Newsletter Archives

  • Revisited: How to update an old copy of Win7

    Credit: David Stanley, Nanaimo, Canada

    Kevin Beaumont just tweeted:

    Barry Dorrans replied with a reference to this advice from @SwiftOnSecurity in April 2016:

    [REVISED] If updating fresh Win7, first download these, install, and reboot to make update install faster:


    What struck me is how @SwiftOnSecurity’s advice (from April 2016) differs from our AskWoody advice (Feb. 2017, as amended) from @CanadianTech at AKB 3172605, basically:

    3… 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).

    Can anybody out there reconcile the differences? Which method is best?

    I have a sneaky suspicion we’re going to see lots of Win7 (re-)installs this year.

  • The last word on the Win7 Update scan speedup problem

    I just got a scathing email from SC:

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

    Then I hit this Dell’s official article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Do I need to update the Windows Update client, KB 3138612?

    Short answer, no. I’ll probably change the recommendation when we back down from MS-DEFCON 2, and start slipping in the April Windows 7 security patches.

    Got a good question from AH, and it all boils down to this:

    – Does an up-to-date WUC currently increase the danger of MSFT being able to slip W10 in through the cat-flap or is it genuinely a benefit to the WU process?

    – If I decided that I wanted an up-to-date WUC, could I just install the latest KB and then all the preceding WUC updates would disappear from my hidden list?

    – Can I install multiple WUC updates in one go without causing problems, or would they have to be done one at a time with particular attention being paid to supersedence?

    I have the latest version of GWX Control Panel installed and monitoring as I type, and I am currently on hold, waiting for you to change the MS-Defcon status before I install diddly.

    I don’t know if the latest versions of the Windows Update program add any more snooping capabilities to Windows 7, but I highly doubt it. The problem is that we simply don’t know – and won’t ever know – what info Microsoft is starting to collect from Windows 7. Moreover, if they’re collecting more information (probably on behalf of other updates), I’m convinced they’re handling the information in accordance with commonly accepted privacy principals. You may or may not like, say, Google’s privacy record. But Microsoft certainly hasn’t done anything worse than Google. I think.

    If you want the latest Windows Update program, yep, you just install KB 3138612.

    Every indication I have at this point says that the settings controlled by GWX Control Panel have been respected, and will be respected. Thus, if you’ve run GWX Control Panel, you should be free from the blight of sneaky Windows 10 upgrades.

  • Win7 updates take hours – or days? Try this combination to fix it

    As reported here by EP, with ch100 and Noel Carboni.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Three obnoxious Win7/8.1 updates return, plus two warmed-over patches, KB 3138612 and 3138615

    KB 2952664, KB 2976978, KB 2977759, KB 3138612 and KB 3138615 all basically useless.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows