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  • 3172605: Solving Windows 7 update scan slowdowns

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

    • This topic has 49 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 6 months ago.
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    #83019

    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.

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    • #83863

      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

      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

      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).

    • #86506

      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

        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

    • #95475

      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

        No, that update needs to be installed

        • #95481

          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

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

            • #95485

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

            • #95486

              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

              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

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

            • #95503

              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

              Welcome to the Windows Club!!!!

            • #95507

              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

              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

              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

              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

              [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

            @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

      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.

    • #2359209

      Do the above instructions in post # 83019 still work if someone is performing a clean reinstall of Win 7 SP1 in 2021? As far As I know the Windows Update Agent for Windows 7 (wuaueng.dll) v7.6.7601.23453 included in KB3172605 has not been superseded/replaced by a newer version, but the Microsoft Update Catalog shows that KB3020369 (the April 2015 Servicing Stack Update for Win 7) has been superseded/replaced by newer SSUs – see attached image. Does that mean that the standalone .msu installer for KB3020369 will now throw an error (“The update is not applicable to your computer“) after a clean reinstall of Win 7 SP1?

      Win-7-SP1-KB3020360-May-2015-SUU-Superseded-by-KB4592510-Dec-2020-SSU

      Some of the newer Win 7 SP1 SSUs like the Dec 2020 SSU KB4592510 require prerequisites like the KB4474419 SHA-2 code signing support update of Sept 2019 to be installed first, so simply substituting the April 2015 SSU KB3020369 with the Dec 2020 SSU KB4592510 in the above instructions doesn’t seem like a viable option.

      • #2359216

        Here is what I worked out if I ever have to reinstall Windows 7…

        Reinstallation and Update Instructions for Windows 7

        WINDOWS 7 OEM

        1. Install KB2533552 before installing Windows 7 SP1 after reinstalling Windows 7 OEM. This is necessary in order to prevent a potential blue screen on reboot after installing SP1. You do not have to restart your computer after installing KB2533552. Here is the link:

        https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB2533552

        2. Install Windows 7 SP1. Then install the updates listed under WINDOWS 7 SP1 before trying to use Windows Update. Here is the link for Windows 7 SP1:

        https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB976932

        WINDOWS 7 SP1

        You must install the following updates before trying to use Window Update after reinstalling Windows 7 SP1.

        3. Install the following updates, in sequential order, on Win7 SP1 before using Windows Update. You do not have to reboot your computer until after installing all of the following updates. The updates which you need to install (and their direct download links) are:

        2019-03-11 KB4490628 (WU servicing stack update):

        https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4490628

        2019-09-09 KB4516655 (WU servicing stack update):

        https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4516655

        2019-09-09 KB4474419-v3-x64 (SHA-2 code signing v3):

        https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4474419

        4. Reboot your computer after installing the above updates. Windows Update will now work correctly.

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2359230

        There are two threads that may help you with the sequence of installs as well. Read through them to see the methodology used. There were problems along the way, and the sequence of installations makes an attempt to avoid those pitfalls.

        https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/any-advise-on-how-to-safely-update-a-new-win-7-home-premium-install/#post-1977331

        and

        https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/asking-for-a-favor-about-updating-my-win-7/#post-1907521

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2359289

        Does that mean that the standalone .msu installer for KB3020369 will now throw an error (“The update is not applicable to your computer“) after a clean reinstall of Win 7 SP1?

        You are asking if any update will throw this error just by virtue of being superseded in general. The answer to this is NO. The superseding version must be installed for this to happen.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2359317

          Correct!

        • #2359418

          You are asking if any update will throw this error just by virtue of being superseded in general. The answer to this is NO. The superseding version must be installed for this to happen.

          Hi Volume Z:

          Thanks for the reminder.  It’s been a few years since I’ve had to run a .msu standalone installer on my old Vista SP2 machine.
          ———-
          32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.9.0 * Malwarebytes Premium v3.5.1.2522-1.0.365
          ———-
          64-bit Win 10 Pro v20H2 build 19042.928 * Firefox v88.0 * Microsoft Defender v4.18.2103.7

      • #2359302

        so simply substituting the April 2015 SSU KB3020369 with the Dec 2020 SSU KB4592510 in the above instructions doesn’t seem like a viable option.

        No, but it’s no necessity either. None of the post-April-2019 SSUs is an actual prerequisite to anything. In terms of replacing recommendations of KB3020369 your choice is KB4490628. This one is an actual prerequisite to all post-August-2019 updates including SSUs. It is an SSU requirement to any later SSU. Not to mention it’s MIA at Windows Update since the release of the August 2019 Security Monthly Quality Rollup. However KB4490628, like KB4474419, has not turned into a requirement for functionality of update search in August 2020 as falsely claimed by Microsoft.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2359229

      Please let me be clear. I still use that methodology exactly as originally written to this day. I do installs commonly. It still works.

      Keep in mind that I do not install any updates issued after July 2017. If you choose to do that, this whole procedure is useless. Other updates that others tell you are required are not needed.

      Update: Coming up on 4 years now, Not a single one of these 100 or so machines has had a single Microsoft update of any kind. They are all protected using Bit Defender Antivirus+. Not one instance of any kind of a problem has occurred. NOT ONE!! These machines are essentially final state unchanging machines and run day in day out.

      However there is a change to the process if starting with an install disk that is NOT SP1 as well as a replacement for 3172605:

      KB3138612

      32 bit,

      https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=51208

      64 bit

      ,https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=51212

      Updating Windows using a PRE-SP1 DVD
      It is best to install using an install disk that is SP1 included. If you cannot find one, and must use a pre-SP1 installer……

      After the install is complete, you must install these two updates before proceeding to Windows Update. These are self-installing updates that you simply download and install.

      KB2533552

      32 bit

      http://download.windowsupdate.com/msdownload/update/software/crup/2011/05/windows6.1-kb2533552-x86_f2061d1c40b34f88efbe55adf6803d278aa67064.msu

      64 bit

      http://download.windowsupdate.com/msdownload/update/software/crup/2011/05/windows6.1-kb2533552-x64_0ba5ac38d4e1c9588a1e53ad390d23c1e4ecd04d.msu

      KB976932

      32 bit

      http://download.windowsupdate.com/msdownload/update/software/svpk/2011/02/windows6.1-kb976932-x86_c3516bc5c9e69fee6d9ac4f981f5b95977a8a2fa.exe
      64 bit

      http://download.windowsupdate.com/msdownload/update/software/svpk/2011/02/windows6.1-kb976932-x64_74865ef2562006e51d7f9333b4a8d45b7a749dab.exe

      CT

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2359272

        Hi GoneToPlaid / PKCano / Canadian Tech:

        Thanks for your excellent feedback. Just an FYI that this topic is back on my radar because Malwarebytes and Norton recently announced that future product updates (i.e., application updates, not malware definitions) will be signed exclusively with SHA-2 digital certificates. See the 07-Apr-2021 Malwarebytes announcement Windows 2019-09 Security Update for Windows Devices Running Malwarebytes Home Products and the 16-Apr-2021 Norton announcement SHA 2 Code Signing Support for Windows 7 for more information. If I understand correctly, Win 7 SP1 users who have not installed the KB4490628 Servicing Stack Update (released 12-Mar-2019) and KB4474419 SHA-2 code signing support update (last revised on 23-Sep-2019) will soon stop receiving product updates for these security programs.

        I know of a least one Win 7 SP1 user who disabled Windows Update back in 2017 (although I’m still not clear if that decision had anything to do with the “Checking for Updates…” hangs that Win 7 SP1 users were seeing around that time that could be fixed by KB3020369 / KB3172605) who is now having issues updating Malwarebytes – see eliuri’s 17-Apr-2021 thread “A Missing Security Update is Required to Update MB”: What Still Updates?. It seems that Malwarebytes employees will not help Win 7 SP1 users to fix this error unless they agree to patch their OS to end of support on 14-Jan-2020, and I received a stern warning not to advise Win 7 SP1 users to do otherwise, so I’ve stepped out of that thread.

        I also found a link in aakkam22’s 08-Jun-2018 MS Answers article How to Obtain and Install Windows 7 SP2 (where Win 7 “SP2” is the KB3125574 “convenience rollup” released May 2016) that directs users with the Windows Update “Checking for updates…” hang to a GitHub page at https://github.com/aakkam22/windowsUpdateLoopFix. This GitHub page includes a download link for a file called UpdateFix.exe v5.0 (last updated 17-Dec-2019) that includes batch files that reset the Windows Update components and automate the installation of KB3020369 / KB3172605. Does anyone have experience running this UpdateFix.exe file, and is this something you would recommended to a computer novice who is not comfortable running .msu standalone installers downloaded from the Microsoft Update Catalog?
        ———-
        32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.9.0 * Malwarebytes Premium v3.5.1.2522-1.0.365
        ———-
        64-bit Win 10 Pro v20H2 build 19042.928 * Firefox v88.0 * Microsoft Defender v4.18.2103.7

        • #2359282

          My advice would be to download the necessary SSU and SHA-2 code signing support updates and install them, then bring Win7 up to date as of Jan, 2020 using Windows Update. After that go with 0patch Pro for security fixes. As time goes on, there are going to be less and less programs that work on Win7, particularly after Jan 2023 when MS kisses it off. That will include not only anti-malware, but browsers and other functional necessities.

          There are two threads that can help navigate the updating difficulties (if you follow those methods). See #2359230 above for the links. The updating was done using time periods that worked around the difficulties and installed after fixes. Both were successful. I would not recommend the Convenience Rollup.

    • #2359286

      This article is outdated. There are no update scan slowdowns to fix anymore. KB3172605 has lost its importance, and so has KB3020369 as a) a prerequisite to a previously issue-fixing update and b) a superseded predecessor of KB4490628.

      That being said, Windows 7 including SP1 can no longer be reinstalled with Windows Update working out of the box. Automatic selfupdate has been abandoned by Microsoft in January 2021. It takes manual download and installation of a post-2014 build of the Windows Update Client to enable update search, like the Windows Update Client March 2016, KB3138612.

      Efforts to restore Windows Update are futile on Windows 7 RTM.

      • #2359304

        What I mentioned for Windows 7 OEM should also be correct for Windows 7 RTM. After installing that single update in order to prevent a potential BSOD, one would then install Windows 7 SP1. One would then follow the additional steps that I outlined after SP1 is installed.

        I still have KB3172605, KB3020369 and KB4490628 installed on all of my Windows 7 computers. KB4490628 apparently is not superseded since it is still listed under installed updates. The Windows 7 update slowdowns actually were a deliberate thing which Microsoft implemented in order to try to force Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 8. One could generally get around this issue by cancelling Windows Update and then immediately checking again for updates. I forget when, but Microsoft eventually gave up on trying to force Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 8. After Microsoft finally gave up and realized that Windows 8 was a dead horse, literally overnight the update slowdowns disappeared.

        Another issue which likely will be encountered when performing a fresh install of Windows 7 is the the log files in the Windows\Logs\CBS folder may end up containing zipped (.CAB) versions of previous CBS log files. This is a bug in Windows 7 such that any zipped (.CAB) log files can not be greater than 2GB in size. If this bug is encountered, then Windows ends up in a recursive loop in which Windows tries to re-zip new zipped versions of the log files. This can occur when Windows Update tries to install many dozens of updates at the same time.

        The solution is to, first, use Admin privileges to gain access to the Windows\Logs\CBS folder. Once you have access to the CBS folder, then…

        Highlight all of the files in the CBS folder and hit the Delete key. If any files are in use (one or two will be in use) then you will not be able to delete these files. This is normal. After doing this, reboot your computer. When booting up, Windows will automatically recreate new CBS log files. The new files will be much smaller (less than 100 kb total).

        The benefit of doing this, aside from freeing up disk space, is that Windows will be much faster when it checks to see what updates are installed on your computer, and when you run any downloaded update such that Windows 7 first checks to see if that given update is already installed on your computer.

         

        • #2359504

          KB4490628 apparently is not superseded since it is still listed under installed updates.

          You can have a superseded update installed and have it listed. Aside the fact that you’ll never see an SSU disappear in installed updates.

      • #2359445

        but who is actually using Win7 RTM these days, Volume Z?
        those people need to get with the times and run Win7 at SP1 level since support for Win7 RTM ended in early 2013

    • #2359315

      Hi Imacri,

      I thought that I should try to answer your original questions…

      Do the above instructions in post # 83019 still work if someone is performing a clean reinstall of Win 7 SP1 in 2021? As far As I know the Windows Update Agent for Windows 7 (wuaueng.dll) v7.6.7601.23453 included in KB3172605 has not been superseded/replaced by a newer version, but the Microsoft Update Catalog shows that KB3020369 (the April 2015 Servicing Stack Update for Win 7) has been superseded/replaced by newer SSUs – see attached image. Does that mean that the standalone .msu installer for KB3020369 will now throw an error (“The update is not applicable to your computer“) after a clean reinstall of Win 7 SP1?

      KB3020369 is still listed as installed on all of my Windows 7 computers. Yes, this update is superseded by later SSUs, yet it is listed as installed since it is a “fall back” update if the superseded SSUs are uninstalled.

      I just downloaded and tried reinstalling KB3020369 from the Windows Update Catalog. When installing, the result I was shown is “Update for Windows (KB3020369) is already installed on this computer.”

      The moral of this story is that some superseded updates will result in the above error message which indicates that the update is already installed, yet that other superseded updates may instead result in an error message which states that “The update is not applicable to your computer.” This latter error message means that the earlier update has truly been fully superseded and that the previous update version has been totally wiped out by the superseded update. Why would this be so? Because the earlier update was so inherently flawed that the superseded update completely removed it from the computer such that the earlier update should not be used as a “fall back” update if the superseded update is uninstalled.

      Best regards,

      –GTP

    • #2359587

      Susan Bradley Patch Lady

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2359688

        Search for Windows Updates takes forever? – A possible solution (krelay.de) My goto post for the order of rebuilding.

        Hi Susan:

        Thanks for reminding me about that site. Dalai’s workaround at http://wu.krelay.de/en/ was the gold standard that I referred to when these “Checking for updates…” hangs started on my old Vista SP2 machine back in 2015/2016. Sadly, Microsoft never released an update for the Windows Update Agent for Vista v7.6.7600.256 (released June 2012) to fix this problem before extended support for Vista SP2 ended on 11-Apr-2017, but it’s good to know that Dalai is still keeping those pages up-to-date for Windows 7 SP1 users.

        I see Dalai’s list of recommended patches for Win 7 SP1 includes the KB3172605 update recommended above in post # 83019 by Canadian Tech. It is my understanding that Windows Update Agents released for Win 7 after May 2016 like the WUA for Win 7 v7.6.7601.23453 included in KB3172605 include “An optimization that addresses long scan time for updates that’s reported on some computers” (quoted from the MS support article <here>) and are more efficient than the old v7.6.7600.x WUAs when searching updates in the update catalog wsusscn2.cab. That suggests to me that KB3172605 could still be beneficial on some Win SP1 machines that are not patched to end of support, especially those with older hardware (e.g., with 32-bit OSs, slower CPUs, and lower amounts of free RAM).
        ———-
        32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 *  Malwarebytes Premium v3.5.1.2522-1.0.365
        ———-
        64-bit Win 10 Pro v20H2 build 19042.928 * Microsoft Defender v4.18.2103.7

        • #2359712

          KB3172605 has stopped making a difference over KB3138612 in January 2017. Also 7.6.7601.23453 is not the latest build.

          When you have KB3138612, KB4474419 and KB4490628, you have all you could possibly need at reinstalling.

          No 3020369, no 3172605 and no sequence of installation is required anymore.

          The “Search for Updates takes forever” issue is dead and gone.

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