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  • 3172605: Solving Windows 7 update scan slowdowns

    Home Forums Knowledge Base 3172605: Solving Windows 7 update scan slowdowns

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      • #83019 Reply
        woody
        Da Boss

        AKB3172605: Solving Windows 7 update scan slowdowns

        By @CanadianTech

        Published 2 Feb 2017 rev 2.0 on 4 Feb 2017

        Windows Update has become quite problematic for Windows 7 users, for the past year and a half.  We have a solution that has worked for likely hundreds of thousands of people.

        Follow Woody’s MS-Defcon status to decide when to update.  (http://www.askwoody.com)

        For this to work, you must follow exactly as this describes.

        If you have already installed KB3172605, it would be pointless to try to install it again.

        Before you begin updating, please go towards the bottom of this Knowledge Base Item and read the section that begins: From October 11, 2016 onwards…

        There are two main types of Windows 7 installations: 32 bit or 64 bit. You need to know what is installed in your computer. Click the Start globe, type systemin the box. Click on System information in the list. The techie shorthand for 32 bit is x86 and for 64 bit is x64. While you are looking at the System information to verify whether yours is 32 or 64 bit, check to see if SP1 (Service Pack 1) has been installed. If you do not see SP1 there, yours has not been updated and the following instructions will not work.

        1. Start Windows Update and change the Setting to Never check for updates. Close the Windows Update window. Windows Update will no longer be automatic. From this point onwards, you are responsible for starting and installing updates. Follow Woody’s MS-Defcon status to decide when to update.

        2. Restart your computer.

        3. You are now going to download and install either one or two updates manually. In most cases only the first (KB3172605) of these is needed. If that produces a result that says the “update is not appropriate for your computer”, you need to first install the 2nd of these (KB3020369), then install the first (KB3172605). Choose the one that is for your machine — 32 bit (X86) or 64 bit (X64).

        KB3172605:
        32 bit
        http://download.windowsupdate.com/d/msdownload/update/software/updt/2016/09/windows6.1-kb3172605-x86_ae03ccbd299e434ea2239f1ad86f164e5f4deeda.msu

        64 bit
        http://download.windowsupdate.com/d/msdownload/update/software/updt/2016/09/windows6.1-kb3172605-x64_2bb9bc55f347eee34b1454b50c436eb6fd9301fc.msu

        KB3020369:
        32 bit
        https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=46827
        64 bit
        https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=46817

        4. After restarting your computer, wait about 10 minutes until Windows Update completes its tasks. Do not use the computer for any other purpose during this wait period.

        5. Start Windows Update. It will take only a few minutes (unless, of course it has been many months since the last update) to come up with a list and download the updates you select. The process is quite normal as it always was from this point onward.

        If updates have not been presented to you in less than 30 minutes, then you have a bigger problem. Likely Windows Update needs to be “reset.”

        This is a bit technical, but if you can follow, It will work for you. For this to work, you must follow exactly as this describes.

        At this point, Windows update is still running in the background. You need to stop it. Click the Start globe (bottom left), type servicesinto the text box that pops up, Click on Services. Find Windows Update in the alphabetic list of services, right-click (left-click if your mouse is set for left-handers) and choose Stop. Close the window

        Now, you are going to reset Windows Update components:

        Start, All Programs, Accessories, Right-click on Command prompt, Choose Run as administrator, Y. Type the following in the black box:

        Tip: Instead of typing each line, you can select the text in each line in the list by high-lighting it, right-click, choose Copy from the pop-up menu. In the black window, Right-click anywhere, choose Paste from the pop-up menu, Enter.

        net stop wuauserv
        net stop cryptSvc
        net stop bits
        net stop msiserver
        ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
        ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 catroot2.old
        net start wuauserv
        net start cryptSvc
        net start bits
        net start msiserver
        Exit

        If steps 5 or 6 do not allow the operation, go back and click on the Start globe and type servicesinto the text box. Click on Services in the list that pops up. In the window that then pops up (its alphabetic), find Windows Update. Right-click on it (left-click if your mouse is set for left-handers) and choose Stop. It may have re-started itself.

        If steps 5 and 6 report that the file already exists, then substitute SoftwareDistribution.old3 for SoftwareDistribution.old, and catroot2 catroot2.old3 for catroot2 catroot2.old. It is possible, that you may have to use 4 instead of 3 if this has been done repeatedly before.

        This procedure will erase the list you would see in “View Update history” that you access in the Windows Update window. It will NOT erase the “View Installed Updates” you access through the Control Panel.

        Now go back to the beginning of this presentation and try the installation of KB3172605 and KB3020369 again.

        From October 11, 2016 onwards, there was a very significant change in the way Windows Update works. Some may like it a lot. Some may dislike it intensely.

        You need to make a decision about what will become of your Windows 7 system.

        Woody Leonhard has described the situation something like this. Note, I am using my own words here and describing it from my own perspective.

        This is Woody’s article: http://www.infoworld.com/article/3128983/microsoft-windows/how-to-prepare-for-the-windows-781-patchocalypse.html

        Group A: Just let MS install whatever they wish on your computer and just don’t worry about privacy and the spyware they will install. This is the easiest choice.

        Group B: Refuse to accept any except Security updates. You get the Security-only updates from the “catalog”. There is risk here in B. You are trusting that Microsoft will not put anything in that group that does things you do not want done. A sort of level of trust in MS that I am not sure they deserve. Keep in mind that they have done the same thing with this set of updates they did in the main one. It is all one agglomeration of whatever number of security updates they decide to put in it. Being in Group B entails some very disciplined work. You must stay tuned to Woody’s advice and be aware of any twists and turns that may be coming.

        Group C (AKA W): Shut down WU permanently and never again accept a Windows Update. This group feels that the risk of Microsoft changing their machine in unacceptable ways or even bricking it, is greater than the risk of a hacker breaking in because some security patch was not installed. I suspect that most people who even think about this topic will opt for this. However since most people think of their computer like a potato peeler, they will not even think about this and things will just happen without them even knowing. They will be Group A and won’t even know it.

        Note that this may not apply to NON-Windows updates such as Office. I am not sure how you can be in group B or W and do this, but I am working on it.

        In all cases for all groups, change the Windows Update setting to Never check for updates, and refer to Woody’s MS-Defcon ratings to decide when and what to update.

        The new rollup style of updates that Microsoft is now providing to what we would call Group A, which includes all kinds of updates (security and non-security), are cumulative. That means if you miss a month or even more, it will not matter because by installing the latest month’s rollup, you would be up to date.

        NOTE well, that Security-only updates are NOT cumulative. This means if you miss a month, you may never get the missed updates.

        So one strategy that you may wish to consider is following Group C, but still updating .net and Microsoft Office through Windows Update, but installing no Windows updates at all. It would be advisable in this case that you stop using Internet Explorer because you would not be getting those updates, but instead use an alternative browser.

        Then, after following this strategy for some time, if things take a turn for the worse, and you decide you made the wrong choice (Group C with .net an Office updates), you can easily shift to A by simply using the latest offered Rollup offered in Windows Update.

        So, as things have evolved, it looks like the vast majority really only have two choices: A as described above or C (modified as described above). The good news is that if you follow the modified C strategy, you have a way back to the Microsoft way, that is easy to implement.

        5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #83863 Reply
        ch100
        AskWoody_MVP

        Woody & Canadian Tech

        Very good and useful reference article and excellent idea to publish it!
        Very well written too.
        Well done. 😀

        Note: You may wish to edit the section related to Group A style of updating.
        My understanding and I think we all agree here is that this is not meant to be working “like Windows 10”. The user should still have the WU configured on one of the other settings, other than Auto. My recommendation for the setting is the same like for the other groups of users/updaters, i.e. ‘Never check for updates’.
        From here, the users should follow Woody’s MS-DEFCON recommendations for Group A.

        The privacy and spyware considerations are hyped too much in importance. Windows implementation is among the least harmful and there is other software infinitely more ‘dangerous’ from this perspective and antivirus software (third-party in particular) is among them. Antivirus software has a lot more default access to anything on the system without further authorisation, while Windows Update in itself does not.
        The best approach for most people is to follow Group A if they wish to have reliable computers and use their computers for anything useful.
        Group B style of updating is correct, but require a lot of effort to do it properly and ideally should not be performed by anyone who is not an IT Professional. Group B style of updating also involves reduced functionality because it skips functional enhancements, most of them released in the past.
        Sometimes only the instructions to follow Group B are just not enough for correctly implementing this style of patching without having further understanding of what is involved and probably Group C/W (not updating at all) makes Windows more reliable overall for most users than Group B.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #83874 Reply
        skydiver
        AskWoody Lounger

        If 3172605 won’t finish install after a few minutes, this might be worth a try…

        The KB3020369 / KB3172605 method from http://www.infoworld.com/article/3136677/microsoft-windows/how-to-speed-up-windows-7-update-scans-forever.html worked for me a couple of times. However, in one case when I tried to install 3172605 it never finished installing. I accidentally SOLVED IT by doing the following…

        If 3172605 won’t finish install after a few minutes, try booting into Safe Mode via F8 at PC Start. Then try to run that update. It will say it can’t run in safe mode. Reboot into normal Windows then try installing again.

        I am not sure if just booting into Safe Mode fixed it or if the attempt to install 3172605 while there cleared something out. I have not had an occasion to try it again.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #85322 Reply
        SkipH
        AskWoody Plus

        Am I the only one seeing raw HTML code in step 3 of the instructions (and other places)?

        EG: <p style=”padding-left: 60px;”>KB3172605:

        Using IE 11. Same in Chrome.

        Also have to zoom to at least 125% to see the text (1600×1200 20″ monitor) sorry, I’m old (maybe even older than Woody).

        • #86517 Reply
          Clairvaux
          AskWoody Lounger

          Me too. Firefox.

        • #86570 Reply
          GoTheSaints
          AskWoody Lounger

          You are not the only one, I am seeing it too in Chrome.

        • #87454 Reply
          Canadian Tech
          AskWoody_MVP

          No, you are not alone. That problem has just been corrected.

          CT

      • #86506 Reply
        Clairvaux
        AskWoody Lounger

        This repaired my Windows Update that was broken for months. Gone is its ugly red head, which it showed everytime I responded to its prompt about new updates needing to be installed (you need to install those updates, however you never looked for updates, haha). Fortunately, I just had to install KB3172605.

        Now I can begin scratching my head again about groups A, B, C, W, µ or whatever.

        I had tried before Microsoft’s Windows Update Troubleshooter for Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows 7, which didn’t do zilch (apparently, finding one missing update is too much for Microsoft).

        Just in case it might be useful to someone (I haven’t tried this, and I’m not giving any advice here), here is the official Microsoft method to reset Windows Update Woody pointed me to (it’s depressingly long and complex). It ends with instructions to install the latest Windows Update Agent, however I’m not sure what Microsoft says is the latest Windows Update Agent is, indeed, the latest.

        It says “The latest version of the Windows Update Agent for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP is 7.6.7600.256”, however, following their own instructions to determine which Update Agent I have installed, it seems to be the more recent 7.6.7601.23453, which, in turns, seems to be the KB3172605 I just installed per Canadian Tech’s instructions.

        Finally, Seven Forums has a how-to dating back from 2010, which purports to automate the Microsoft method above with a downloadable.bat file : see option 2 (again, no endorsement on my part, ask more qualified people). It’s the same one jmwoods linked to in his post.

        Suggestion : change the AKB title of the top post to reflect the fact that it does not only offer a solution to WU slowdowns (or, in my case, downright breakdowns), but also a summary and point of view on the different update strategies available (groups A, B, W).

        • #87457 Reply
          Canadian Tech
          AskWoody_MVP

          clairvaux, The summary about the ABW categories is actually Woody’s InfoWorld article. In usual fashion, Woody does that very well. That is why I specifically linked to it in this summary.

          I try to avoid downloadable command sets. They get stale over time and someone has to maintain it. That is why I included the tip about using the clipboard. That takes away the very sticky need to type the commands precisely.

          CT

          • #87697 Reply
            Clairvaux
            AskWoody Lounger

            Hi Canadian,

            Of course we should acknowledge Woody’s paternity on the concept and details of A, B and W, however it seems to me that there are slightly different points of view on the respective advisability of the three groups.

            By the way, how is your method for reset different from Microsoft’s, and has the latter any merit ?

      • #95475 Reply
        Kirsty
        Da Boss

        Despite having wuaueng.dll version 7.6.7601.23453 (KB3172605), Windows Update today tells me I need to install KB3138612, which came up as an Important Update (no, I didn’t).
        I take it the advice is to ignore this “important update”?

        • #95478 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          No, that update needs to be installed

          • #95481 Reply
            Kirsty
            Da Boss

            It was installed, prior to installing KB3172605. I can’t understand why it would need to be installed, to give an earlier version of wuaueng.dll, as it takes it from 7.6.7601.23453 to 7.6.7601.19161. It doesn’t sound logical…

            • #95483 Reply
              PKCano
              Da Boss

              Newer version.
              eg Remember if you have KB2952660 install you are still offered the later version.

              • #95485 Reply
                Kirsty
                Da Boss

                Since installing KB3172605, KB3138612 is no longer appearing in my Installed Updates list. Should this matter, in terms of being offered newer versions?

              • #95486 Reply
                PKCano
                Da Boss

                When the newer version comes out, the older disappears. In the last month, 2952664 had been hidden as a “recommended” since Oct (last version). It showed back up in the optionals as “optional” before MS aborted WU. So as long as they are different (recommended and optional) there can be two. The older version disappeared from the hidden b/c it was retired. The newer version was to be raised to “recommended” this month (it was to supersede), but …
                So what you see is the older version disappearing when the newer version supersedes it.
                I did a fresh install with KB3020369 and 3172605 first thing before going online. Although it seems 3172605 would supersede 3138612, there must be something that has not been replaced b/c I was offered the latter nevertheless.
                Clear as mud?

              • #95492 Reply
                Kirsty
                Da Boss

                Clear as mud?

                Precisely!
                Ok, I’ll install it… but I’ll be interested to see if it reverts the wuaueng.dll version, and being aware that KB3172605 may possibly need to be reinstalled afterwards…
                Thank you. 🙂

              • #95494 Reply
                PKCano
                Da Boss

                It does a differential. It won’t overwrite what is needs to keep. No need to reinstall

              • #95503 Reply
                Kirsty
                Da Boss

                You’re right – I was pleasantly surprised to see the wuaueng.dll version did not change. So much better than the info on MS’s own website.
                The other thing that was a huge help was your earlier tip to run Windows Update when logged in as Administrator, instead of running it as administrator in a User Account. Thanks.

                Also, a huge thank you to @Woody, for providing this platform for such speedy help in addressing issues which might otherwise cause baldness – I’ve come very close to pulling my hair out, more than once. Thanks!

                1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #95506 Reply
                PKCano
                Da Boss

                Welcome to the Windows Club!!!!

              • #95507 Reply
                PKCano
                Da Boss

                PS There’s a check box under “Change Settings” to the effect “let any User install updates.” Check it and you won’t have to use the God Admin.

              • #95510 Reply
                Kirsty
                Da Boss

                PPS I turned that off deliberately, so no-one accidentally installed WX on my W7 computer, when they were using it. I know I’m being paranoid still guarding against the likes of that, but I feel safer that way 🙂

                1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #95513 Reply
                PKCano
                Da Boss

                If you were looking were looking at the discussion with Morty where you picked up about logging in as Admin – he is using Enterprise Ed., so the case is different.

              • #95515 Reply
                Kirsty
                Da Boss

                Coincidence or not, it worked for me! The other thing I needed to do was disable my firewall, and turn Windows Firewall on, while I did the scan for updates. I reset them back to normal after the updates installed.

              • #95531 Reply
                satrow
                AskWoody MVP

                [Off topic, general comment re. firewalls]

                Coincidence or not, it worked for me! The other thing I needed to do was disable my firewall, and turn Windows Firewall on, while I did the scan for updates. I reset them back to normal after the updates installed.

                There are a growing number of 3rd party firewalls and security suites that will work alongside the built-in Windows firewall.

                For at least the last four years I’ve occasionally bumped into users who were stuck with games/software that couldn’t breach the 3rd party firewall to access the network/Internet, most common causes were ruled out first, then they where asked to enable the default firewall and reboot to try again, they reported back that the default firewall had popped up a window asking whether to allow the software and on which network = Solved.

                I’ve also seen this for myself so for the last year or so, I’ve been running the default firewall alongside ESET ESS and, very recently, Bitdefender Total Security. ESS has an option to evaluate the default firewall rules, BD didn’t auto-disable the default firewall on install, even though it was insistent on removing SpywareBlaster. I also spent a few months with Avast Free and Evorim Free Firewall (“Alternatively, both firewalls can be operated at the same time”) v1.3.2/1.4.1 alongside the default firewall.

            • #95518 Reply
              ch100
              AskWoody_MVP

              @Kirsty
              It is only cosmetic. The supersedence is handled by Microsoft in a certain way for those 2 patches, probably because one is flagged Important and as such mandatory for all categories (A or B) and the other Recommended/Optional. KB3138612 is completely included in KB3172605 at component level, but not at the metadata level and this is what WU takes in consideration.
              You don’t have to install KB3138612 after KB3172605, but as @PKCano says, just install it to keep Windows Update happy and have one less patch to keep track on.

              1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #154510 Reply
        skydiver
        AskWoody Lounger

        If 3172605 won’t finish install after a few minutes, this might be worth a try… The KB3020369 / KB3172605 method from http://www.infoworld.com/article/3136677/microsoft-windows/how-to-speed-up-windows-7-update-scans-forever.html worked for me a couple of times. However, in one case when I tried to install 3172605 it never finished installing. I accidentally SOLVED IT by doing the following… If 3172605 won’t finish install after a few minutes, try booting into Safe Mode via F8 at PC Start. Then try to run that update. It will say it can’t run in safe mode. Reboot into normal Windows then try installing again. I am not sure if just booting into Safe Mode fixed it or if the attempt to install 3172605 while there cleared something out. I have not had an occasion to try it again.

        UPDATE: I have used this multiple times since I first posted. The attempted install in Safe Mode IS REQUIRED for it to always work.

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