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Why is Windows 7 update taking so long?

Posted on 2016-08-09
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Last Modified: 2016-08-10
I experienced hard drive failure.  Installed a new hard drive and then Windows 7 and activated it with my license key.  The installation and activation went well.  However, when trying to do Windows updates for Windows 7, after 4 hours, it has not done anything?  What is the reason for this and also what can I do about it?
thanks,
capreol
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Question by:capreol
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Expert Comment

by:FOX
ID: 41749243
This seems to be an ongoing issue with Windows 7 now.  Download wsus offline updater, check off all the updates you want ex. Windows 7, Office, service packs, etc.  Once you install the updates with the offline updater you won't have this problem going forward when the workstation has to update itself.  

http://download.wsusoffline.net/

tutorial
ref link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXAOvbNJYyE
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by:rindi
ID: 41749303
First make sure SP1 is installed. The upgrade won't work without SP1. After that download and install a newer version of the update agent:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/949104

Then download and install the following KB and reboot after that:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3102810

Now the updates will take much less time, although it will still take long enough as there are many updates.
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 41749404
The initial upgrades even after SP1 can take many hours, even all day.  Once you get it caught up, it doesn't take so long.
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garycase earned 1000 total points
ID: 41749823
This has been an issue with Windows 7 for quite some time (at least the past year).    When you do a reinstall, it can take MANY hours before it will find the initial set of updates ... I've seen it take as long as ~ 24 hours.    Once you install the first set, the next check will generally be quicker (but can still take a while).

Depending on the specific hardware, you may also find that a bunch of updates fail on the first round of installation -- this is normal.    Just do it again ... and after that Windows Update should work more normally.

There are two things that can sometimes happen that will make this even worse -- and they can be resolved as follows:

(a)  Sometimes if you simply be sure you're not using Microsoft Update it will work better.    Go to Windows Update - Change Settings, and UNCHECK the option for "Give me updates for Microso9ft products ..." on that page.    "Then run the update check again.

(b)  Right-click on the taskbar; select Properties; and then select Customize.   If Windows Update is in the list, be sure it does NOT have "Hide icon and notifications" selected => if so, change it to show the notifications.    This will sometimes cause Windows Update to work VERY quickly (but generally not until after you've successfully done the first round of updates).

Note:  One impact of doing (a) is that it can be tricky to re-enable Microsoft update.    The easiest way I've found to do so is to install Microsoft Security Essentials, which will automatically switch you to Microsoft update.    So once the system is up-to-date, you can just do that to reset everything to check all of your installed Microsoft software.    [If it's already installed, just uninstall it and then install it again.]
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by:nobus
ID: 41749895
if the initial install has not SP1, i install it manually + IE11 + the 2 KB's mentioned above
then i run updates
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by:garycase
ID: 41749912
Agree => before trying ANY updates you should install SP1 and IE11.    But the first round after that will still take a VERY long time.
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by:rindi
ID: 41749965
My experience is that with the 2 patches I mentioned earlier, the first search for updates normally takes less than hour, while on the same PC in the same environment, but without those patches, it takes several hours (it depends also on factors like hardware and speed of the PC, your internet speed etc, hence my mentioning same PC and environment).

The rest of the update process, the download and installation part will of course take the same time with either setup after that.
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Author Comment

by:capreol
ID: 41750276
Rindi,
I found lots of patches on that page you recommended.  Which specific patches are you talking about?
capreol
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by:rindi
rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 41750313
The first link is for the update agent. You choose the version that is built for your particular OS. In front of the downloads it tells you which OS the download is for. In your case the one of the Windows 7 versions (32bit or 64bit, depending on which OS you are running).

The 2nd link is for the kb3102810. Also there it is clearly shown what OS each download is for. Also here you would select Windows 7, and then either the 32 or 64 bit version corresponding to your Windows 7 version.
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by:nobus
ID: 41750453
it's strange that this happens - when the free upgrade to win10 appears...
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by:garycase
ID: 41750526
"... it's strange that this happens - when the free upgrade to win10 appears...  "  ==>  It's not a function of that.   I DO think it happened around the time the Win 10 nag's starting appearing; but even on systems that don't have the "nag" updates it's been a problem for a long time.    I think it's more likely associated with some changes that were made to the Windows Update site around the time Windows 10 became available (the early preview editions even).

Note that it still happens with a new installation of Windows 7 -- and there are no more "nags" generated for '10 since the free update period has passed.

In any event, it's indeed made it a real PITA to install Windows 7 for the past year or so -- what used to be a few hours to finish the install and get it completely up-to-date can now be a couple of days ... primarily just waiting for the update checks to finish (the actual download and install of the updates is still reasonably quick).
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by:nobus
ID: 41750664
which is screaming to MS for making an SP2 with everything in it
but no $ - so n sp2
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by:rindi
ID: 41750699
There is a windows 7 SP1 convenience update rollup which m$ released earlier this year, and it is supposed to act like an SP2. The problem is that I have tried it several times, and it only worked properly once. All other times it either failed and then automatically rolled back the rollup, or new updates that were released after the rollup failed to install or took just as long as when hadn't installed the rollup. So the patches I mentioned are still the fastest way to update a windows 7 SP1 system.
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Author Comment

by:capreol
ID: 41751062
Thanks very much to everyone who participated in my question.  This particular issue is very frustrating to say the least.  In terms of the updating process Microsoft has some work to do.  It should work a lot better than it currently does or does not.  I realize that they are trying their best to get everyone shifted over to Windows 10 but in the interim it would be good public relations to not forget about Windows 7 users.  If I am a satisfied Windows 7 user I will stick with Microsoft and not be inclined to switch to Apple or Android or Linux.  Microsoft needs a wakeup call!
capreol
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by:garycase
ID: 41751267
Definitely agree => Windows 7 is still a VERY nice OS and with one exception is completely useable for a long time to come.    The exception is that IE-11 on Windows 7 doesn't have all of the newest security features that are in the '10 browsers, and some banking/investment sites won't allow some transactions with it.    VERY easy to resolve -- just use Firefox :-)

I don't know what Microsoft did with/to the Windows Update site last year that caused the S..L..O..W  update checks for '7, but it's certainly been very frustrating.     Installing SP1 (if necessary -- it's much better to simply reload '7 with installation media that already has SP1 incorporated); and IE11; together with ensuring you have the most current update agent, can make it a BIT more tolerable -- but it's still WAY too slow for the initial round of checks.    It DOES work eventually -- but you shouldn't have to wait "forever" for that first round of checks.     Fortunately, reloading is a pretty rare event :-)

The good news is that the update process in Windows 10 works VERY well :-)
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