I have had to reinstall my Vista computer.

  1. I have done the factory reinstall.

  2. I have installed SP1.

  3. I have installed SP2.

I have then gone to Windows Updates and and checked for updates.

10 Hours later, I am still waiting for it to check for updates.

There is about 50% CPU activity.

(When I have done a reinstall in the past. After I have finished installing SP2, the updates would usually take about 3 hours.)

There are no errors or anything. It is just taking forever.

Does anyone have any ideas?

(There was a trick with Windows XP where you did the windows updates through the command prompt. I cannot remember what that was. Does anyone know if it can be done in Vista?)

  • 1
    I can replicate your experience. XP is not so bad, but on a fresh install of Vista or Windows 7, the first run of Windows Update takes hours and hours. MS have clearly used some kind of exponential algorithm in their update code, AND they don't seem too concerned about fixing it. I guess we're all supposed to be on Win 10 now huh.
    – misha256
    May 2, 2016 at 0:11
  • I wrote this answer for W7 but should work for Vista also, report back if it does please...superuser.com/questions/951960/…
    – Moab
    May 2, 2016 at 23:44
  • 1
    Yes, it's a common thing now. Win7 after installing with SP1, I had to wait 8 hours last time for the updates to show up.
    – TJJ
    May 4, 2016 at 8:56
  • 1
    To make sure it is actually doing something you can check %windir%\windowsupdate.log. That is also the place to check when some updates fail. The info in the gui is less than useful in most cases. It does take a long time the 1st time around. Yesterday MS has announced that they are releasing a security hotfix rollup for Windows 7 that you can manually install to get most of the updates in one go. It doesn't seem likely that they will do this for Vista though.
    – Tonny
    May 18, 2016 at 14:37

3 Answers 3


If the initial "Checking for updates..." phase of your Windows Updates run for long periods of time without throwing an error message, this is a common problem that currently affects many Win 7 and Vista users. On my 32-bit Vista system, I see constant consumption of ~ 50% of my CPU by the Windows Update service wuauserv running under the svchost.exe process (i.e., complete saturation of one of my dual cores) during the "Checking for updates.." phase of my Patch Tuesday updates. My problem started in Aug 2015 - one month after the official release of Win 10 - and I sometimes have to wait for 4 to 5 hours before "Checking for updates..." reports that updates are available for download.

Woody Leonhard's InfoWorld article Windows 7 update scans taking forever? KB 3153199 may solve the problem suggests that that pre-installing monthly Windows kernel-mode driver (Win32k.sys) updates (e.g., KB3145739 in Apr 2016; KB3153199 in May 2016) from the Microsoft Download Center can "trick" Windows Update into running Patch Tuesday updates faster for both Win 7 and Vista users, but it's only a temporary workaround and the problem will return the following month. Woody Leonhard referenced a webpage Search for Windows Updates takes forever? - A possible solution that tracks the recommended win32k.sys update for Win 7 and Vista that must be installed each successive month before running the Patch Tuesday updates. From the author of that webpage:

"The term 'solution' might be a little bit exaggerated, since the following HowTo only tries to make sure that the Update Agent doesn't need to check all updates, so the check for new updates is done faster. Futhermore, it's only a temporary solution; most likely the issue will appear again with the next Patchday."

  • 1
    It begs the question: Is MS purposely making certain versions of Windows harder to use in order to move people to Windows 10? May 18, 2016 at 8:32
  • 2
    @Rewind, just a FYI that the workaround to install any missing Win32k.sys updates listed on Dalai's webpage wu.krelay.de/en seems to work for Vista SP2 users - see copiman's thread at vistax64.com/windows-updates/… for one example. Like you, copiman had a newly installed Vista SP2 that was several months out-of-date and had to manually install all five Win32k.sys updates (oldest to newest) listed on Dalai's webpage. May 21, 2016 at 17:37

Further to your question about running Windows Update from the command prompt, ePandit's response in the thread Can I Invoke Windows Update from the Command Line might be helpful.

I tried the command wuauclt /? in an elevated command prompt on my Vista machine but couldn't get any built-in help documentation to confirm that the /detectnow and /updatenow switches are valid, but I believe the commands suggested by ePandit should also work with Vista.


we could try reset Windows Update components and try update the Windows Update Agent to the latest version in the links below

Also the time which Windows Update takes is determined the number of updates you need to install and the network bandwidth and the performance of PC.

  • 1
    When downvoting an answer, it would be helpful to explain why you downvoted, so everyone can learn what you feel is wrong with an answer. May 21, 2016 at 20:25

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