now in place, my CPU subsided and normal operation resumed.
In spite of all the frustration and unwelcome downtime, at least one good thing came of all this. The Microsoft Update CPU Stress Test inadvertently proved my newer computer capable of handling the heavy demands that would soon be placed upon it when I put it to work re-encoding 1080p video content to DVD format for viewing on my beloved old-style CRT television. To that end, and to better utilize my resources while the update was in progress, I proceeded to download some high-definition adult entertainment videos, gratis.