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  • Best approach to speeding up Win7 check for updates

    Posted on July 15th, 2016 at 09:25 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A question from Q:

    I’ve reached the point where I don’t know what to do. I would like to get the KB3161608 DL & installed, however it does not have the check mark in front of it. The other references to different updates is making this more  confusing than ever, and reading about ppl who are running their computers for hours to ‘check updates” is something that I want to avoid at all costs.

    At this point, you have two choices.

    • You can follow my advice and install six unrelated patches in order to get the speed-up patch that Microsoft should be distributing without encumbrances. In order to install the speed-up patch, you have to check the box next to the Optional update KB 3161647, or download it and run it manually. See the InfoWorld article for details.
    • There’s a new trick on the site that involves installing KB3168965 and KB3164033. In this case, you can also install the patches through Windows Update (check the boxes next to both), or you can install them manually. Details are on the site.

    The first approach, supposedly, will speed up Win7 updates permanently. The second approach, presumably, will only work for this month. The first approach gives you six patches you probably don’t want.

    Personally, I’ve taken the first option on most of my Win7 test machines. On the others, I haven’t done anything.

    Why? BECAUSE IT’S TOO EARLY TO INSTALL THE JULY PATCHES. We need to give them at least another week or two, to see what problems crop up. There is nothing in the July patches that needs to be installed right away.

    Just watch the MS-DEFCON rating, OK?

    If that helped, take a second to support AskWoody on Patreon

    Home Forums Best approach to speeding up Win7 check for updates

    This topic contains 47 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  louis 2 years, 1 month ago.

    • Author
    • #39247 Reply

      Da Boss

      A question from Q: I’ve reached the point where I don’t know what to do. I would like to get the KB3161608 DL & installed, however it does not hav
      [See the full post at: Best approach to speeding up Win7 check for updates]

    • #39248 Reply



      ” In order to install the speed-up patch, you have to check the box next to the Optional update KB 3161647, or download it and run it manually.”

      Didn’t you intend to say “Optional update KB 3161608”?

    • #39249 Reply


      When was the last time we were at MS-DEFCON 4 or 5?

    • #39250 Reply


      The 1st approach has been working fine for me. Worked well last month and this month so far. I’m hoping this is a long term fix.

    • #39251 Reply


      Woody, don’t you mean, put a check mark next to KB 3161608 rather than KB 3161647?

    • #39252 Reply

      Da Boss

      Yes. Can you tell I’m getting ready for some time off this weekend?

    • #39253 Reply

      Da Boss

      Many moons ago

    • #39254 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      You deserve some time off. Enjoy the weekend.
      PS Take an extra day and make it a three day weekend. Like I said you deserve it.

    • #39255 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      My Win 7 machine is set to “check for updates but let me choose..” New updates whether they be the 2nd Tues updates or other updates during the month, eg, Windows Defender updates, are always there at 6AM or so. Windows does this at night, I guess, and I’m not there waiting 2 hours or so for a manual update scan. Why are so many people trying to speed up the process? Do they really do manual update scans instead of waiting for them to appear as in my case? What’s the rush? I am reluctant to install the patches you mentions in your fix because I can’t think of a reason I need to. Is there a reason I’m missing?
      Thank you.

    • #39256 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Anyone else notice that MSSE stopped updating? Depending on the machine, the last auto install was 7/11 or 7/12. I had a SE optional update on several machines which I applied as an optional update with WU. Those machines took between 30 seconds to 2 hours to install the update. On other machines I tried without success to do an update with the MSSE program which just said downloading for a coupe of hours. Then I checked for updates to add the SE update. Those took up to 3 hours to return the new WU update list. Luckly those installed almost immediately although all the files were different sizes from 2.1m to 7.0m.

      Something different going on with Win7 and SE now as well?

    • #39257 Reply


      I didn’t want to manually download anything or check to see what I had already downloaded or not, and when my svchost started acting up the day after patch Tuesday, I took WU up on its offer of the 1608 patch, which has solved the problem…for now. Getting patches manually and potentially in the wrong order scares me and many others, I bet.

    • #39258 Reply

      Megan Ryan

      Soooo before you take time off this weekend:

      Would it be best to do Option #1 and get un-needed 6 patches within the permanent fix

      Or Option #2 and follow up-Will there be new monthly fixes like we’ve been getting because I really love that approach and better.

    • #39259 Reply



      …I couldn’t quite hear you there, could you speak up? 😉

    • #39260 Reply


      Hope you have some fun and relaxation!

    • #39261 Reply

      Megan Ryan

      Anyway I’m gonna Option #2-SCREW OPTION #1. I am gonna download both KBS, I’m gonna scan my computer, get my updates and download/install em!

      THIS confusion has really frustrated me! I am going with option #2!

    • #39262 Reply

      Da Boss

      Good. Either will work.

    • #39263 Reply

      Da Boss

      I’m at my brother’s house right now. Pretty nice. Kids out swimming…. and Dad’s working, as usual….

    • #39264 Reply

      Da Boss

      🙂 🙂 🙂

      People get caught up in “how” to do something without thinking about whether they “should” do it.

    • #39265 Reply

      Da Boss

      I chose Option 1, as explained.

      There will likely be monthly oddball patches that have the side-effect of speeding up Win7 search for updates.

      Whether MS will ever release a “clean” speedup patch is anybody’s guess, but I’d be willing to bet we see more of these bundled patches in the future. People call it the “Windows 10 approach” but it isn’t. It’s just bundling unrelated patches in an attempt to get people to install all of the patches in the bundle.

    • #39266 Reply

      Da Boss

      No reason at all. If you’re willing to wait while Windows Update lists available patches, go right ahead!

    • #39267 Reply

      Da Boss

      Ah, would that I could. I have a big review coming up – two of them, actually – and now that edits on the book are done (capping my big, big project for the summer), I need to stay connected to run through edits on both.

    • #39268 Reply


      Have a fabulous time this weekend Woody, have a beer and chillax! LOL!!

      I thought we only needed KB3168965 to speed things up this month, that is what I installed on my laptop. Do I need KB3164033 as well? This is the first I heard/read about this one.

    • #39269 Reply

      Da Boss

      You’re fine.

    • #39270 Reply


      I have been waiting to be offered kb3161608, to no avail. Woody, you mentioned a “gotcha” related to last year’s kb3020369. I hid that update at the time (I can’t remember why) and am wondering if the fact that it’s not installed may be the reason kb316108 doesn’t show up on my list of optional updates. Someone provided me the link so I can go the Microsoft website and download it from there, but I am concerned that downloading it without kb3020369 installed will trigger headaches. What’s your advice?

    • #39271 Reply

      Megan Ryan

      Well I’m gonna go with Option #2. I’ve always used the KB that the german site provides to help speed up Windows Update.


    • #39272 Reply

      Megan Ryan

      Karen when you installed KB3168965 on your laptop, did you install KB3164033 too or not? Did the windows update go faster with just KB3168965 alone?

    • #39273 Reply

      Da Boss

      See the details in the InfoWorld article

      As I understand it, you won’t even see 3161608 until you have 3020369 installed.

    • #39274 Reply


      Megan Ryan,
      I did not install KB3164033 when I installed KB3168965, I only installed the latter. I didn’t know about KB3164033 until I read this article but Woody said I am fine without it and I respect his expertise.

      YES, the check for Windows Updates did in fact go faster not only on my pc but my husbands as well. I spent about 9hrs the day after “Patch Tuesday” this month trying to get Windows to stop searching for updates for hours and install the speedup patch through the Windows Updater only to have it fail. Thanks to Woody and another poster, Louis, they talked me through the procedure and I was able to get the task done and I was ever so grateful.

    • #39275 Reply


      You just can’t install KB3161608 without KB3020369, and there are many more updates which require KB3020369.
      Either install KB3020369, it has been long due or stop installing updates entirely.

    • #39276 Reply

      Joe Friday

      @Megan, @Karen;

      Read all carefully several times.

      Check ur installed updates for KBs listed.

      All the necessary magic is on that one page.

      Works for me…null problemo

    • #39277 Reply

      Joe Friday

      Next month? Who knows. One day at a time.

    • #39278 Reply

      Megan Ryan

      Thank you :3 I just needed to clarify that. I just wanted to know so I know I just need to install 1 KB. Its just been confusing during the week when people were saying different things.

      I’ll be sure to install KB3168965 tonight or tomorrow and do a scan tuesday at midnight. I appreciate the help.

    • #39279 Reply


      So I have a bit of an issue today relating to Windows update. I have Windows 7 64-bit home premium on my pc and have the Windows Updater to “Check but let me decide”. My pc was set up for Windows to check for updates when it is turned on for updates and it has done that every day since I have had it…well this morning (and so far today) it has not done a scan for updates. Should I be concerned?

    • #39280 Reply



      KB3164033 was released on June 14, 2016, so you may have already installed it.

    • #39281 Reply

      Da Boss

      Not until there are some worthwhile updates to install….

    • #39282 Reply



      Is it possible for you to list the 6 six updates that provide the supposed permanent speed up? Your article on InfoWorld isn’t very clear on what they are.

    • #39283 Reply

      Da Boss

      You only install two – one is a precursor, the other is the bundle of five patches. Sorry I’m doing this on the road, so don’t have easy access to the KB numbers. See the article.

    • #39284 Reply


      Not about the nail?

    • #39285 Reply


      A main reason would be they don’t like 100% CPU usage on one core for many hours once a day.

    • #39286 Reply

      Megan Ryan

      You were right-it worked with the one you installed to speed it up. 🙂 THanks

    • #39287 Reply


      I installed 3020369 which triggered only one other old update (3042058) which I also installed. And, as expected, 3161608 was then listed in Optional updates. TY Woody and ch100!

    • #39288 Reply


      Problem is, Woody, I can’t follow your advice about installing 3161608 because the link in your article last month leads to a ms page where links to download the patch are broken. So can’t get it manually, and WU on win7 laptop is just not functioning this month. First says 6 updates available, then when I have to cancel after 6 hours of nothing happening and reboot the next day, WU says machine is up-to-date and no patches are listed. I’m afraid to click “Check for Updates” because I’m sure that’ll lead to hours of fruitless searching. Microsoft, this is nuts.

    • #39289 Reply


      Honestly, all these machinations to obtain faster Win 7 update scans seem to me to be a waste of time. I simply stop the Win Update Process until I need it once a month. Works for me!

    • #39290 Reply


      It is OK if you are patched up to the previous month. A lot of the readers of the posts here are not patched up to date or patch selectively and this is why they encounter problems.
      There is also the situation when someone rebuilds a Windows 7 computer and this is the most legitimate situation when those “machinations” are useful.

    • #39291 Reply


      I have to rebuild lots of Windows 7 machines for customers due to virus infection or SSD upgrades mostly. Installing from factory Windows 7 media, which is really behind in patches takes 6-8 hours to get the first big batch of 150-200 updates. My question is for a new build from factory Windows 7 media, you think the KB3168965 and KB3164033 method from the site is still a good method? I was wondering if there are any prerequisites (Win7 SP1, SP2..) for a new factory fresh build, before installing those KB’s. Even if it’s a one time fix this would be really useful to me. I used to be able to turn around Windows 7 rebuilds overnight and can’t do that anymore. It’s really hurting my business process with customers.

    • #39292 Reply

      Da Boss

      Now I would start with SP1, follow the instructions at, then manually run updates. Some people choose to install all the available updates; others just pick the security updates; still others have blocklists. In any case, getting fully up to speed shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours, with a fast internet connection.

    • #39293 Reply



      Would the method be faster and/or easier since Pete has “…to rebuild lots of Windows 7 machines for customers due to virus infection or SSD upgrades mostly.”

    • #39294 Reply

      Da Boss

      Certainly worth looking at.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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