You may have noticed that update checks on Windows 7 machines may take a long, long, long time to complete before any updates are displayed for download and installation.
Some users have reported that it took them days to get the initial list of updates displayed to them. That's unacceptable on several levels, but more importantly leaves the operating system open to attacks and issues for that period of time.
We talked about speeding up the Windows 7 update rollup already. While it may have resolved the issue for some, or at least dropped the time "checking for updates" is displayed to you when you run checks, it did not resolve the issue completely for many users.
Fix for slow "checking for updates" on Windows 7
The fix should not take longer than a couple of minutes. It involves downloading and installing an update for Windows 7. Once installed, update checks should not take longer than a couple of minutes tops.
I verified this on two PCs running Windows 7 which took ages to check for updates before installing the patch.
Here is what you need to do:
- Download the 32-bit or 64-bit version of KB3172605 to your Windows 7 machine, and install it.
- If you get a "not applicable to your computer" error, download and install KB3020369 instead: 32-bit version, 64-bit version.
Note that you need to download the 32-bit version if you run a 32-bit version of Windows 7, and the 64-bit version of the update if you run Windows 7 64-bit.
KB3172605 is the July 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.
KB3020369 the April 2015 servicing stack update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
You are asked to restart the PC after installing the patch on the system.
Run a check for updates after the PC comes back on. You can do so by tapping on the Windows-key, typing windows update, and hitting enter. You will notice that the check completes in record time on the system.
While there is no guarantee that this will remain the case for future update checks, it is refreshing to know that update checks won't take hours or even days to find updates any more on Windows 7 machines.
This was discovered by Woody Leonhard. I suggest you check out his website Ask Woody if you have not done so already, as it is a treasure trove for all things Windows.
Update: A slightly modified option came to light recently which involves adding required updates to the Windows 7 image.
It involves downloading the following patches from the Microsoft Update Catalog first:
- KB3020369 (April 2015 Servicing Stack Update)
- KB3125574 (April 2016 Convenience Update Rollup)
- KB3177467 (September 2016 SSU)
- KB3172605 (July 2016 Functional Update Rollup, 7C* package)
- KB3179573 (August 2016 FUR, 8C* package)
- KB2841134 (Internet Explorer 11, Optional)
- KB3185330 (October 2016 Monthly Quality Rollup, 10B’ package [contains September 2016 FUR, 9C* package])
Then perform the following operations:
- Expand the .MSU files to extract the .CAB file which will be used with DISM.
- Keep only the CABs, delete anything else.
- Mount the image.
- Use DISM to add packages to the Windows 7 image.