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  • The last word on the Win7 Update scan speedup problem

    Posted on January 8th, 2017 at 07:58 woody 180 comments

    I just got a scathing email from SC:

    I just had a fresh installation of a Win7 w SP1 directly downloaded from MSDN. As many people have been complaining, Windows Update did not work – stuck forever. So I googled around, and read a lot of junk articles, speculating this, speculating that, and of course, yours were among those.

    Then I hit this Dell’s official article:


    In a few minutes, problem became perfectly solved. The root cause was simple, for some stupid reason Microsoft put an old version of Windows Updates Agent into SP1, and it does not work with the current Windows Updates Server. If you get a newer (not sure if it is the latest) WUA, which has been available since at least 3/2016 (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3138612), then the problem will be perfectly solved.

    What a joke. Don’t waste people’s life by taking about things that you don’t really know. It is a crime

    With that, uh, prodding, I decided to bring together everything I know about speeding up Win7 update scans, and post them here in one place. When the Lounge starts (hopefully very soon) I’ll turn this into an AKB article.

    Dell recommends installing KB 3138612 (March 2016) to bring wuaueng.dll up to 7.6.7601.19161. That’s the patch that worked for SC.

    I recommend installing KB 3172605 (July 2016) to bring wuaueng.dll up to 7.6.7601.23453. That seems to work for almost everybody. (It’s also Microsoft’s recommended approach.)

    For those who don’t see their scans speed up, there’s an additional procedure from Canadian Tech that manually resets Windows Update.

    Has anybody ever figured out, for sure, in what circumstances one of those approaches works, while the others do not?

    NOTE: I haven’t heard of any driver conflicts with 3172605 lately. Wonder if those finally got fixed…

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

    180 Responses to “The last word on the Win7 Update scan speedup problem”

    1. d3x says:

      Does someone know why Microsoft won’t use Windows Update autoupdate mechanizm. It’s already there, it would fix problems for many people without manually doing things. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BwDdgo1CcAAWE6j.png

      • abbodi86 says:

        1- Because that will require them to update all WSUS products
        2- They do not want to make it easy for pre Windows 10 users


      • messager7777777 says:

        @ d3x ……. Maybe bc it was M$ themselves who had intentionally broken Windows Update for Win 7 in March 2016, in order to force the Win 7 users to upgrade to Win 10 or install their hidden Telemetry updates(= NSA spyware.?).
        ……. Maybe similar reasons for why M$ imposed monthly cumulative Patch Rollups for Win 7/8.1 in Oct 2016.?
        Of course M$ n their supporters/shills will say otherwise, ie these changes r for yr own good.

    2. Lizzytish says:

      Well touch wood I have been fortunate enough on my Win7 Pro SP1 machine to have had no problems with long delays in scanning for windows update or installing. So where does that leave Dells’ reason for this problem. I would hazard a guess that SC has been lucky enough to find a fix that worked for him, and has also been (like most of us when searching for answers) frustrated and irritated by it all.
      Patience is a virtue………. and all that…. something we need all to remember! LT

      • messager7777777 says:

        @ Lizzytish ……. AFAIK, from March 2016 onward, those cptr users with running Win 7/8.1 who hv the default automatic setting for Windows Update n are in Group A should hv no problems with updating, ie they already hv M$’s hidden/displayed Telemetry updates installed since around Sep 2015.
        ……. ‘Big Brother’ M$ would likely only go after the others by breaking their Windows Update, esp those who hv refused to install their hidden Telemetry updates – similar to how M$ hv been going after Windows pirates(eg the WGA/Windows Genuine Advantage update).

        • Lizzytish says:

          Well thanks for the tip @messager7777777 and yes I do understand your reasoning…… but I am in Group B and have been avoiding all things telemetry in WU since the in inception of GWX and also have SpyBot Anti Beacon watching my back. I also have CEIP turned off. (my apologies for not mentioning this earlier – forgot!)

          And yet with all this and only updating the Security Patches per Woody, my computer has not shown any sluggishness when searching for and updating.

          I must admit I’m touching wood….. as none of us know what’s around the corner………. but up until now my Win7 SP1 Pro 64bit machine has not experienced any slow updating! And for that matter neither has my husbands Win8.1, which also is in Group B. LT

          Nothing remains constant except change itself. — unknown

    3. BB1 says:

      Woody, Myself I have installed: (Source from this site & http://wu.krelay.de/en/)
      – KB3020369 April servicing stack
      (I might have installed KB3177467 Servicing Stack Update September, in Sept)
      – KB3172605 July rollup
      – KB3138612 (my notes indicated “reduce CPU & memory usage” from
      – KB3078667 something about memory leak. I don’t think has anything to do with scan speed-up

      I have it installed and working on Win7 pro, home, and starter.

      Again, thanks to everyone

    4. messager7777777 says:

      So happen, March 2016 was also when M$ sneaked GWX KB3035583 inside the security update for IE11, ie KB3139929, n changed the UI for the red “X” in the GWX scheduled upgrade window.

      Likely, M$ had also sneaked Telemetry updates inside the March 2016 Windows Update Agent/Client(n inside the following updated WUA), which disabled the WUA of freshly installed Win 7 SP1 cptrs = could not update via Windows Update.
      ……. Bear in mind that from 2011(= release of Win 7 SP1) until March 2016 Patch Tuesday, those who did a fresh install of Win 7 SP1 could update their cptrs via Windows Update, even though the Windows Update Agent had undergone multiple updates(= new versions) during those 5 years.

      Of course, in March 2016, after the fresh install of Win 7 SP1, the affected users could also manually install the 200+ pending security updates, one-by-one, via M$ Update Catalog = quite impractical.
      ……. But today, ie since Jan 2017, even this alternate manual install of security updates(= those from b4 Oct 2016) has likely already been eliminated by M$.
      IOW, from March 2016 onward, this is likely M$’s way of forcing freshly-installed Win 7/8.1 systems n those still-running-Win 7/8.1 cptr users who hv hidden M$’s Telemetry updates since Sep 2015, to ignorantly install their Telemetry updates. Why.? M$’s hidden Telemetry updates may be an NSA spyware.

    5. NightOwl says:

      @ Woody

      Has anybody ever figured out, for sure, in what circumstances one of those approaches works, while the others do not?

      I posted this comment back in Sept., 2016:


      This is regarding an article by Ken Morley initially published on Jan. 19, 2016. There are 566 replies dating through Dec. 28, 2016.

      Ken very carefully and with clarity, outlines his experience and methods that involve a *fresh install of Win7* and ending up with a system that endlessly searches for updates. He specifically notes in the replies that he never said his solution applied to the slow downs many were having on their systems that were not a *fresh install of Win7*.

      I then started meticulously documenting everything as I went along and I think I’ve found a solution:

      After the reload, I checked the Windows Update components in C:\Windows\System32. The components are wuapi.dll, wuapp.exe, wuaclt.exe and wuaeng.dll and all are version 7.5.7601.17514 dated 11/20/2010. Once you launched Windows update or run SURT, these are all updated directly to version 7.6.7600.320. At that point, I get the symptoms described above and there doesn’t appear to be any way to recover.

      When Windows Update is launched, it first updates itself automatically and
      without the user having any option.
      It appears that upgrading the WU components from7.5.7601.17514 directly to 7.6.7600.320 causes the issue. I suspect that it works fine for computers that are updated incrementally.

      It’s a long haul reading through all the replies! Interestingly, you will find replies from CanadianTech where he states this fix will not help, or work! Somewhere along the line, he *finds religion*, and starts singing the praises of this *fix*! And, he goes on and I think helps devise a solution that works on other systems that were not a *fresh install of Win7*.

      Back to the original quote above: “in what circumstances one of those approaches works, while the others do not?” I’m going to bet a lot of failures are due to people applying a fix, but not reading through *all* the steps involved and *actually doing them*! Probably other failures occur when applying a fix that does not precisely apply to their problem–again one has to really read all the details–sometimes including all the *Replies* in a comment section!

      It’s a symptom of our modern era–instant gratification without doing some critical thinking, and putting in the effort to gather necessary information.

      Because Google has index so many webpages–it’s becoming harder and harder to sift through all the chaff to find the kernel–i.e. the *real* answer to our questions!

      (Hope my formatting comes through okay!)


    6. firemind says:

      I haven’t noticed any slow updating for months. I am in Group B and only install what is needed and/or recommended here.

      I am using one home computer so speed isn’t an issue like it may be for someone servicing a lot of computers.

      I may have installed some ‘service stack’ updates that supposedly sped up windows update but I’m not sure. A few months ago I asked about
      KB3177467 and was told here to hold off installing so I did. On patch day it had disappeared when the monthly updates rolled out.

      After you gave the go ahead I applied the needed updates and then KB3177467 appeared again and all optional updates disappeared.
      [I have it set to inform me of updates but let me install].

      I haven’t applied KB3177467 but haven’t noticed any issues.

      I hope this helps.

      One other point: I wish hidden updates stayed hidden. I don’t have Silverlight and don’t want it but it reappears regularly as an optional download.

      I hid 3 Intel “updates” and on patch day 4 were showing. LOL.

      • Mike in Texas says:

        Same here…

        I *think* I don’t have any of the telemetry or surprise Microsoft patches for the last year and Update works fine for me on Win7x64 Pro.

        I’m also in group B and manually install from catalog, turn on windows update afterwards to see what it reports and hide stuff (like intel), etc. Then turn Windows update back off.

        I know this is probably paranoid/overkill since I have WU to only show patches and let me install them but I don’t trust MS any longer after how they’ve done stuff for the past year.

        Creating System Restore points before any software changes and doing two Acronis TrueImage backups a month to extra offline disks.

        I’ve only restored from backups twice in last 4 years, but they’re worth it and saved my butt.

        I may not comment a heck of a lot, but I read nearly every thread posted on Askwoody for self-education.

    7. dave says:


      Just because you got wrong information in the message, DO NOT take the messenger to task. Find fault in the message SOURCE.

      Woody, thanks for all the help and information you have provided to us, at no cost.


      • abbodi86 says:

        +1 πŸ™‚

      • Michael says:


        Fully agreed. Sure, if you have the time to search through every individual hardware vendor’s tech support article, you may come across something that the more direct software vendor SHOULD be telling us about. But no, SC would rather shoot the messenger who’s been trying to cobble together all the various “sources of truth” from amid all the misinformation.

        SC, you found some info about great vexation for us yourself, congrats. But don’t knock down someone who has been trying to provide a VERY useful service. The crime here is your not being a bit more circumspect.

      • Anon says:


        Woody, your help has been invaluable.

    8. Tom says:

      KB3172605 fixes it for good.

      (On a clean install, you might have to install KB3020369 first, I’m not 100% sure. I did because someone recommended it and it worked.)

    9. John s says:

      I finally gave up on Windows 7. I had secured a digital license for Win 10 whenn it was free and went back to Win 7. I was hoping to stick with it until late 2019 or to EOL 2020. But the windows update hassle along with its changes really caused me to abandon Win 7 early. I may actually go back to Mac OS or try Linux but will give Win 10 a chance for a while. The frustraition with Windows right now is bad. No good solution and am hoping the next big update for Win 10 gives back some control.

      • ch100 says:

        @John s
        I would suggest that if you are reasonably happy with Windows 10, give it a go for at least few months before deciding otherwise.
        This is the best approach, unlike many of the posters here who swear that they will never upgrade, but I am convinced that most did the same during Windows XP to Windows Vista/7 transition.
        Disable Cortana and Store Apps if they are annoying or don’t find them useful and you are basically set. Set Telemetry to Basic (or Security if you use Enterprise or Education).
        Anything else that you will hear about spying and other stuff is just noise and distraction. The so called spying serves only commercial purpose and to some extent product enhancement.
        One last thing, use Professional or higher edition if you have this option.

      • messager7777777 says:

        @ John s ……. Fyi, there is no problem using a non-updated Win 7 or being in Canadian Tech’s Group C(= woody’s Group W), as long as the user practices safe-browsing or even no-browsing/offline, eg avoid torrenting for the latest music or movies or games.

        About using Win 10, maybe it’s a good idea for u to check out this link about its many problems…

      • James Bond 007 says:

        “But the windows update hassle along with its changes really caused me to abandon Win 7 early.”

        Microsoft has succeeded in driving you to “upgrade” through the Windows Update changes. Count as a success to Microsoft.

        “No good solution and am hoping the next big update for Win 10 gives back some control.”

        Don’t hold your breath for it. In fact I predict Microsoft will tighten even more and allow even less control (to consumers) with the next big update.

      • Carl D says:

        John S,

        I’ve also decided to give Windows 10 another try (because I like to ‘tinker’ and 10 is kinda fun to play with) πŸ™‚

        But, I have it on a second SSD inside my computer tower and as soon as I installed 10 and made sure it was activated (I have a ‘digital entitlement’ from a copy of Windows 8.1 that I have here) and the extra drivers that I needed were installed I immediately took it offline (Network Adapter disabled in Control Panel) before it installed any other updates.

        So, it is just W10 Anniversary Update (1607) with no further updates installed.

        Then, I ran O&O’s ShutUp10 to disable all of the annoying things and after that I set up a dual boot with Linux Mint 17.3

        I might format, reinstall and do the same thing in April when the ‘Creator’s Update’ is released.

        So, I have 3 SSD’s in my computer tower:

        1. Windows 7 Professional and Linux Mint.
        2. Windows 10 Home and Linux Mint.
        3. Data drive (for pictures, videos, music, Macrium images, etc.).

        I just switch the SATA cable between drives 1 and 2 – after shutting the PC down and switching the power off of course – depending on which one I want to use.

        Both Windows 7 (SP1 level only) and Windows 10 do not have Internet access – ever. Windows (any version) is just too much hassle to use online these days, in my opinion.

        • James Bond 007 says:

          “I just switch the SATA cable between drives 1 and 2 – after shutting the PC down and switching the power off of course – depending on which one I want to use.”

          Does your computer’s BIOS/UEFI have a feature to selectively disable SATA ports?

          If it has such a feature, you can use it to disable the port connected to the disk you don’t want to use at that time. That way both disks can stay connected all the time and there will be no need to open the case to switch cables.

          I use Gigabyte motherboards and the motherboards with UEFI (Ivy Bridge and later, and several Sandy Bridge models) have such a feature. I use it to disable all disks except the startup disk when I want to reinstall Windows from scratch, and then reenable them.

          Of course your method will work as well, but I would prefer not opening the case if it is not absolutely necessary.

        • Lizzytish says:

          @Carl D ….. when Woody’s Lounge opens there will be a forum dedicated to different OS’s and one will be about Linux. I’m hoping that you would be able to see your way to giving us your input on the different distros and also how to go about setting them up. So this is an invitation to come and have chat with those who would like to hear and learn more when it’s all up and running. (hope I haven’t overstepped the mark here Woody!) LT

          You never fail until you stop trying.

    10. Canadian Tech says:

      There are two posts on the Answers forum that solve this problem. To the best of my knowledge these work in every case.
      These postings have been up since August. They have together had over 300,000 views. Literally thousands have replied with very positive results.

      These solutions work for both re-installs and regular update issues.

      The exceptions (when they do not work) are mostly as a result of not following instructions but in some cases in which the user has executed numerous attempts that have failed, Windows Update gets so screwed up, it does not work any longer. In that case, I recommend a WU reset followed by the same solution – KB3172605.

      At long last Microsoft posted a copy of this solution in its knowledgebase.

      Microsoft created this mess. It does not appear that they care very much about it. It almost seems like it is intentionally done to discourage Windows 7 users and lead them to Windows 10. I suspect there was not intentional design, just lack of interest in solving the problem.

      I have read numerous stories on the Answers forum of people paying “Microsoft” technicians hundreds of dollars to fix their windows update problems. None of the stories that I have read indicate that the technicians knew about this solution.

      • woody says:

        This really should be an AKB article – put it all together, in one place, for all posterity….

      • messager7777777 says:

        @ CT ……. In Sep 2016, I did a fresh install of Win 7 SP1 Pro 32bit for a cptr Dummy relative who had experienced a hard-drive failure. Got it activated n Windows Update set to non-automatic. On the 1st run of WU, it found n installed 2 ancient updates, ie KB2xxxxxx. Thereafter, the cptr could not be updated, ie ‘Checking for updates’ ran for hours unsuccessfully.

        The relative took the non-updated cptr home. Shortlyafter, somehow, when he ran WU again, the ‘Checking for updates’ was successful n 200+ important updates were found n installed. Being a cptr Dummy, he must hv also installed M$’s post-Sep 2015 Telemetry updates.
        ……. If it was my cptr, I would not hv installed M$’s Telemetry updates when offered by WU/M$, eg KB2952664, KB3021917, KB3068708, KB3080149, KB3050513, KB3022345.

        IOW, if the Win 7/8.1 cptr users ‘submit’ to M$ n allow their Telemetry updates to be installed, M$ will allow their cptrs to be updated, either freshly-installed ones or still-running ones(eg installed KB3172605, the July 2016 Rollup).
        ……. M$ will not allow those who do not ‘submit’ to Telemetry updates to update their Win 7/8.1 cptrs.
        P S – Initially, when I did the Win 7 SP1 Pro fresh install with the Internet connected but without immediately entering the COA Product Key, the installed Win 7 was unusable, ie no Start button n Task bar.
        ……. Had to to do another fresh install without the Internet connected. Install was successful, ie got a functioning Win 7. Connected the Internet, entered the PK n it was activated by M$-servers.
        ……. Seems M$ do not like people installing Win 7 without immediately entering their PK, ie M$ r very suspicious of pirates.

        I hv read about Win 7/8.1 cptr users experiencing similar problems when they did not immediately enter their PK during a fresh install/upgrade to Win 10 via the Win 10 Media Creation Tool with the Internet connected, ie the installed Win 10 could not be activated.

    11. abbodi86 says:

      KB3172605 always work
      for those who have issue with it, they better follow the installation instructions carefully and check their system integrity

      KB3138612 works on clean install
      however after installing some security updates (not-yet-identified), the scan slowness returns

    12. PKCano says:

      I did a clean install of Win7 SP1 in Nov 2016. Note that KB3138612 is effective up to a point, then I had to use KB3172605.

      Here are my results (not complete – I stopped where the change took place)

      Note: These updates I DO NOT install: KB2952664, KB3021917, KB30688708, KB3080149, KB050513, KB384143.
      Note: I left “Give me Recommended” checked. I’m not really worried about having Azerbijani-Manat, Lenovo USB fix, Bitlocker fix, Journal removal, etc installed.
      Note: I did the updates in bunches so as not to bog down the computer and to learn something about updates.
      1. I installed Win7 Home Premium SP1 32-bit from scratch.
      2. Before doing WU, I manually installed KB2533552 (error correction) and KB3138612 (Mar 2016 Upd Client).
      3. After reboot, ran WU/reboot multiple times with installs below. The list was much longer than original ch100 list in his post.
      4. Fast scan – Installed ONLY Update for Win7 (nothing else) before 1/1/2015. Reboot.
      5. Made a list of the 35-40 Update for Win7 from 2015-16 and referenced on MS support website.
      6. Fast scan – Installed ONLY Update for Win7 (nothing else) dated 2015. Reboot.
      7. Fast scan – Installed ONLY Update for Win7 (nothing else) dated 2016 except KB3179573 (Aug RU). Reboot.
      8. Fast scan – Installed ONLY Security update for Win7 before 1/1/2015. Reboot.
      9. Fast scan – Installed ONLY Security update for Win7 dated 2015. Reboot.
      10. Slow scan (something in 2015 security upd’s messed up WU). I was forced to manually install KB3020369 and KB3172605 to speed it up. Probably should have done so in the first place.

      • woody says:

        So perhaps SC will see his comeuppance…

      • ch100 says:


        “I did a clean install of Win7 SP1 in Nov 2016. Note that KB3138612 is effective up to a point, then I had to use KB3172605.”

        You were the first one to notice this behaviour on this site, while I was still promoting KB3138612 as the best solution, mostly based on my testing, which was done only on a clean image where it works, up to a point as you say. I was promoting KB3138612 also because it was and still is rated as Critical Update while KB3172605 was Optional – now it is Recommended after being revised in September 2016 – still rated lower than KB3172605, because of the known issues with Intel Bluetooth which majority of people should ignore and the remainder of users should just discontinue using Bluetooth on a PC/laptop (if it is not too inconvenient :)).

        Abbodi86 and I had few exchanges here and we both confirmed what you describe here about KB3138612 vs KB3172605.

        Conclusion: KB3138612 is fully superseded at the component level (internally in Windows) by KB3172605, but the earlier one still comes as Critical on WU and to satisfy (cosmetic only) WU criteria, it is suggested to be installed as well.

        Do not hide updates which you don’t need! Just leave them not installed. There is a lot happening in WU and it is better to allow Microsoft to manage dynamically the updates.

        Take this as absolute current recommendation:

        There is good information from Canadian Tech as discussed many times here and this confirms based on extensive experience exactly the same.

        Also good reading (mostly for Enterprise users like any Technet article, but end-users can get few good ideas from there too), but be aware that there are few downsides – read all comments for full understanding:

        Windows 7 refreshed media creation

    13. ch100 says:


      This was discussed many times, but a lot of people seem to be still confused.
      Maybe you should add some weight to your AKB and post this URL

    14. Marty says:

      I installed KB3138612 via Windows Update on 4/29/2016. It may have solved the slow WU problem for a short while, but within a month or so, I was back to scans that took hours. Not until I manually installed KB3172605 on 11/19/2016 was the slow scan problem permanently solved (at least so far). Scans now take just a couple of minutes.

      This result reflects the identical behavior of five Win7 computers in my household.

    15. Des says:

      Thanks to everyone here, my recent experience of re-installing W7 Pro X64 worked out pretty well.
      The original disk (Dell) was pre-SP1. Installed without difficulty. Then followed the sequence of manual installs (downloaded in advance from the Microsoft Update Catalog). Ran WU and that got me SP1 without any glitch. Continued with the recommended manual installs, ran WU and got offered about 50 updates in total between important, recommended and optional.

      Then hit a brick wall – WU spinning its wheels for hours and hours with no outcome.
      Manually installed KB3172605. Ran WU and was offered over 200 updates within a few minutes.

      To my surprise, there were only 4 updates that I rejected for telemetry, all of which were on my original shit list from Win10. Also a few that I have chosen to ignore for the moment, but they are all on the Optional side. Apart from that (and the latest rollups) everything seemed worth installing.

      I’m in Group B, btw and prepared to go to W if/when necessary.

    16. Hi Woody,

      I am a computer repair tech in Tennessee. I have installed, reinstalled, and repaired Windows 7 dozens of times since the “stuck update” fiasco. I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that Canadian Tech has given the solution here:


      It has worked everytime for me and like I said I’ve used it dozens of times. Best wishes.

      Randy Knowles

    17. Steve says:

      I just did a clean reinstall of Windows 7 Home Premium. I have the Win7 installation disk (supplied with my machine from Dell) but it does not have SP1. After reinstalling Win7 and starting Windows Update (WU), one of the first updates offered was SP1. After installing this and rebooting, WU offered an update to SP1. I installed that and rebooted again. The next step was to follow your recommendation of installing KB3020369 then KB3172605 before installing any other update. After doing so all of the remaining updates installed quickly and smoothly.

      Let me tell you before following your instructions, WU on my machine was totally broken. It would take some updates hours to install and others did not install at all. Also, I use Secunia 2.0 and it would not give me notice of any of the Windows patches. Now everything is running the way it should. Maybe this does not work for everyone but it certainly worked for me.

      Thanks for all that you do.

    18. Carl D says:

      On a related note, does anyone know the reason why Windows 8.1 has started having the same update issues as Windows 7 (and Vista)?

      As I’ve mentioned once or twice before in other topics, up until about the middle of last year Windows 8.1 had absolutely no update issues – for me, at least.

      I did several Windows 8.1 installs about 6 months ago and the initial check for updates took less than 5 minutes and after the first reboot the other updates appeared immediately (I did security updates only first then the rest).

      Now it has the same update issues and W7 and Vista.

      This is yet another reason why I strongly suspect that this whole update fiasco with Vista, 7 and now 8.1 has been deliberately ‘engineered’ by MS to frustrate users and get them to move to Windows 10.

      Glad I keep Windows 7 offline these days and only use Linux Mint for the Internet. The sheer amount of time and effort being wasted worldwide by people trying to keep any version of Windows (apart from 10 and especially 7) updated is absolutely mind boggling.

      • abbodi86 says:

        If it’s a deliberate move, why Windows 8.1 took a whole yesr after Windows 7 to have it?
        and why they fix it finally? πŸ™‚
        Windows 10 RTM also suffer the same issue now

        it’s just bad engineering related to the supersedence chain metadata

        • messager7777777 says:

          @ abbodi86 ……. No, it was not ‘a whole year’. Broken Windows Update for Win 7 only began occurring around March 2016 n for Win 8.1, it occurred a few months later around July 2016 according to Carl D.
          ……. IOW, M$ had broken Win 7 first n then broke Win 8.1, …likely bc of Win 7’s much bigger market share.
          If u were M$’s Nadella, u would likely also do what Carl D has suspected of M$, ie ‘engineering’ broken WU in Win 7/8.1 for greedy/selfish purposes.

          • abbodi86 says:

            It began for Windows 7 in May 2015, few months later fot Vista
            anyway, keep enjoying your trip at Mars πŸ™‚

            • Volume Z says:

              It started for Windows 7 and Vista simultaneously on August 11, 2015 5 PM UTC due to release of KB3078601. πŸ™‚


            • abbodi86 says:

              i personally experienced the issue on Windows 7 since the beginning, and i’m absolutely sure it started in May 2015, just around time when GWX released πŸ™‚
              at first the delay was merely minutes (up to 10)

              i do not use Vista, so i do not know when it started precisely

              • ch100 says:

                “i personally experienced the issue on Windows 7 since the beginning, and i’m absolutely sure it started in May 2015, just around time when GWX released”

                Now you are the one fuelling conspiracy theories πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

              • Volume Z says:

                I’m absolutely sure it started in Windows 7 and Vista due to release of KB3078601, the first trigger identified by Dalai, released for both OSs simultaneously. Also I’m absolutely sure it was working fine in Windows 7 as well as Vista in May 2015. πŸ™‚

              • abbodi86 says:

                Sometimes the truth hurts πŸ˜€

                • Volume Z says:

                  No, it’s sheer logic. The general update issue is caused by triggers known as magic patches. Each magic patch is effective only because and as long as it also is a problem. I have a reason to maintain the beginning of the issue is August 11, 2015 and started in 2 OSs simultaneously. It simply makes sense.

                  Regards, VZ

                • abbodi86 says:

                  My reply about the truth was addressed to @ch100 πŸ˜€

                  i know how WU works, and i know how to monitor its activity
                  i have seen the delay with my own eyes in May 2015 with several tests πŸ™‚

                  • Volume Z says:

                    You only saw something similar then. No triggers for this issue existed in May 2015. Otherwise Dalai would have identified the first one three months earlier than he actually did.

                    I myself was able to inplace upgrade and update Windows Vista on May 17, 2015 without an issue. It is known that the update issues of Vista and 7 were caused by the same triggers from Patch Day August 2015 to Patch Day October 2016. If no trigger was around in Vista in May 2015, none was around in Windows 7. πŸ™‚

                    • ch100 says:

                      Please stop spreading FUD. There is no magic patch, this is just popular speech for workarounds but not solutions.
                      There are instead thresholds for supersedence calculations which take certain WU agents beyond their capabilities.

                      • Canadian Tech says:

                        I can tell you that at least hundreds of thousands of people with Windows 7 systems think KB3172605 is a magic patch. They think so because they applied the patch using the methods prescribed in two different Answers Forum “discussions”, and had what most termed an amazing result.

                        They had tried many, many techniques including most of the ones provided by Microsoft and those had not worked. Many even called “Microsoft” technicians who labored for hours for which they paid with no effective result. In many cases, their computers were left in a tangled state. Many re-installed many times thinking that would help. I am certain many even abandoned their computers altogether over the frustration they felt.

                        Then they found the KB3172605 and all of a sudden (yes it is sudden) they were getting many updates.

                        So, you may be correct in some technical way, but from the ground perspective, it is with out a doubt a “magic” patch.

                        I would even venture to say this patch has been applied by likely millions, could even be many millions.

                        If you care to spend some time reading through the responses on these two discussions…

                        http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-update/windows-7-update-solution/f39a65fa-9d10-42e7-9bc0-7f5096b36d0c It is 120 pages long, viewed by about 180,000 and has well over 1000 replies.



                      • ch100 says:

                        @Canadian Tech
                        KB3172605 and any other patch containing WU Agent updates are not “magic patches”, they are exactly what the description says, fixes for WU Agent.
                        The magic patches which I was referring were those which changed every month, updating kernel, graphics components and only acting as speed-up patches just because of eliminating supersedence from calculations.
                        Currently the only patch which is worth discussing in the context is KB3172605 and its pre-requisite servicing stack update.
                        Even so, some people try to find an infinite number of reasons not install even KB3172605 for various reasons.

                      • messager7777777 says:

                        @ CT & ch ……. Seems like things happened as if M$ had intentionally or inadvertently slowed or broken Windows Update for Win 7, in order to push the users onto Win 8/8.1 n Win 10, eg refusing to release a Win 7 SP2 from 2014 onward that would hv speeded up updating for a clean install n likely also ignoring updating problems.
                        ……. It is like a Doctor Death using malpractices/mistreatments to financially benefit from their patients n families or patients’ insurance payouts.
                        Whatever supersedence that M$’s KB updates hv, they should be compatible with antecedent or superseded updates, IOW, there should be backward-compatibility between updates. A supersedent update should not slow or break a Win 7 cptr that has the antecedent or superseded update.
                        ……. Like I said b4, other OS do not hv this kind of updating problems.
                        Seems, a few M$-apologist posters here hv a lot of head knowledge but no heart knowledge.

                  • abbodi86 says:

                    I know the issue symptoms very well, and i still insist that it first began in May 2015

                    • Volume Z says:

                      You can’t name a cause or evidence. πŸ™‚

                    • abbodi86 says:

                      I don’t have any, and don’t need any
                      i’m just posting info for knowledge πŸ™‚

                      so, why KB3078601 did not “trigger” the issue for Windows 8.1? why it’s affected many months later?
                      and why Windows 10 RTM have the issue now?

                      it’s all caused by the metadata, not the actual updates or files
                      that’s why KB3138612 now works on clean install Windows 7, then it stops after having new updates metadata

                      • Volume Z says:

                        If KB3078601 doesn’t trigger the issue in Windows 8.1 (I don’t run 8.1), it’s for the same reason KB3204723 doesn’t trigger it in POSReady2009 while it does in Vista. 8.1 and XP are different from Vista/7.

                        Availability of KB3078601 does trigger the issue right now in Windows 7 and started doing so on August 11, 2015. If you insist the issue started in May 2015 – when exactly did it start? Eligibility for which KB triggered it? When and why did it stop triggering the issue when KB3078601 was the only trigger present in August 2015?

                        KB3138612 is worse than something that doesn’t work. It’s something that works once.

                        When installed combined with KB3078601 and the Monthly Rollup (current standing of Windows 7 magic patches = triggers, assuming MS Office not installed), KB3138612 actually does work. So does every release of the Windows Update Client after June 2015.


                        DELL should revise their ineffective, outdated-on-arrival recommendation for KB3138612 ASAP.

                        Regards, VZ

                      • abbodi86 says:

                        @Volume Z

                        i can’t tell the exact date, because my daily main OS is Windows 8.1, i only start Windows one or two in the month to check updates
                        and i was not interesting to investigate the issue at that time, just thought it was temporary

                        i noticed it on the same day when “Windows 10 Technical Preview” was pushed for Windows 7 through Windows Update
                        so the trigger is definitely KB2990214

                        apparenly, the issue started to grow until it reached the tipping point in August 2015
                        for Windows 8.1, it took more months to reach it

                      • ch100 says:

                        I might contradict you here without proper evidence, but while this is a popular idea that somehow the slow scanning issue is related to Windows 10 upgrade, there is no relation whatsoever between the two, it is just a coincidence and the concept is fuelled by the Windows 10 conspiracy theories all over the internet.
                        The slow scanning is only related to exceeding the capabilities built-in 7.6.7601.320 (and later agents before October 2015 I think) when a certain number of updates and their supersedence relationships has been reached and it may be related to the amount of memory in the system and the CPU capabilities.
                        Early versions of the agent reached quickly 2 GB of RAM used for svchost.exe and for systems with 2-3 GB of RAM, in particular those running 32-bit versions of Windows 7, this was quickly becoming a limitation.

                    • ch100 says:

                      I did some experimentation a while ago and the results were posted here. However, while the exact date was inconclusive, the period was around that one which you mentioned.
                      However this may depend slightly on the hardware utilised by the user experiencing the slow scanning response.

                      • Volume Z says:


                        I’m sorry, but KB2990214 is an Update Client. A trigger is an update that poses problems to Update Clients. Also, KB2990214 has been superseded numerous times. As a general rule every successor of a triggering update will be triggering itself, but no successor of KB2990214 is a trigger.

                        There is no way KB2990214 could have been a trigger of the ongoing general update issue. πŸ™‚

                      • ch100 says:

                        @Volume Z
                        I think that @abbodi86 tries to say that the WU agent released as KB2990214 was even worse than the preceding agent 7.6.7601.320.
                        Maybe @abbodi86 should clarify as this is of general interest.

                      • abbodi86 says:

                        I actually ment that upgrade metadata delivered with it triggered the issue
                        but that’s just a wild guess, since Vista don’t receive that metadtada

                        howver, i stand still
                        the known scan issue i first experienced it in May 2015 πŸ˜€

                      • ch100 says:

                        Thanks πŸ™‚

                      • ch100 says:

                        I was trying to reproduce your results, but I cannot find any blame for KB2990214.
                        The first patch failing and failing beyond recovery was KB3058515, which is an IE patch.
                        If there is one WU Agent patch candidate to be blamed for slow scanning, this is the next one from KB2990214, i.e. KB3050265, but my results are far from being definitive.
                        The web site at http://www.potentengineer.com/windows-update-agent-build-numbers-for-windows-7/ is providing a history of WU Agents for Windows 7 and their versions.
                        I would say that this is old news by now and the only reasonable advice which seems to be shared by everyone here with good technical understanding is to install the pair KB3020369/KB3172605 as a minimum condition to resolve all known WU issues.

                      • messager7777777 says:

                        @ abbodi86 & ch100 ……. Volume Z is likely correct that the slow Windows Update scanning of a clean installed Win 7 SP1 began around Aug 2015, as evidenced by a timed Google Search …

                      • abbodi86 says:

                        There is no particular WU Agent patch that trigger the issue, it’s all in the metadata of WU
                        i just mentioned KB2990214 because it was the first upgrade facilitator, thus the upgrade metadata came with it, but it’s not the patch itself that caused it

                        i know that list and i contributed in it a little bit πŸ˜€

                      • ch100 says:

                        I think that there is no intended relation to the upgrade and this is probably where there is a misunderstanding and our replies seem to contradict each other, while in fact they don’t.
                        If I understand correctly, you say that the broken behaviour happened during that exact time as a side effect of trying to keep Win 7 updating working plus the upgrade functionality introduced first with KB2990214. And around that time due to the additional complexity it all got broken.
                        Re Volume Z post, that KB3172605 may no longer be needed, I noticed during my simulating testing yesterday that 7.6.7601.320 was actually behaving well until at least about July 2015 (I suspended testing shortly after, but I intend to continue testing from that point today), KB2990214 was the same but something was broken either by the IE 11 CU patch which I have already mentioned or by the next WU agent after KB2990214.
                        KB3172605 may only be needed in such a situation to fix one of the previous broken agents including the better one from KB3138612, while if none of the broken agents is installed, then KB3172605 is not needed.
                        But from a practical point of view, regardless of what Microsoft has been fixing on their side by expiring the latest big batch of updates, there is no point in avoiding KB3172605 and that advice should still stay.

                      • ch100 says:

                        “i know that list and i contributed in it a little bit πŸ˜€

                        The reference to Daniel Ratliff’s site was not for you, but for everyone else here, including me πŸ˜€

                      • ch100 says:

                        I suppose you know about this article.
                        It took them another year to provide the complete fix, KB3172605, because all the other fixes were only partial.
                        It is interesting that I was already applying what they say about WSUS and declining superseded updates, so I have never encountered the issue until I read it on AskWoody and started experimenting.
                        This is why sometimes I am getting annoyed when people insist even today about magic patches or even worse, conspiracies related to Windows 10 upgrade.

                      • Canadian Tech says:

                        ch100, I think what you are saying is the windows update disaster that befell Windows 7 and 8 was the result of rank incompetence, rather than malicious intent.

                      • woody says:

                        That certainly seems to be the case – along with a bit of not-so-benign neglect.

                        I repeat a back-of-the-envelope calculation I made earlier (which has since been shown to be completely off the wall), but I bet there was enough electricity wasted on Win7 Update scans to power a small city.

                      • ch100 says:

                        @CT Yes!

                      • messager7777777 says:

                        @ CT & ch ……. I put it as likely greedy intent AND rank incompetence of M$$$$.

                  • ch100 says:


                    You say “i know how WU works, and i know how to monitor its activity”

                    For those who don’t, it doesn’t make any sense, so you might be wasting your time. They are many years behind πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

                    • abbodi86 says:

                      I actually admire Volume Z’s efforts to clear the situation and help users at answers.microsoft without spreading non correct info or FUD

                      • ch100 says:

                        Those interested in understanding this stuff should go over to a much better forum than answers.microsoft.com for the real thing, you know which one πŸ˜€
                        Otherwise they should just take the results from people who already put the effort, as it is not so easy to figure out what is going on behind the scenes.
                        And this supersedence stuff was publicised many years ago by Susan Bradley and at least one Microsoft PFE and also discussed by Woody in relation to XP, although XP is a bit different, beyond “that” specialised forum. πŸ™‚

                      • woody says:

                        Which forum? No problem advertising other forums… We’re all in this leaky boat together.

                      • ch100 says:

                        It is obviously MDL. πŸ˜€

                      • woody says:

                        I kinda guessed. Don’t hesitate to recommend them, or link to them. Great site, good people, a little off-the-wall, which I like.

            • messager7777777 says:

              @ abbodi86 ……. U said, …”It began for Windows 7 in May 2015, few months later fot Vista
              anyway, keep enjoying your trip at Mars. ( : ”
              From May 2015 onward, Windows Update for a clean install of Win 7 slowed down to a few hours, but still working. But from around March 2016 onward, it was broken or not working at all. Users like Canadian Tech had to hunt for a fix. M$.?
              ……. Pls refer to this link.
              With about 200 pending important updates for a clean installed Win 7 in 2015, the slow-down was likely to happen. A Win 7 SP2 fix.?
              ……. Was there any permanent fix and/or info/publicity from M$ for the slowness or brokenness.?
              ……. Maybe, this was M$’s way to push Win 7 users onto Win 8/8.1 and then onto Win 10.

        • Carl D says:

          Only MS would be able to tell us the reason why Windows 8.1 is now having the same update issues as 7 and Vista. But, even the most trusting of folk must be getting suspicious of MS’s intentions. Especially after their behaviour with the GWX campaign.

          Fix it finally? Have they really done that? The solutions (temporary as they seem to be because the same issue reappears each month) have been discovered by people like Canadian Tech and others with no help from MS. MS have finally acknowledged the issue (about time) and made an article about it but I doubt whether the average computer user would know about it or would even be able to find it.

          They could ‘fix’ the issue with W7 by having the latest Windows Update Client and whatever else is needed to ensure quick updating install themselves when you check for updates after a clean installation of W7 SP1. But, it seems MS just isn’t interested – presumably because they want everyone on W10.

          It really is class action lawsuit stuff if it were possible to do. Imagine the uproar if antivirus and antimalware programs had the same update issues as Windows has nowadays.

          When you look at all the ‘hoops’ that even experienced users have to jump through just to get updates for W7 these days I’m sure that the average computer user would have virtually no chance of ever figuring out why their machines won’t update so they would either just not update their machines at all (big security risk of course) or move to W10 which is what MS wants.

          Oh, one of the lines in my last post should read “Now it has the same update issues as W7 and Vista not “Now it has the same update issues and W7 and Vista”.

          • abbodi86 says:

            Windows 8.1 is about 2 years newer than Windows 7 SP1, so it took it more time to reach the similar limit for superseded updates chain issue

            Yes, July 2016 rollup is a permanent fix for the issue
            MS acknowledged and announced the fix since day 1 with June 2016 rollup KB articles:

            i agree that they could facilitate the fix, but they do not feel obligated to do it
            maaybe they will do it when the security monthly rollup become fully cumulative

          • ch100 says:

            Do you realise what you say here?

            “The solutions (temporary as they seem to be because the same issue reappears each month) have been discovered by people like Canadian Tech and others with no help from MS.”

            Canadian Tech has not developed any update, they were developed and released by Microsoft.
            Canadian Tech only explained it to you and others in plain English.

        • ch100 says:

          I think they should expire more of the older superseded updates. On WSUS if I approve only the top level updates and decline all supersede, I don’t notice the slow scan even with 7.6.7601.320. It is clear that a little bit more management on the WU servers would resolve this issue. But I think that not removing old updates is intended for those who may need to rollback.

      • ch100 says:

        For Win 8.1 use the equivalent patches:
        KB3021910 – Servicing Stack Update April 2015
        KB3172614 – July 2016 Rollup

    19. Brandon says:

      Yeah weird how the WUD client in SP1 would cause issues. I verified the slow down when I used WUD before SP1 was installed on a W7 version- it ran at normal pace, after SP1 it was slower than anything. used the updates from the .de site and it fixed the issue

    20. Rob says:

      Group B, self taught Windows Techie since Windows 3.11, avid magazine buyer in the early days and never had slow WU scans since 2009 on two devices.

      Storm in a tea-cup if you ask me..

      Recently done a clean install of Windows 7 HP & Pro following Woody’s guide without a hitch. Thanks again!
      Printed it out and followed EVERY step sequentially.

      Perhaps that article should be highlighted in the lounge?

      • woody says:

        It’s definitely going to be referenced.

        But don’t fall into the “it isn’t broke on my machine so it isn’t broke” syndrome.

        • Rob says:

          hmm..so it is broke then if you take into account the updates via Windows Update for Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials.

          If Microsoft want everyone to follow their update procedure then they surely need to fix WU file attribute/date structure..what a mess!

      • ch100 says:

        “Storm in a tea-cup if you ask me.”

        +1 πŸ™‚

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