• The Windows-Update-takes-forever problem

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    Just got an interesting message from reader NC: I’ve been reading about people claiming their Windows Updates on Win 7 systems are now taking hours an
    [See the full post at: The Windows-Update-takes-forever problem]

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    • #45707

      I found similar consistent behaviour with the one described when the installation is ‘clean’, i.e Windows 7 with SP1 integrated and nothing else.
      One of the first patches to be installed and if installed manually may reduce the waiting time (not guaranteed) is KB2533552 which while superseeded now, it still installs early and is good practice to be installed first. This patch appears to be named ‘Windows 7 Service Pack 1’ in Windows Update but it just fixes bugs discovered in SP1 and not all of SP1 is downloaded. There is another patch less relevant installed early too, the one related to naming Windows 7 machine with numbers only.
      If the installation is close to being patched up-to-date, the svchost.exe scanning should not take so long.
      I don’t think this behaviour is intentional, just poor coding which Microsoft is likely to never fix now that they have most of their resources in developing Windows 10 and soon Windows Server 2016 which will be the server version of Windows 10.

    • #45708

      Win 7 SP1 single core VM takes 3 HOURS just to check for updates.

      Not a single WU/MU monthly update has helped. This has been going on for MONTHS.

      If this isn’t by design, then the decision not to fix it certainly is!

    • #45709

      It took my win7-64bit machine 22h 17m to download the updates this past week. I felt amused that I seem to be annoying microsoft. Glad I read about the trojan in http://betanews.com/2016/03/09/windows-10-advertising-in-ie-security-patch/

    • #45710

      My manual updates do take a long time lately, too… i have a Win 7 64-bit system with an Intel i7-2700K 3.4 GHz core.

      BUT this time, the final restart after the security updates when just past “Shutting Down” screen, then went black screen and stayed that way for at least 30 minutes. i just decided to then press the Reset button and on resatr it did the “configuring” just fine.

    • #45711

      I tried updating my Windows 7 computer for the last 2 days without success. Screen displayed the blue loop spinning for 40 minutes without anything else happening. I finally cancelled the install. Later tried installing only one update and the same thing happened. I left it sit for an hour and nothing downloaded or installed. At this point, I am not sure how I am going to get Window updates installed.

    • #45712

      Are you sure it’s not just overloaded servers and internet infrastructure? There are a lot of Win 10 installation files being sent out at the moment and these may be taking up most of the servers’ time. I am in Australia and (perhaps due to the time shift) I am having no long delays in doing Win 7 updates. I am not so sure that Microsoft is the evil presence that many people feel it to be. Faced with the choice between complicated conspiracy theories and simple incompetence I am always inclined to favour the latter!

    • #45713

      On my old personal W7 Home laptop, it will stay at a solid 50% during this “nothing” period. Yes, that’s one of my cores. Last time I ran WU I plain lost track of time / fell asleep while waiting for something to happen. I wondered if I’d overreached with my firewall rules, but the log looks nominal. I wondered if the recent info posted on this blog re: disabling hidden components of CEIP would somehow speedup WU, in addition to speedup logins. Nope.

      If this is indeed deliberate, and WU continues to have updates like 3102810 and the slew that just say “This update contains some improvements to Windows Update Client”, well that’s a potentially diabolical combination. We users install each of these in desperation, but our systems only get slower. So what’s really going on here?!! *tin foil hat*

    • #45716


      This happens to me all the time. I’ve got Windows 7, SP1, 64-bit. I have not yet updated from IE 9 to 11. Every time I turn on my laptop, the CPU runs at 50%, memory at 75%, and it’s the svchost thing using up the CPU. When I right-click and see what services are using it, there are a bunch, including Microsoft Update. (And the CPU finally calmed down just now after over an hour of my laptop being on.)

      I’m afraid it’s going to fry my laptop with it getting overheated. And everything moves so slow (Firefox, etc.) while it’s happening.

      Also, after doing the latest updates you said to do last night, I then tried to install the two .NET Framework 3.5.1 security updates, and waited over half an hour as it stayed at 0% downloaded, until I cancelled this. I did this twice. This I rebooted and tried again and it immediately installed the updates (apparently they got downloaded sometime during that lag period of waiting, although it never showed that in the status percent thing).

    • #45717

      More info:

      I restored a late January VM snapshot and went through it again, but this time with a little more granularity.

      First run took half an hour to find the 75 or so available updates, then I selected only the Windows Update update itself. It started downloading immediately, and installed in a reasonable time, followed by the obligatory reboot.

      Second run AGAIN took half an hour to find the 74 updates, then I selected most but not all of them. The surprise was that they started downloading immediately, and 404 MB of updates installed, followed by reboot.

      Third run took only a minute or two to find 6 remaining updates, then I selected them all and they went in immediately, followed by reboot.

      For completeness I should mention that I hid this list of updates:

      •KB3035583 (yes, it’s listed twice)
      •All the Windows 7 Language Packs

      Is the problem gone? Or is it that there’s 30 seconds of wasted CPU time for each available update?

      There seems to be no logic to why an update should take more than a trivial amount of CPU time to ponder.


    • #45718


      And so I rebooted my laptop, and it all started over again. And I tried watching something on-line while it was happening (in Firefox, using Flash plugin) and my laptop put itself in hibernation because it overheated! This sucks.

      Is there any way to kill what it’s doing when it happens? Can you just kill the svchost.exe in task manager? Or turn off the Microsoft Update service in task manager or something?


    • #45719

      I have been experiencing the same thing for the past 3-4 months now. Just a couple of days ago, I was reading an article on 7 Forums where some body was in touch with MS and asked if they had us 7 people hooked to an overloaded or SLOW server punishing us, and the person at MS had claimed no. This person posted the chat they had with MS, and it shows where MS had ended the chat without giving any explanation of this matter. So just guess what!

    • #45720

      Hi, Woody. I found this on the Norton forums, and it appears to be a solution to the slow update process for W7 and 8.

      If windows 7 is taking a very long time looking for updates (20 minutes to a couple hours) you need to install this update.

      https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3102810 (link is external)

      There was a problem with the windows update client released last year causing systems to “look for updates” forever.

      This is the new windows update client but some people says it will re-trigger the “Get windows 10” garbage.

      https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3112343 (link is external)

      I spent several days trying to setup a new system with windows 7 recently and could not get windows update to work, I never assumed the problem could be with windows update and thought it was a problem with the system or drivers.

    • #45721

      In addition to my last reply, there also was a person that stated that they have had WU turned off for 4 years and keeps his anti virus updated and he has had NO problems. I also still have an XP that has had NO MS contact for 2 years now. I keep my anti virus updated and use it more than my W7. I feel very safe cuz MS can not get to me. Last night I cleaned up my W7, got it running up to par and turned OFF WU. Fortunately I am only a simple home user and can do this. The funny thing is, I had just installed a Works 9 program on the XP and MS had sent me an update for that, plus an update so that my Works 9 will be compatible with Office 7. And I don’t even care about that either cuz I use my Works 9 program only for home use.

    • #45722

      Just because I’m paranoid it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.

      Seriously never considered this stuff until windows decided to install their GWX malware on my computer.

    • #45723

      I believe the unwanted W10 downloads to unwary users (and those who have chosen to move to W10) is overloading the MS servers and they are just not able to cope with all this traffic.

      I am in Australia also and have been suffering from this pesky problem for many, many months now. Mind you, (as I posted here not long ago) the last batch of updates downloaded and installed in no time but this month I’m back to the long wait again. I try doing the updates very late in the PM and early AM and maybe I am kidding myself, sometimes it works but lately – mostly not.

      I’ll keep persevering even though it’s so frustrating.

    • #45724

      Speaking of tinfoil-hat thoughts about MS’ possible manipulations, I’ve noticed something for the prior 3 months (on my Win 7 computer which I’ve had for 2 or 3 years) and I have just put it down to possibly being some kind of idiosyncracy, but I’ve never noticed it before the last 3 months, and it *has* happened for 3 months in a row, so I thought I’d mention it.

      I haven’t read other complaints about it, so I presume that it’s not happening to many other people, so maybe it is just my computer somehow.
      […I handle the basic maintenance and configuration for a relative’s Windows 7 computer (by a different manufacturer, and 1 year newer than mine), and I have always updated mine and hers with the same MS patches, and this is not happening with her computer.]

      I do use IE 11 as my internet browser, for several reasons, and I have read lots of advice (including by Woody!) to switch to other browsers, but there isn’t one that I have found that doesn’t also have issues that concern me. So I understand that IE 11 isn’t used that much anymore as the typical security-conscious-person’s main browser, but still certainly it’s got to have a relatively large market share, at least in North America.

      What has been happening for the past 3 months is about 2 weeks after a “patch Tuesday”, my IE 11 stops loading up when I click on it. I just get a blank page. Nothing can be done with it. No options to try. I close it and try to open it again… nothing. And again, and again… nothing.
      I have ascertained that my internet connection is fine, my modem is fine, all my ducks are in their normal rows, etc., but the IE browser will simply not open when I click on it, the way it has done instantaneously thousands of times for the many months that that I have owned this computer and have had exactly the same setup with everything.

      What I have to do is shut all my programs down, turn the computer off and on, try again to open IE — and I still get no IE opening up at all, just a blank page — and then shut everything down AGAIN, turn the computer off and on, try again — and *that* time, IE will open up and work fine like nothing had happened. It will work fine for the next few hours, or even one whole day, while I turn the computer on and off and I turn the internet on and off, but then, about a day later, it will start being fussy again, and make me go through shutting it on & off several times before deigning to work.
      This charade will then happen for the next 1.5 weeks, which is usually the point at which I install the patches from the prior Patch Tuesday (I install patches about 3.5 weeks after they are released — I wait until a few days before the subsequent Patch Tuesday, to see what the experts have recommended regarding the prior month’s patches).
      This gets more and more annoying.
      But after I do install what I have picked and chosen from the latest crop of patches
      (I always do the IE updates, always hide the get-windows-10-related updates, and pretty much stick to Susan Bradley’s and Woody’s advice),
      IE 11 will revert right away to working absolutely fine and it will open on the first click for a couple of weeks after that, when it will start misbehaving and refusing to work.

      I am not a computer-techie person, so I don’t know the ins and outs, but I’ve used personal computers for 3 decades and I do have a feeling for when something is acting kinda weird (as the contributor whom Woody quoted in the above blog article said).
      The first couple of times this happened, I just thought, “Oh well, it’s a little glitchy, who knows, just barrel on through it.” But then, when it happened for a third month, at around the same time of the month, I thought, “Hmm, I wonder if this is some kind of punishment for not having patched my IE, or not having installed a different patch, on the Patch Tuesday that has just gone.”
      I would of course be more suspicious if this would be happening to the IE 11 on my relative’s computer, but it doesn’t — her IE 11 has always worked exactly as it should.

      I’ll soon see if it starts to do this to me again this month, since it’s now been a week and a half after Patch Tuesday, and this IE-11-refusal-to-turn-on usually starts two or so weeks after Patch Tuesday.

      It’s not a big deal – just annoying – and time-consuming with all the turning on and off and on and off that is required to get IE 11 to open up and actually work during that portion of the month.
      But it has given me a taste of how much I’d be up shi* creek without a paddle if I lost use of any of the many aspects of my computer that I rely on on a daily basis.
      And that is why it is really pretty scary and disconcerting how much control/power MS has over our computers and our data, and with the facts that they have stopped sticking to agreements, stopped being courteous, stopped being communicative, starting bullying and grasping and taking-without-permission, it seems the situation is now in a downward spiral with that company which possibly will cause some of us some anguish and loss in the years ahead.

    • #45725

      No, it’s not waiting on responses. There is NO network I/O or disk activity pertaining to the Windows Update process when the long delays occur. It’s just spinning hard on one CPU core.

      I can see DNS requests for server names by watching the tail of my DNS server log, and I can see network I/O via Task Manager and my firewall status display.

      I watched disk activity with Resource Monitor and there is none corresponding to the updates during the long sets of CPU loops. You may be able to verify this yourself depending on your system – watch the lights and listen to the hard drives.


    • #45726

      This has been and continues to be a huge problem for me and apparently others. Whenever Windows Update goes out to check for updates, svchost runs full out on CPU totally consuming one of the cores for many hours. I became afraid of overheating and doing damage. When the CPU is maxed out, I see little to no sign of disk activity (perhaps it is constantly searching memory?). Windows Update never behaved like this prior to the Windows 10 rollout and associated Windows Update Client changes (which appear almost monthly). Instead of pushing me from Windows 7 to Windows 10, the exact opposite reaction is forming. If I can’t run Windows Update in Win7, isn’t this a sign my hardware is underpowered for whatever Windows 10 will throw at it? It has become so bad, I have turned off automatically checking for Windows updates in my Win7 systems and instead will just manually run a check maybe once a month. The one thing I have been puzzled by is every month, once the Important updates are installed, checking after that is much quicker until the next batch of Important updates is released (eg patch Tuesday). Maybe Microsoft should be asking WHY folks haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 (eg performance problems in Windows Update for Win7 users, etc) and then act on those problems instead of ignoring them. The assumption we are having is being in Win10 with more features (eg Cortana) will likely cause any performance issues to become worse. Microsoft just is not getting that their own inaction and disregard is sabotaging their goal to get more to Win10.

    • #45727

      That behaviour is well-known for TrustedInstaller.exe crashing in the process of shutting down and sometimes never completing. Sometimes if waiting long enough, i.e many hours, it eventually finishes and the restart is graceful. It is completely random and I don’t know why it happens, I tried to understand it and spent a lot of time analysing it in various scenarios. From a remote console the service shows as ‘Stopping’. It can be remotely stopped from another computer on the same network using taskkill.exe or otherwise the only solution is to do a hard reset.

    • #45728

      First time when I hear about this approach, but it may make a lot of sense…

    • #45729

      Either kill the svchost.exe but make sure it is the right one as there are few of them running, or stop the Windows Update service.
      If the CPU is overheating, then maybe you have another issue like dust accumulation on the air vents. It is well known to happen to a lot of HP models but eventually affects most of the laptops after a while.

    • #45730

      have been experiencing this for at least the last three months, probably longer.. Also have gotten the error 8024419 (Windows Update Cannot update) several times. Freaked me out the first time, run Windows Installer Fixit et cetera, but because the error was there on and off (sometimes it was, sometimes it was not) I stopped worrying about that and put it down to the update server being overloaded.
      I too think it is intentional, to make manually looking for updates as unattractive as possible, hoping we will switch back to Automatic Updates. After reading online about the many thousands of people experiencing this slow updating, I just cannot believe it is accidental anymore. if it was by accident, Microsoft would have fixed it by now.

    • #45731

      Seeing the same on W8.1 x64. WU is POS, plain and simple.

      There have been design issues with updating Windows for ages, never fixed. Even if you use dism.exe to slipstream an offline install.wim image, when you go over ~80 updates, the whole thing slows down to a crawl.

    • #45732

      I have my setting Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them.

      For me there are 3 scenarios:

      1) I start up the pc, go to Windows Update right away and press the Look for updates-button now. If I do this, it can take up to many, many minutes before a list of updates is presented. this is the scenario I usually follow the first time I start the pc after Patch Tuesday.

      2) I start up de pc and do all sorts of stuff and then take a look at Windows update. It then has searched for itself and has a list of updates I might want. It does this searching considerably faster than scenario 1

      3) I start up the pc and do all sorts of stuff and then take a look at Windows update. It presents me with an orange warning shield that I must look for updates. This has not happened in a while, so I am not sure if the searching in this scenario takes little or a lot time, sorry.

      So it does not always look for itself although my setting allows me. When it does look for itself, it is faster than when I search.

    • #45733

      This is the theory and it probably resolves the issue for some people. Unfortunately, this update has been superseded 3 times already by KB3112343 which you already mentioned but also by KB3135445 and KB3138612. If any of the later updates is installed, then you cannot install/reinstall the one that you mentioned KB3102810. Except for KB3135445, all other Windows Update client updates are flagged as Important and as such ‘mandatory’according to Microsoft.
      Which one is the best update to install then?

    • #45734

      So KB3035583 comes in two different versions as well, as the 15 versions or so of KB2952664 were not enough to cause headaches. What a mess!

    • #45735

      Now THAT is strange. If it bugs you enough, you might try posting on the Microsoft Answers forum.

    • #45736

      The problem described by Woody (and experienced by me for several months now) is
      a pure CPU loop (in an svchost process), so it cannot be a network/server issue.

      There are a number of items in the internet describing this problem as a loop at
      wuaueng.dll!CUpdatesToPruneList::AddSupersedenceInfoIfNeeded (5 hits in Google).

    • #45737

      Updates are generally notified on both my machines (Windows 7 64 bit home) within a few minutes of switching them on (I turn them off at night and when I go out of the house), and when downloading the updates it can stick at 0% for anything between a few seconds and 20 minutes or so. Once started, downloading and installation are very quick.

      The delay sometimes experienced in starting the download has been an issue for a year or so, and I have personally put it down to a reduction in server availability as hardware has probably been switched over to Windows 10. However, that is pure speculation on my part.

    • #45738

      I have two WIN7 machines. One is a “white box” desktop, and the other an old Dell 1420 laptop. The desktop updates promptly, while the laptop behaves much as people have described. I noticed it a few months ago, and have just taken to starting the update process in the morning, and checking in a couple of hours. Once I have selected the items to download, it may take another hour or more to do so. So what takes a few minutes for the desktop can require half a day or more for the Dell. Fortunately, it is a seldom used backup to a newer laptop, so it can waste all the time it wants.

    • #45739

      For several months now, every patch Tuesday Windows Update on my Vista box takes about an hour to search for results. I typically apply my patches one-per-day and I have noticed that after installing any update involving kernel-mode drivers, Windows update returns to normal.

    • #45740

      I have all the boxes ticked in Updates, but have updates disabled, so I can check them myself. This can take up to 20 minutes before I see what’s available.

      Just found something interesting. If I go to “Installed Updates” and let the computer search and display what’s installed, checking for new updates drops to 2 minutes.

      Tried it on my laptop, which took forever to check them normally, and it only took 5 minutes.

      Maybe loading the installed updates list is doing a lot of the work beforehand?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #45741

      Is it something to discourage “taking control” maybe?

      The concept being, “if you make a thing irritating to do, people will make alternate choices. Choices that benefit Microsoft’s agenda to change the mindset of the customer base.”

      Rememeber when thinking such things was considered outrageous?

      Nowadays Marketing is about defining “a new normal”.

      More discussion on this issue, and the one about updates without confirmation, can be seen here:



    • #45742

      I am using Windows 7 64-bit Pro, and I too have seen Windows Update take a very long time. After reading the comments in this thread, I did the following:

      1. Used jwoods suggestion for defragmenting DataStore.edb in administrative mode.

      2. Reviewed my Installed Updates per Grahan’s suggestion, and confirmed that I have both KB312810 and KB3112343 installed.

      Then I did a check for updates in Windows Update. I took less than 4 minutes to complete. Not bad!

    • #45743

      What do you want to bet that if the updates selected for installation included KB2952664 and/or 3035583, the download would begin immediately?

    • #45744

      Seeing the same on Windows 7 here. It takes nearly an hour to get the update list, with high cpu for wuauserv (looks like one core maxed out) and about 100MB of ram, but very little disk or network use.

      My Win 8.1 pulls the update list down in under a minute.

    • #45745


      Yup, I agree with you…the “auto” search is the fastest look for updates. I too am set on “Check for updates but let me choose to download…A manual search takes much longer.

      My back of the envelope is that if your machine is left on all the time, the auto check kicks in every 18-24 hours.

    • #45746

      Thanks Bob. This is the technical detail which I was after when I started researching the issue. While I can see the same thing with Process Explorer, I never did a search before to see if there are any hits.
      There is a mention on one of the sites of one of the patches which reduced the memory utilization and it is the same thing that I noticed – this may be the February 2016 Windows Update client update or another one few months earlier.
      I think the issue goes back to the design and tends to amplify after few years when there are hundreds of patches and how they supersede each other needs to be verified by the process.
      There is no easy answer, only workarounds. The easiest of them all may be to leave the computer on all the time which is not necessary a useful workaround for many users.

    • #45747

      I’ve not had a very satisfying experience when I’ve asked questions there in the past — but I’ll keep it in mind!

    • #45748

      I decided to try installing window updates again today. Past 2 days I was not successful. Before starting, I ran sfc /scannow to see if any system files were corrupt. It did find and fix several files. I attempted to open the CBS.log file to find out what files were fixed but access was denied. After running sfc, window updates is still slow to download but is not taking nearly as long as it did. I forgot to mention this laptop is a new Window 7 professional 64-bit pc.

    • #45749

      Try to find someplace where Susan Bradley or PA Bear are answering questions.

    • #45750

      This behavior just started on one of my machines two days ago, after I installed the last batch of updates. Win 7 Pro SP1, single core, pretty much up to date except for a few Win10 updates. Normally, after I start it and log in, Windows Update takes 10-15 minutes to check for updates, consuming 100% CPU, and then the CPU goes down to normal levels. But since the last updates, CPU stays at 100% for hours — I actually haven’t seen it drop yet.

      My other machine is Win 7 Starter SP1, and it’s fine. Updated more or less the same way, except for machine-specific updates.

    • #45751

      I almost forgot this one which can create issues: Virus scanning recommendations for Enterprise computers that are running currently supported versions of Windows – check only the relevant section as it applies to home users not only enterprises https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/kb/822158
      What is hard to understand is why Microsoft does not apply the useful exclusions by default to their own anti-malware products.

    • #45752

      I had the same problem, 2 hours to do the last update you ok’d. I thought it was something to do with Parrallels but I guess not.

      Microsoft is making me more and more anti Windows. Used to be a huge supporter but have been on OS X and Parralkels for the last 5 years

    • #45753

      well woody I’m thinking of upgrading some of my older Win7 machines to either Win8.1 (or Win10) about a year from now since the WU “forever” problem seem to happen only for Vista & Win7 OSes. It’s gonna continue to get worse from this point on.

      The DataStore.edb file stored in the C:WindowsSoftwareDistributionDataStore folder on my Win7 x64 computers has grown to 1Gb in size recently.

    • #45754

      Hi Woody. I read with interest your article “The Windows-Update-takes-forever problem.” In recent weeks I have done some Win7 OS reinstalls for people and I noticed something… When I set Windows for manual updates (to avoid getting Win10) it was at 0% for hours. I was very frustrated. I then download and ran the “Update Readiness Tool” thinking that might fix the issue, but it did not. I then ran the official MS Windows Update diagnostic tool, but that did not make a difference. My last resort (a hunch) was to change updates from manual to automatic and like magic the updates started to download. I couldn’t believe it! I agree something is fishy and deliberate. After all of that I then of course had to implement GWX Control Panel to get rid of the Windows 10 garbage I got due to the automatic download mode. Very frustrating and time consuming this whole thing was when it shouldn’t have been. In one reinstall case that might not be related I had very high CPU usage from “mscorsvw.exe” I remedied that issue with the following link…


      I never faced that “mscorsvw.exe” problem ever until the other day.

      I remember when Windows XP was at it’s support end and some time after that I had issues getting updates. Same thing, they took forever or failed. At the time I did some searching and found people facing the same suspicious download issues as I did. Keep up the great work and have a great weekend!

    • #45755

      Yikes! 🙂 Seriously, if you understand the limitations and problems with Win10, it’s a very good operating system – for me, anyway.

    • #45756

      I’m in the middle of re-building a Win7 system from scratch (my son’s classroom computer). It took overnight for the first run of Windows Update – that was just to find the updates. I went looking for the two key patches – KB3083710 and KB3102810- and couldn’t find them. I think that may be because I had Auto Update turned on, and the machine was working at 3:00 am, the magic installation witching hour. Anyway, it’s 5:00 am, and I’m at update 172 of 213, with 50 more coming up again on reboot. Looks like it’ll take this older machine a full 24 hours to get caught up.

      People like to say that Microsoft is doing this intentionally – making Win7 hard to maintain – to encourage people to use Win10. I would take a somewhat more charitable approach. I think MS is putting all of its resources into development that’s higher priority, to them. Windows 7 is yesterday’s news.

    • #45757

      The mscorsvw.exe issue has been around at least since .NET Framework 4.0 and all its successive replacements 4.5, 4.5.1, 4.5.2 and now 4.6.1 have been installed. It is all described in the article and it is triggered with every .NET Framework patch. This is by design and if you don’t want to wait for it to complete, you have already found the solution as per the article linked.
      I guarantee that this is not new behaviour and has nothing to do with Windows 10.

    • #45758

      The installations with a single CPU core seem to have difficulties with Windows Update and with the .NET Framework optimisation process. I noticed this long time ago and I don’t know if this was the case in the early days of Windows 7.
      For the VMs of today it seems that a configuration with at least 2 cores is almost mandatory to have a decent performance. I also found that the sweet spot for RAM for 64 bit installations to be at about 6 GB for most workloads and this applies to Windows 10 as well. Anything above is a bonus.

    • #45759

      Woody, I am tempted to do the test myself, but just in case if it is not already too late, I am wondering if excluding C:WindowsSoftwareDistributionDataStore from Windows Defender which runs automatically if no other antivirus is installed or from any other antivirus which may be installed would make a difference. The exclusion for Defender I think transfers to MSE as they use common keys in the Registry.
      Also the defragging of the database with esentutl as posted by other users could improve the behaviour, although for a new installation really should not be an issue.

    • #45760

      Trying to get the updates downloaded and installed at the present time is just about hopeless. I was able to get 2 done yesterday, and this morning it ‘s the same old thing. The updates will just not begin to download.

      We, who are having this problem, are being exposed to security vulnerabilities because we cannot obtain the fixes to protect our computers.

      MS is on my &*(&&^ LIST for sure. I will never forget!! 🙁

    • #45761

      I am the Admin for two Win 7 networks of 10 computers each. We don’t have any type of server, so each of the 20 computers must be updated individually. In addition I run a computer refurbishing program. We install Win 7 on all our computers and refurb about 120 computers/year. Therefore we do a LOT of updating.

      The two 10 computer networks require just the monthly updates, while all the refurb computers require roughly 220 updates that have been issued since SP1.

      I’m seeing the same thing on both the two networks and all the refurb computers. The time required to do Win 7 updates has increased dramatically in recent months. Most of the increase in time seems to be in the first half of the process, i.e. looking for which updates are required. The time required for this part of the process seems to have roughly tripled. Once I choose to install those updates, they seem to proceed at roughly the same pace that they have in the past.

    • #45762

      I’m going through the same thing right now, and it’s torturous. I’ve spent more than 24 hours on it so far.

    • #45763


      FWIW, the latest batch of Windows 7 security updates from 3/8/16 breaks my Windows Update:

      — KB3138910
      — KB3138962
      — KB3139398
      — KB3139852
      — KB3139914
      — KB3139940
      — KB3140410
      — KB3140735

      I’ve done about 20 reimages over the last 10 days, ever since getting this problem for the first time on Friday 3/11/16, when I first installed the batch of updates above.

      I’ve followed Ken Morley’s empirically developed instructions over on the MS community site (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-update/windows-update-remains-at-checking-for-updates/ff3c442e-79a6-40d3-ac35-29e130cebef1), and I’ve narrowed down the problem to this latest batch of Windows 7 security updates.

      I haven’t read through the documentation to see exactly which files these affect, but imagine I wouldn’t be able to figure out what the problem was anyway.

      I’m going to keep researching to see if other updates also cause the problem.

    • #45764

      I’ve just done a fair bit more testing…

      Through “divide and conquer” techniques and a LOT of waiting, I have isolated the current update that resolves the long CPU loop delay: Security update KB3139852. Note that this updates Win32k.sys.

      The update to the Windows Update process itself, KB3138612 seems to only resolve the CPU loop delay after selecting updates.


    • #45765

      Yup, seeing the same thing.

      I recently rebuilt some wiped older office desktops for resale(still very decent 4-core PCs) and after initially using the WSUS Offline tool (http://www.wsusoffline.net/) to get the 7 installs mostly up to date, then had them go to Windows Update for the current month, and it’s painful to watch, even on a high speed corporate connection. 2 hours plus when the constellations are aligned and optimal.

      Call me cynical, but I think they just added a slowdown loop into the routine to make it seem like Windows 7 is sooooo slow and should be replaced.

    • #45766

      Yes, I did say “In one reinstall case that might not be related I had very high CPU usage from “mscorsvw.exe” I didn’t feel it was related, but I wanted to mention it. I did so because I’ve honestly never experienced that issue before and I have done countless OS reinstalls over the years. The CPU on that particular laptop was at 100% most of the time in this recent situation. It was really making things a drag.

    • #45767

      Keep us posted.

    • #45768


      From Susan Bradley 2016-03-17

      To anyone impacted by this – I need your help. If you are an Enterprise
      customer with a TAM please email them and express your opinion that
      Older patches that are now superseded for Windows 7 need to be expired
      off the WU/MU servers as this is the root cause of all of this.

      (this is not the first time, the root cause is very well known.)

      For anyone else willing to be a sacrificial case… would anyone be
      willing to work with me to open a support case to ensure that we get a
      tracking number in front of Microsoft?

      For those of you that are Microsoft partners – please post your “I’m
      seeing this too” to this post please:


    • #45769

      Paul, it is in fact related because it is caused by Windows Update even if the root cause is different than the other known behaviour of svchost.exe. It is a very good thing that you mentioned it and the solution too to clarify it for all those who follow this thread and may not get so much into the technical details.

    • #45770

      It is interesting to know and I will test this eventually. A lot of people on the Internet swear that their solution was related to KB3102810. I am currently reproducing the issue and I did not test any of the proposed solutions, other that disabling antivirus/adding exclusions for the database and its transaction logs which did not change anything, although I would say it is good practice.
      Please see the other post where I only relayed a post from Susan Bradley and this is consistent with my previous research, although I have not tested it. In essence, svchost.exe is calculating the supersedence of the patches in memory while it appears to do nothing to install only those which are current. Due to the large number of them, the calculation time is large accordingly. At least this is the theory behind it.

    • #45771

      Since I hadn’t installed this month’s updates yet I thought it might be a good test to install just these two updates by themselves and then see how long it took to get the others. This did not turn out well for me and hopefully what happened to me doesn’t happen to others!

      After the updates completed the screen came up showing they had successfully installed and a restart was required, so I clicked the Restart button on the update panel as usual. Normally you would then see the screen with the blue background showing the percentage of installation completed with the “Don’t turn off your computer” warning before it actually restarts. That didn’t happen this time… it restarted immediately after clicking Restart.

      After it restarted the screen came up for configuring your computer with the Please wait – Don’t turn off your computer warning and it just sat there, and sat there, and sat there. No percentage of completion ever appeared. The little dots were moving and the progress circle was spinning so I know the system wasn’t “frozen”.

      After 35 minutes of watching “please wait” I manually powered the system off, waited a couple minutes and powered it back on again to see “Failure configuring Windows updates – reverting…” followed by the login screen that looked like it might have been in Safe Mode (the login panel itself was quite large).

      Instead of entering my password to log in I gave it another restart and the login panel looked normal this time, but after entering my password it took quite some time for the Desktop to appear, far longer than usual. The update History shows both updates failed and after manually checking for updates they’re both available in the pending update list again.

      Before I attempt installing these updates again I think it’s time to follow the advice in another recent thread here at Woody’s and create a full system image since I haven’t done that in a couple months.

      Again, I hope this was just a fluke here and nobody else encounters this problem. This is the first time in the almost eight years that I’ve had this system for a Windows update to fail and according to the Installed update list there’s 587 of them in here.

    • #45772


      We have xx telling us that all of the March updates breaks his Windows Update. No sooner do we read that post, we have Noel Carboni telling us that KB3139852 –solves– the CPU delay issue.

      Noel has been reliable in his postings in the past whereas I have no recall of xx’s previous input here.

      Thoughts on this really conflicting info? Thanks.

    • #45773

      No disrespect intended to xx and his post/information.

    • #45774

      I have exoerienced this multi-hours delay on several computers.

      I am now using wsusoffline to prepare a usb disk with folders of win7 and office updates.

      I have created a exlude file list in the client/d folder

      This is much faster than waiting for the update control panel.

      I used to slipstream into Win7 using ntlite the updates obtained with Windows-updates-downloader, but I will no longer spend thta much time trying to get the windows I paid for behave as I expect.

      The missus is (at last) getting a Mac next week

    • #45775

      Thank you, Noel! After I manually applied KBKB3139852 (which required me to stop the Windows Update service first) and rebooted, the update check took about 5 minutes and worked normally. Previously, it had been stuck on “checking for updates” for over 8 hours on this W7HP-64 laptop.

    • #45776

      Would it be possible for someone to do performance profiling with debugging symbols on windows update? Profile it in two branches, one with microsoft updates enabled, the other with just windows updates.

      Profile “checking for updates for the first time”, then install updates “one month at a time” starting with the oldest non-superseded updates and moving to present, checking and re-profiling “checking for updates” between each group installed (allowing window to finish whatever offline work it wants before the next group). Optional updates to windows should be included, but not skype, defender, or silverlight (no-antivirus needs to be installed, win defender disabled too)

      The following don’t need installed for the purpose of this test:

    • #45777

      I did the test in a controlled environment using WSUS and removing all superseded updates and I can confirm what Susan Bradley says in her post. The update mechanism works instantly with superseded updates taken out of the picture, which proves that various Windows Update Agent patches released later, while useful as they use less memory, are only workarounds to the lack of maintenance on the Windows Update site.
      Unfortunately, until Microsoft cleans up their WU site, I am afraid that there is not much that can be done. It is probably a lack of interest in maintaining Windows 7 in top shape and not a ‘conspiracy’ to upgrade to Windows 10 as suggested in various places.
      The next best thing in the absence of a WSUS server is probably http://www.wsusoffline.net
      This tool was not tested by me but various reviews seem to be favourable – see Michael’s post above as well.

    • #45778

      All are welcome to comment, as long as they follow proper decorum. I don’t approve (or disapprove) of any advice given. Life’s too short!

    • #45779

      Has anyone found anything wrong with Update KB3141092 and KB3092627? As they are classified as an “Update for Windows”, which seems to be the ones we need to be most cautious about vs the “Security Updates” for W7 or W8. But it also seems that even some of them labeled as being Security have been a hoax too. Both came thru the end of Feb., 2016.

    • #45780

      Why were we good April of 2015 and bad May and onwards then? October update to windows update did fix the WU needs 2.5GB of ram problem, but what caused that? Why does a clean install of Win7 today malfucntion checking for updates, whereas before it did not? Something changed on microsoft’s end…

      Also I notice that if you have no updates installed checking for updates is fast, also if you have a small number of updates left to install it is fast, anywhere inbetween…

    • #45781

      Hi,ch100. I was able to install KB3102810, as I had hidden it and was able to restore it.

      I guees that’s why it worked for me !

    • #45782

      If they aren’t checked, ignore them.

    • #45783

      It was explained by Susan Bradley on the Patch Management list on 2016-03-17 and verified and confirmed by me few days ago – see my replies above. It has to do with a larger and larger number of ‘superseded’ updates and the WU Client trying to calculate how to install only the most current updates. This is happening in memory using large CPU cycles in the process. Only the result at the end of the process which can take hours is written on disk in the Windows Update log and is followed by downloading and installing the updates.
      If Microsoft would expire/pull the obsolete updates, then the issue would be resolved, but this would create few problems with installations requiring older updates without installing newer updates I suppose and this is why Microsoft is not actively removing all the old ones.
      The October 2015 update tweaked the WU Client to consume a lot less RAM but not less CPU. It does not and cannot resolve the root cause of the issue.
      However, with a system fully patched, including the unchecked Optional updates, the process would behave normally. The reason why the Optional (and Recommended) updates are needed for this to happen is that Microsoft has blurred the differences between various types of updates and now Optional updates can supersede other types of updates which was not the case few months ago.
      The only update which I believe should not be installed unless there is an intention to upgrade to Windows 10 is KB3035583. Everything else flagged Optional is left for the user to decide. But as we see, there are consequences. This is even more the case for the ‘Recommended’class of updates.
      Hiding updates actually creates more problems and I think that if certain updates are not desired to be installed, they should be left visible as they are part of the calculations done by the WU Client.
      We don’t do Automatic Updates, do we?
      I think this has been sorted long time ago 🙂

    • #45784

      Thanks, Noel. I went ahead and installed both of those updates, and everything seems to be working again.

    • #45785

      Of cause it is possible to change the code in the Windows Update engine to skip superseded updates, without making those updates unavailable for those of us trying desperately to avoid booby-trapped updates (a major theme on this site).

      It’s a simple matter of doing the algorithms correctly instead of pointlessly doing the equivalent of a bubble-sort or some other simple-minded algorithm. One way would be to look in the meta-data for a “supercedes” value (already present in some of the human-readable lists published by Microsoft), as follows: 1. Index the list of all available updates by number, considering only updates for products on this machine. A basic hash algorithm (see Knuth) is recommended. 2. Now any relevant update number reference can be looked up almost instantly. 3. For each update chosen by the user, walk the linked list of superseded updates (chosen update 1234567 supersedes 1123456, which supersedes 1023456 etc.) and strike those from the list to download/install. Finally reorder the much shorter result list according to any install before/after/alone requirements. Job done. Even works for updates that are needed only for their install actions (such as MRT or the time zone updates).

      Of cause this is not going to happen because no one informed enough to care trusts updates to the update engine to be adware-free anymore.

    • #45786

      Windows 7 Updates have had issues since the day it was released. Unless you have a particular software which can not run on Windows 10 it is pointless to stay with Windows 7. It already has one foot in the grave.

    • #45787

      This changed suddenly in May of 2015, I don’t think enough changed with supersedence that month (or even since then) to cause this radical chance in performace.

      Why did a clean install of Windows 7(x64) with only windows updates enabled (no microsoft update) take less than 4 minutes to check for updates, then install two-thirds of the updates and then take exactly 20 minutes (give or take 15 seconds) to re-check for new updates (each of 7 times tested)?

      I think microsoft was pre-calculating something on the server side to enanhance permanence and now suddenly they can’t be bothered and dumped it to a client site calculation.

      New client side code uses bubble sort class functions because that’s all the single intern in charge of everything windows 7 could manage.

    • #45788

      Not sure that I’d agree with that assessment. During my school days, my friends told me the same thing about my Volkswagen…. and it served me well almost forever, to a first approximation.

    • #45789

      Just posted some more research on the MS forum (since that’s the first one I started following). Cliff’s Notes is that some “Security Updates for Windows 7” updates break WU and some don’t, going back to 2014. The “Security Updates for .NET 3.5.1 on x86”, even the most recent ones, don’t. Anyone have any thoughts? (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-update/windows-update-remains-at-checking-for-updates/ff3c442e-79a6-40d3-ac35-29e130cebef1?page=14, I’m also posting as “xx” there)

    • #45790

      Good stuff! I hope the folks at MS are following along — if they don’t know it already.

    • #45791

      Oh man…well, I’ve established that on my machine, KB3139852 actually CAUSES the eternal CPU loop. I installed it individually, restarted, and was stuck in eternal search. I then uninstalled it, restarted, and updates popped up within a few minutes.

    • #45792

      Bob, what I can tell is that after doing full Windows Update including Recommended and Optional updates, the WU/MU scan is very quick, as expected – still few minutes. Optional updates may not be essential as there are less than 10 in total but Recommended updates supersede a lot of the Important updates and probably contribute to the slow response if they are not installed.
      The first scan online with no updates installed but SP1 takes few hours for me. And it takes less and less after installing more and more updates.
      If I use WSUS instead, I can see the supersedence and decline the superseded updates upfront for the purpose of testing, although this may not necessary be the best practice for a regular environment.
      Using the online WU/MU, one cannot see the superseded updates in the scanned list, unless declining the later updates. For the purpose of testing, all of the first batch of scanned updates can be hidden and at the next scan the next level of updates – many superseded would be visible. And this can be repeated until there is nothing left on the server. Obviously not all updates are superseded and many are completely standalone neither superseding nor being superseded.
      I think none of us has enough visibility of the code running on the client and on the WU/MU servers so we can only guess and report here based on our own experience.

    • #45793

      Thanks, Noel! Security update KB3139852 fixed it for me on 2 Windows 7 boxes.

    • #45794

      Just wanted to follow up and say that, so far, my IE11 is not doing this, this month.

      It is currently 1.5 weeks before the next Patch Tuesday, which has been around the time of month in the prior 3 months that the IE11 misbehavior I described in the comment above has started up for me.

      I haven’t done a Windows Update since a few days before the last Patch Tuesday, and I’ll do my next Windows Update (+ installation of “safe” new updates) a few days before this coming Patch Tuesday.

      If my IE11 starts acting up again before my next run of Windows Update, I’ll return here to leave a comment. If I don’t leave a further comment, it will mean that this strange IE11 behavior has not recurred.

    • #45795

      Better one foot in than windows 10 trying to use a square wheel, a triangular wheel, a “land propeller”, and a mutated windows 8 shaped hand-foot to crawl out of the grave.

      Windows 10:
      Give me control of my windows updates. (control doesn’t mean they are installed pending a reboot, that happens at a better time, they install when I am good and ready)
      Give me my control panels back.
      Get rid of edge (IE 11 in 64-bit Appcontainer based enhanced protected mode worked better).
      Bring the normal action center back. (whatever this new thing “action center” is, it doesn’t do anything useful)
      I didn’t need tiles in windows 8.x, I don’t need tiles now.
      Almost all the tiles can go away.

      I’m ready to run Windows 8.1 rather than windows 10, but I’d rather run 7 SP2 than anything.

    • #45796

      I have two WIN7 machines. One is a “white box” desktop, and the other an old Dell 1420 laptop. The desktop updates promptly, while the laptop behaves much as people have described. I noticed it a few months ago, and have just taken to starting the update process in the morning, and checking in a couple of hours. Once I have selected the items to download, it may take another hour or more to do so. So what takes a few minutes for the desktop can require half a day or more for the Dell. Fortunately, it is a seldom used backup to a newer laptop, so it can waste all the time it wants.

    • #45797

      Performed a Factory reset, win 7 acer laptop AMD 2ghz dual core 4gb ram experienced these symptoms specifically after the service pack 1 install. Before service pack 1, checking for updates took around 10-15 minutes. As a constant resource monitor observer, I got the Exact symptoms as described by Woody, and I tried the factory reset twice and duplicated it. I did not get the update listing for 1.5 days. The cpu hovered at 50% and the ram at 70% until until it finished ‘checking for updates’. I received 157 important windows updates and 79 optional windows updates. My windows load is barebones with no office or bloatware. Thanks for what you do and those that contribute.

    • #45798

      Windows update stalled, trusted installer busy & MS Antimalware (all) taking up a cpu or more! I’ve tried every google search solution. Either I have a virus or MS have drama with Win7 updates. I like Win10 but it doesn’t support my hardware 100%. Until then, Win7 needs support from MS – not this rubbish. PS. After 2 days, waiting, I just got a few (11) updates offered published 12 April 2016. Something must be wrong at the other end (MS?).

    • #45799

      Downloaded and installed KB3102810 msu file on Microsoft Website (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3102810). Rebooted. Started a Windows Update check.

      Now %windir%SoftwareDistributionDownload starts to be populated.

      This fixed the “takes-forever problem” for me (Fresh install of Windows 7 SP1 x86 on single cored Pentium M)

    • #45800

      they want you to move to windows 10 or buy a new computer after your cpu breaks

    • #45801

      Many painful hours later….I’ve discovered that the following updates break my Windows Update (as of the latest patch Tuesday on 4/12/16):

      – KB3145739 – remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted document or visits a webpage that contains specially crafted embedded fonts
      – KB3139852 – Elevation of privileges (run code in kernal mode), but requires valid local logon
      — no longer appears in WU as of 4/12/16
      – KB3109094 – Remote code execution risk because of malicious fonts on webpages or in documents; also, elevation of privileges ((run code in kernal mode), but requires valid local logon
      – KB3087039 – Remote code execution risk because of malicious OpenType fonts on webpages or in documents
      – KB3078601 – Remote code execution risk because of malicious OpenType fonts on webpages or in documents
      – KB2993651 – Elevation of privileges, but requires valid local logon (this shows up as just an “Update” in Add/Remove Programs, but is listed as a “Security Update” in Windows Update)
      – KB2973201 – Elevation of privileges through on-screen keyboard

      Noticing that most of them deal with the malicious fonts issue.

    • #45802

      We’re having this issue now, too. We are using Windows 7 Enterprise x64. This is becoming a huge problem.

      We actually have machines where there is a ton of CPU and disk usage even if automatic updates are turned off. Only entirely disabling the Windows Update service “fixes” the issue, but of course we can’t keep the service disabled on 4,000 devices.

    • #45803

      I’m seeing this too!

    • #45804

      There shouldn’t be any problem on Windows 7 Enterprise if all patches up to date are installed. On Enterprise version, KB3035583 is not offered anywhere, but as cautionary measure you may consider implementing the Group Policy as per https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/kb/3080351

      I am suggesting not using GWX Control Panel on Windows 7 Enterprise as this tool is targetted to Home User installations, although technically it should be fine.

      If you need to keep Windows Update service disabled on a large number of machines, there is always a Group Policy available to set the state of the services. However I would suggest leaving the service alone and use the normal configuration as suitable.

    • #45805

      I have been waiting now for 18 hours for updates on new windows 7 installed. I have 3 computers that say updating for ever some are SSD and Some are hdd. Its now 6/1/2016 still waiting.

    • #45806

      Punishment, failure to act as directed results in disc scrubbing inevitable drive failure, and premature hardware sales. Win Win Win from M$’s POV 😉

    • #45807

      Wednesday I attempted to allow WU to install the two Office updates released this week on Win 7 Pro x64, patched up to date except for 14 Windows updates I’ve chosen to hide. About four hours after I told it to install, the green bar had stalled at about 5% done. When I finally shut down, I finally killed the install of 1 of 2 updates about 3 hours after shutdown. All of the patches I’ve seen mentioned as improving the update process are installed, including KB3102810. Upgrade to 10 is not feasible, as AMD has no intention of writing a Win 10 driver for the ATI graphics card in my Dell laptop, and it is not on Dell’s list of computers which are suitable for upgrade. I have had to run the WU repair utility to unscheduled these two patches. Has anyone else had a similar experience, that Win Update is suddenly stalling out like this? I’ve never had it so bad before.

    • #45808

      This weekend I wrote up an article with my findings that I will be posting on my website. In short, there is very little anyone can do to fix the situation. Here are the things to understand:

      1) The problems with Windows Update being slow don’t happen once the system has been fully patched – unless Windows Updates is messed up.

      2) None of the tricks (like loading 3102810 manually) do anything to improve the situation WITH A FAST MACHINE. That is, if you have a multicore CPU that runs at 3Ghz or above and is modern – not an older Core 2 or something – then you have all the power needed to run Windows Update as fast as possible.

      3) With a machine with a slow CPU you can load KB3138612 and speed up processing.

      4) You CANNOT speed up update processing faster than about 5 hours no matter what you throw at it UNLESS you run a controlled domain with a WSUS server on it.

      5) Breaking out of Windows Updates while it is building the initial supersedence list will trash your Windows Update database and cause many odd and strange and weird problems later on with Windows Updates. (such as updates taking forever to install or not installing with funny error messages)

      6) The progress bar has no relationship to what is actually going on. If it is not moving that means nothing.

      7) MS Office updates are probably faster just downloaded and manually installed.

      For my reference SLOW machine, a full update cycle from a virgin Win 7 64 bit SP1 to fully patched took 24 HOURS to build an update list of patches. This is normal, now.

      If you don’t have the patience of a Drakh to allow a machine to sit apparently doing nothing for days – you should set updates to install in the background and refrain from touching anything.

      Doing it the by-the-book slow way – allowing Windows all the time it needs to download and install updates – pays dividends later.

    • #45809


    • #45810

      @Ted Mittelstaedt
      Very much in line with my experience and research.
      Few mentions here. I think Core Duo is not such a bad CPU, but I haven’t used one recently. I had a Dell machine with Core Duo running Windows 7 in the earlier days and was good enough for normal use. I currently use only i7 CPUs and trying to avoid AMD for performance reasons, but the i7 stays very much unused. It tends to run hot on Windows 10 due to Core Parking being disabled out of the box. CPU tuning for Windows 10 was presented here few months ago.
      Tweaking Windows Update to provide a better experience by preferring certain patches early in the process seems to provide inconsistent results, but worth trying.
      Also in relation to Office Updates installed manually, I think it is too much trouble in doing so. There are currently about 100 updates required on a clean Office 2013 Pro installation, at least according to Microsoft Update. Based on my current experience with Office 2013, see the other recent post for details, there are 2 possible strategies.
      One is not to patch beyond Service Packs and avoid Office Update problems. In such a case, regular scanning should be done only against Windows Update and not Microsoft Update, unless there is an intention to patch Office.
      The other strategy for Office is to keep it as clean as possible and uninstall superseded updates once the new ones are released and installed, but again this require too much trouble, exactly like for a manual installation.
      I don’t really have a clear point of view at this stage as I found recently that the supersedence for Office is messed up and the patching, even when complete, might not mean what is expected from it.
      Unlike Office, although there are very few inconsistencies in the supersedence of Windows updates, for most part it is maintained correctly and the few issues are either unintended bugs or related to add-on products like .NET Framework 4.x. Unlike Office, I think Windows is mandatory to be patched as close as possible to the current levels.

    • #45811

      Yea, ‘what you paid for sucked when you bought it, so you should give them more money (and ignore the fact that windows update has slowed down by a factor of 100 in the last 3 months). Yea, my ms rep couldn’t have said it better.

    • #45812

      Yea, I tried that and it comes up ‘wiundows standalone installer, searching for updates on this computer’ and then sits there for hours…

    • #45813

      3161608 ~ worked like a charm. Went from 3-8 hour update installations to 3 minute to 15 minute installations.

      Thanks for the tip

      (Running Windows 7 Pro)

    • #45814

      IF waiting doesn’t solve our problem then it’s the windows update service wuaserv bug.It will cause windows update to keep checking for updates and cause svchost.exe to use all cpu/memory.

      But the good new is that MS fixed it in march 2016.Here is the patch and instructions : http://abopc.blogspot.com/2016/05/windows-update-memory-leaksolved.html

      Good Luck!

    • #45815

      The only problem I’ve ever had with Win 7 is the Updates issue at least with the initial update on install. I don’t know what the problem is but it takes hours just to get started and a couple of days to finish. Other than that Win 7 is no frills no thrills but totally reliable unlike Win 10. I have 10 on a couple of machines until I decided to a clean install(not upgrade) on one of my machines. I found out I could do that before the July 29 cutoff date without having to put out any money. I loaded their iso on a thumb drive and installed from that. Now my system doesn’t sleep, hibernate or shutdown properly. There’s no waking up from sleep and the only way to get the fans to stop on the so called sleep(actually death) is to press the power button and just power the system down. I’ve checked all over apparently it’s a pretty common problem. If you have Win 10 consider yourself a beta tester.

    • #45816

      This comment is very helpful.

      Reboot the computer.
      Install KB3102810.
      Reboot the computer.

    • #45817

      how about installing a premade pack from one of the sites out there ?


    • #45818

      Follow-up to previous comment:
      I noticed this in the comments section:

      Translated from German;

      Look please in 744 Post # – necessarily make before installing the Windows updates to “Never”.
      After installation (reboot) Windows updates can be reactivated.


    • #45819


      “4) You CANNOT speed up update processing faster than about 5 hours no matter what you throw at it UNLESS you run a controlled domain with a WSUS server on it.”

      With all due respect, that’s just nonsense.

    • #45820

      Following the regular procedure, it can take even longer than 5 hours. However, what a WSUS administrator does is to make a selection and propose only the top of the chain updates, avoiding the supersedence calcualtions. The same strategy can be applied manually with few selected updates like those here http://wu.krelay.de/en applied first in which case it should not take too long.

    • #45821


      Is there a http://www.drwindows.de update site in English ala wu.krelay.de/en?


    • #45822

      I’m having the same problem. I decided to select 3 very small upates <1MB total. It's now been downloading for over 8 hours. I use Google Fiber, so I know it is not the bandwidth on my end. I suspect this is MS getting back at me for staying on Windows 7.

    • #45823

      Food for thought, with the end of the line for Windows 10 updates, could the servers be swamped
      Good Chance if the servers are Windows and Not linux

    • #45824

      Well ,, with 38 Years at this and often trying to help before my Old age does it`s thing: I have decided to part with knowledge and am often booted Because I`m either 100% accurate or they Just don`t give a hoot.

      I have 33 Laptops and soon 50. With my Advanced Windows 7 Operating System Overlaying Windows 7 Professional. See I love what I do and go all the way Back to Paul G.Allen and Bill before Getting Hired at IBM and deciding to stick with my Company and Has always well ie; Computer Interface Systems ®™ First

      Each of the Laptops I re-Furbish/re-build have most all if not ALL updates, reject GWX and will service Business` & all other wanting a snappy up to date version of Windows 7 Professional. This one I`m using has 328 Windows Updates and NO Device Drivers, excepting the Native born Toshiba drivers that also are up to date.

      So I finally decided to let Ultimate Unicorn, WOODY if he likes and others SOLVE their own mysteries and Greatly enjoy my own Talent of over 38 years.

      I`m not knocking Woody or anyone Just saying that there are many ways to get across the bridge and EACH to his or her own way.

      I apologize to Woody for severely believing he might like to know my GWX procedure. I intend to sit back on the 29th of this month and LITERALLY wait to see if Microsoft crashes as the turn BILLIONS of computers WORLDWIDE to their ultimate control. WHO says they know best for the everyday user. Even if I was a part of the onset, I believe that I am in control of all my Laptops and actually am.

      Now to AGREE with the writers and feel free to have my Computers free to update on their own due to my assets of control; Do use this stand alone as a precursor to assist in achieving maximum update capabilities.

      I also use three programs I developed to accomplish three goals.

      2. AutoDos ,, to get you into dos mode with color and time for those who understand and work in the NATIVE environment.

      3. AutoForceShutown ,, to Force shutdown and NOT install updates, even though you see the Shield that holds you hostage and updates Windows without your permission

      4. AutoResetUpdates ,, Resetting the Catalog Directory for Updates, then Hiding those pesky GWX on the next round allowing me to achieve that maximum score of 328 now known updates, Rejecting GWX on shutdown & restart, never fearing that those 20 Researched GWX known to date will ever effect my 110 mbp speeds.

      No.1 The best for Last:
      My GWX Removal Tool assurance that I will make it to the 29th and prevent Microsoft`s intrusion of 37,673 Reports that they are unable to do SQWAT with my 33 Laptops with Windows 7 Advanced OS By Dj Ziggy.42o ©™ ( useable thru 2022 ) perhaps the life of the Laptops I rebuild. (Toshiba Satellite A505 series)

      Can`t wait till Friday. Let`s see Microsoft TAKE over your Planet.

      Computer Interface Systems ®™ First
      Cisf©™ Rjsii

      Thanks Woody. I hope you will allow this Opinion

    • #45825

      I always allow opinions – unless they’re intended to overthrow the government, and I’m thinking about changing my policy on that one. 🙂

      I do, however, reserve the right to edit for offensive language (I get to decide what’s offensive) and to prevent people from shooting themselves in the foot.

    • #45826

      I can confirm that this worked for me, too. Thanks!

    • #45827

      Given MS’s high-handed ways of trying to FORCE every one into their way I believe you are right in feeling that those extreme delays are intentional. Knowing MS’s track record I felt that even before I read your comments.

    • #45828

      I’m located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

      I have Win7 installed as well, and last night I clicked “search for updates” and some 9+ hours later it was still searching!

      Here is my Win-story in case somebody finds the information useful:

      Sometime last year the small icon for installing Win10 appeared on my task bar, and I kept getting prompts for installing. Around December I caved in, but only briefly (<24 hours) since I didn't like it. I used a "regret" function, which was part of the updating software instead of using a restore point. I also managed to disable – but not remove – the icon with prompts. The icon has since disappeared altogether without my doing.

      Reading online that some users experienced forced installs with Win10, I changed the settings for updates from automatic to "check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install". I can't recall the exact date, but it’s several months ago and I haven't gotten any notifications. This led me to try and search for updates manually, which apparently is a tiresome and resource-demanding task.

      I have changed the settings back to automatic updates, but so far it doesn't seem to make a difference.

      I give up… I'm going to leave it be and just hope not to run into any security issues.

    • #45829

      I have 2 desktops and 2 laptops here. One laptop is Windows 10 (my wife’s). That one checked for updates very quickly, I chose to install straight away, all done in a few minutes, as it should be. The other laptop and both desktops are on Windows 7. My desktop (W7pro) checked within a few minutes and found and installed 1 update, no problems, although slower than the W10 laptop. The other desktop (wife’s) took maybe 10 minutes to search, then I selected to download and install, and it’s been sitting trying to download the updates for a couple of hours now with zero progress. My laptop (W7pro) is even worse – several hours and it’s still checking for updates, let alone trying to download or install anything.

    • #45830

      I’ll have an article about that in InfoWorld tomorrow.

    • #45831

      It is interesting to note that as Windows XP aged, the same thing happened. Only with the older systems, it took 100% of the CPU power and unless you turned off Windows Update, you could not do anything else with the machine,,, for hours. So, is this just the companies way of stopping service? The bad part is that this is really stressing the machine, possibly burning up spots in memory. As some one mentioned earlier the fans run like crazy and feel the heat. If they really want to do this they should find a way to tie up the program without killing our machines. Of course if the machines die they we have to buy new ones with new operating systems. I guess the company gets what they want. My next machine will be a Mac, I think Lynx would be too time consuming for me. The operating systems have done this to me twice in two generations, so I am not excited about trying version 10 or 11. One thing that has worked at least once is to go to services and stop windows update, then BITS will go crazy downloading one or two of the updates that windows updates was suppose to be downloading while running in a loop. Services will show Windows Update as “stopping” but it never even completes the stopping process until the system is shut down. However watch the network activity and don’t shut down the machine until the download activity completes and activity goes to nothing or you won’t get the updates. Don’t tell the company as they may figure out how to stop even that.

    • #45832

      By the way, if you stop Windows Update and Bits completes the download, the updates will not happen when you shut down the machine but you should see them the next time you shut down the machine after startup or if installation is needed it will happen this time when you shut down. When you shut down after stopping Windows Update, the system just does not know the updates are there because Windows Update just didn’t complete.

    • #45833

      So you have to run out with wushowhide really, really fast?

      I’m guessing the wushowhide scan stops BITS. Do you happen to know if that’s the case?

    • #45834


    • #45835

      The w7SP1 update situation has deteriorated so much and at such a specific period over the last few months that we were asked to undertake some preliminary tests so a client can consider if this compromises their support contract. In summary we are finding that freshly installed W2K8R2SP1 server, being similar codebase, update frequency and KB numbers as W7Pro64SP1, took less than 10% of the time and processor load x time (hence energy) resources to find updates than freshly installed W764ProSP1. We also found the same performance differences using a local WSUS even when exactly the same updates are approved for both types of system therefore, at this time, it appears to be a ‘feature’ of the client-side update software. Interesting, we have also just found a pre-SP1 w7Pro system updates as quickly as W2K8R2SP1 though admittedly the number of updates found was small and included SP1 which, when selected isn’t actually delivered or installed even though updates says it is and removes it from the list ! We have witnessed processor loads which saturate continuously at either exactlty 25%, 50% and, in one case 99%, for many hours depending on the type of system and CPU which is an extraordinary cause of energy waste and cost (when considering clients with 1000’s of PC’s and servers) and will cause reduced lifespan to the CPU’s, cooling systems, UPS and other support systems. Notebooks are seen as particularly badly affected by overheating during this process as their cooling systems are often less effective than desktops.

    • #45836

      Fascinating. Thanks for posting!

    • #45837

      Apologies is only 24hrs since the last post but we’ve just finished testing the ‘fix’ posted by abbodi86 in your related thread ‘More Problems with Windows 7 update taking forever”. The post is:

      abbodi86 says:
      August 25, 2016 at 4:42 pm
      Installing KB3020369>KB3172605 is the only definitive solution for WU delay in Win7

      ..and are finding that it works – so far on every system we’ve tried !
      After setting WU to ‘never’, setting the WU task to ‘manual’, restarting, downloading and running the 2 manual updates, restarting, waiting for completion, opening WU, clicking ‘check for updates’, we found it takes just **6 minutes** to find (for example) 165 important and 69 optional updates on a W7Pro64SP1 PC which previously still hadn’t found it’s updates after 5 hours waiting at 50% CPU use.

      After finding the updates we follow our standard procedure: Select and install only important updates first in batches: All security updates first, then .net (use process explorer to know when these really are finished before continuing), then IE, then only important ‘updates’ and optional ‘updates’ from a list we have previously approved.
      All stages of this have worked without any significant delays after applying the ‘fix’ above, just like things were before a few months ago when w7 updates became a real problem.

      We will be testing this fix with WSUS over the following few days.

      Even though this is preliminary we are shocked that MS hasn’t posted this widely or found a way to urgently get it into the update process.

    • #45838

      Canadian Tech has an interesting approach – and I’m thrilled that it worked!

      It’s probably time for me to re-visit the issue, and the solution. It’s true that installing KB 3020369, then KB 3172605 is the most likely solution.

      Several of my objections have been resolved, it seems. 3020369 was triggering “Stage 3 of 3” reboot hangs


      but it looks like Microsoft fixed that in December 2015, when it quietly re-issued the patch.

      As you mention, KB 3172605 had problems


      But it’s been re-issued (the KB article is up to version 7.0), and the Intel WiFi bug has been fixed


      Yeah, looks like it’s time to recommend the switch. Thanks, everybody!

    • #45839

      Hi Woody, We’re Brits !

    • #45840


    • #45841

      I had problems with this for almost a year i think. Could not find solution anywhere, ended up creating scheduled task to kill windows update, everytime it started dragging my CPU down in a black hole. This ofcourse was not a optimal solution. Your linked solution fixed the update problem in 15 minutes, updates are now downloaded within a few minutes. Thank you so much. 🙂 Now my windows 7 can last a few more years, until microsoft make a proper Windows again. History: Windows95-Windows2000-WindowsXP-Windows7.

      Best Regards
      Thomas Sørensen.

    • #45842

      As long time linux user, I had to install windows 8.1 for some customer, and I was appalled that after 4 update sessions, and many reboots, there was a 5th update session with 236 updates, and it has taken over 4 hours to complete. Minimal disk access, just “installing update 229 of 236” on screen.
      I knew windows was inefficient, but I did not realize it was so bad.

    • #45843

      There is no such thing as tin foil hats in the microsoft universe, whatever shifty business you suspect them of being up to they either are, were, or will – as long as it’s physically possible.

    • #45844

      Seems my experience.
      I delayed upgrade of Asus G53SW til near the end of the free offer, then took it.
      The upGRADE took quite a while, didn’t care, one-time-effort.

      Now, however, we start the upDATE cycle. The first one took three days. Backlight on, screen black for 5 hours. Then Win10 logo, Then “Working on updates, 0% complete, Don’t turn off your PC. This will take a while”. Spent two hours at 0%. Spent hours, here and there, eventually finishing about 49 hours later, with a normal logon screen. I did not monitor machine, so can’t tell you how many times, if at all, it rebooted, or did anything else interesting (at 47 hours, was still updating; at 47 hours and 1 minute, it could have finished, but I didn’t notice until time marker 49 hours)

      Over _two_ days for a windows update (50 hours).
      Sucks, but hopefully never to be repeated. Lots of similar complaints on web, no solutions.

      In my case, router showed no significant net activity. Disk light showed no significant disk activity. Screen lights at normal intensity (even when screen is black); i.e., no screensaver. Power meter showed consumption at approx 50 watts (give or take a couple watts; normal minor activity consumption). Fan mostly on, moving warm air, which suggests CPU activity, but not strenuous.

      Sucks, but maybe one-and-done.

      No. Happened again, this week. 55 hours to a normal logon screen. And, when I logged on, it behaved poorly, some apps (like Chrome) would not start. Others, like MS Word, behaved “oddly”.
      So, shutdown and reboot. Oh, but wait, there is an Update-and-shutdown option in the Power-off list. Select it.

      Update starts right up. Oh well, perhaps it had a little more to finish from the first three days, earlier this week, but at least it seems to be running… 5%, 17%, 29%, … 48%, where it’s been for 6 hours, now (where, by the way, it spent 25 hours earlier this week).

      So, I’ve spent most of a work week without a computer (OK, using my backup, obviously), for the second, and third, apparently, time in a few months. I have no idea what the problem is, nor how to troubleshoot the real problem, much less how to fix it. I’ve wasted a chunk of the life of my monitor, a couple KW of electricity, time to research this problem, and have absolutely nothing to show for it.

      Who can afford a system this finicky? If I had spent the down time learning Ubuntu instead of trying to troubleshoot this, I’d be a solid Ubuntu user by now… 🙂

      Any advice?

    • #45845

      Ouch. What version are you using right now?

      (Best advice: Get a Chromebook.) 🙂

    • #45846

      Thanks for posting the interesting findings.
      Do you have comparable CPU and RAM resources on W2008R2 and W7 when performing the tests? There should be no significant differences with comparable resources. The other important configuration is to configure best performance for background processes on W7 as we are by far past the times when there was no multitasking and svchost is a background process.
      The fact is that with fully patched systems and in perfect order, there should be no delay, but with new installations, that becomes problematic unless using specific methods as it was discussed so much in detail here.
      With WSUS things are more under control, but still the updates need to be published in a certain sequence until the server/workstation catches up and becomes more up to date.

    • #45847

      “Any advice?”

      Use Ubuntu 🙂

    • #45848

      This is the official approach
      I am posting it just because you work at the server level and may need supporting official documentation.

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