Alright so this is the third time that I have faced this problem; it seems it's not being caused by what I originally thought. Anyways, I had to update my chipset drivers recently and the same thing happened when the nvidia Ethernet drivers were installed. Once the system was rebooted, that pesky svchost.exe started hogging CPU res again! I tried uninstalling and reinstalling different versions of the driver but the same thing happened for each. I originally thought that the problem was just with the nvidia driver for the onboard LAN but I also tried installing a driver for my Linksys wireless adapter too. The same thing happened after that device was installed. So, I wanted to know if anyone knew why only network device drivers are causing this to happen. No CPU is hogged in safe mode w/o networking so the problem is confirmed to be network related. I believe the wuauclt.exe service in the offending svchost.exe process is to blame for the resource hogging but I was not able to fix it last time. Turning off Auto Updates did nothing. The problem just stopped one day after installing the proper chipset driver. I installed the same driver this time but it didn't help. Now, I am planning to reformat the hard drive that XP is on anyways because my computer has been running quite lousy lately. XP has been installed for over a year and I've changed the hardware many times during this period. I'm thinking now that my reoccurring issue must be with XP itself and not the drivers. I just hope that I don't see this happen again after the reformat because it's a real pain to fix; I'm not even sure how I did it last time. Thanks in advance for any input.