I noticed when doing a manual Windows Updates using Control Panel it finds the updates fast enough but after selecting updates I want to install and asking to install them takes forever to Download updates and no progress indicated, but if I click the start icon after some time it shows the updates are ready to install if I Shut Down the PC, indicated by the yellow Bang. No indication of what updates are ready to install either.

If I let the Windows update run on downloading, it will eventually download and install the selected updates but still no progress indicated, but takes hours. I see this behavior on some (4) my W7 PC's (7).

Its like the Windows Update screen does not refresh.

Any insight to this behavior or how to solve it?

Fully updated Windows 7 64bit prior to this months (Aug 2016) patch Tuesday.

Note: Home network, Fios with no other issues. Its wide spread on several computers and does it on any of them when I travel with those devices also, it is a windows update gui issue. Happens on Normal month to month updates.

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This has nothing to do with "checking" for updates as answered in this question I answered this question myself but this is an entirely different issue and have found no solution so far.

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    I believe it's substantially the same problem. Internal algorithms used by WU to decide what to do and when to do scale atrociously when the number of available updates or the number of applicable updates increases. – David Schwartz Aug 16 '16 at 22:36
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    It's hard to prove much of anything because Microsoft isn't that interested in airing their dirty laundry in public. My conclusion is based on observations of the time these operations take and the number of available/applicable updates. – David Schwartz Aug 16 '16 at 22:40
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    What bothers me is it works perfectly fine on some systems. It does it with just a few updates, Like I said my systems are up to date and happens with the monthly updates. – Moab Aug 16 '16 at 22:41
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    Hey hijo, show what in the C:\Windows\WindowsUpdate.log file to see any error in this file related to ur problem migo. – GambleNerd Aug 19 '16 at 0:04
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    @Moab - You can have all updates installed but not have the cumulative update. The fact some clients exhibit this problem indicates that this could be a possability. In a very short amount of time, Microsoft is switching to monthly cumulative updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 similar to what happens with Windows 10. – Ramhound Aug 23 '16 at 15:50

Downloading Windows Updates takes forever

Dice Roll. . .

I like all the methods listed here on this MS KB as potential solutions to this problem. In particular Method 10 thru Method 13 stick out to me the most that sound like solutions I've used in the past to resolve correlated problems even if not exactly the same.

I'll only quote the methods below I would not skip for sure if I were troubleshooting this issue but I wouldn't limit myself to just these or just this KB for that matter but these may be good starting points for potential solutions.

I also agree that seeing any applicable detail from the %windir%\WindowsUpdate.log would be helpful in troubleshooting this issue.

Lastly, I'd start troubleshooting and working this problem from one of the machines and ensure it's connected to a rather speedy Internet connection so in other words if you're traveling and connected to public network or a mobile wifi, just wait to ensure those factors don't play a role in the issue just in case.

Potential Resolution Methods

Method 1: Run the Windows Update troubleshooter

To do this, go to the Windows Update troubleshooter.

Method 4: Run the System Update Readiness tool (CheckSur.exe)

Download and run the System Update Readiness tool. This tool runs a one-time scan for inconsistencies that may prevent future servicing operations. For more information about how to download and run the CheckSur.exe tool, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Fix Windows corruption errors by using the DISM or System Update Readiness tool (https://support.microsoft.com/kb/947821)

Try to install updates again.

Note After you run the tool, the CheckSur.log file is saved in the following location:


Method 5: Run the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe)

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open an administrative Command Prompt window.
  2. At the command prompt, type sfc /scannow, and then press Enter.
  3. After the scan is finished, try to install updates again.

Method 6: Reset the content of the Catroot2 folder

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open an administrative Command Prompt window.
  2. Type the following commands, and press Enter after each command:

    • net stop cryptsvc
    • md %systemroot%\system32\catroot2.old
    • xcopy %systemroot%\system32\catroot2 %systemroot%\system32\catroot2.old /s
  3. Delete all contents of the catroot2 folder, but do not delete the catroot2 folder.

  4. Type the following command, and then press Enter:

net start cryptsvc

  1. Exit the Command Prompt window.

Method 8: Register the Windows Update files

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open an administrative Command Prompt window.
  2. At the command prompt, type the following command:
  1. Try to install updates again.

Method 10: Rename the SoftwareDistribution folder

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open an administrative Command Prompt window.

  2. Run the following commands, and press Enter after each command:

    • Net stop wuauserv
    • cd %systemroot%
    • Ren SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
    • Net start wuauserv
  3. Try to install updates again.

Important The following issues occur when you use this method:

  • Updates that are currently downloaded but that have not yet been installed have to be downloaded again by using Windows Update or Microsoft Update.

  • When you delete the Software Distribution folder, your download history is removed.

  • If you currently receive updates from Microsoft Update and from Windows Update, you will have to reselect this option from the Windows Update website.

Note If the issue is resolved and you can successfully download and install updates, you can safely delete the SoftwareDistribution.old folder to recover disk space.

Method 11: Clear the BITS queue of any current jobs

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open an administrative Command Prompt window.
  2. At the command prompt, type the following commands, and press Enter after each command:
Net stop bits
Net stop wuauserv
Ipconfig /flushdns
cd \documents and settings\all users\application data\microsoft\network\downloader
Del qmgr0.dat
Del qmgr1.dat
Net start bits
Net start wuauserv

Note After you complete these steps, the BITS queue is cleared.

  1. Try to install updates again.

Method 12: Rename Pending.xml

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open an administrative Command Prompt window.
  2. At the command prompt, type the following command:

    takeown /f C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml

  3. Rename the c:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml path by using the following command:

    Ren c:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml pending.old

Method 13: Run Chkdsk on the Windows partition

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open an administrative Command Prompt window.
  2. At the command prompt, type the following command:

    Chkdsk volume: /f /r


  • Since this is being linked from this fresh new Win10 update train-wreck, I'll note the Method 11 (BITS) download location in Win 10 is here: c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Network\Downloader – McGuireV10 Aug 17 '18 at 10:01

If the fixes for Windows Update listed in the other answers have not fixed your problem, the slow updating might be caused by the way that Windows Update works on the affected computers.

In another answer of mine, I have explained that Windows Update constructs in memory a tree of all the updates which could apply to a computer, then prunes it with a view to the updates already installed on the computer, to finally arrive at the set of updates that need to be installed and the order of installation.

The time taken for this brute-force process is a function of the total number of updates available for this platform, since the last service pack. Every service pack sort of defines a new platform for which updates start to accumulate anew. Also, Windows Update need to transfer large amounts of data from the Microsoft servers who may be overburdened.

Windows 7 SP1 came out on February 22, 2011, more than 5 years ago, and since then the number of updates has grown enormously. In addition, Microsoft's Windows Update servers now give priority on bandwidth to Windows 10 clients. So all in all, Windows 7 SP1 is left to suffer.

To solve this problem, Microsoft has lately released the convenience rollup for Windows 7 SP1, which, exactly the same as a service pack, serves as a starting platform for updates. Installing it results in a much smaller updates tree which is much faster to download and process, since only updates posterior to it are considered rather than all updates since 2011. Unfortunately, it is not available via Windows Update and has to be downloaded and installed manually.

For more information on the convenience rollup for Windows 7 SP1, read
Microsoft overhauls Windows 7 and 8.1 updating -- but don't call it a service pack.

This convenience rollup is the only way by which one can reduce the Windows Update running time on Windows 7 SP1. Another one would be to launch it on hours in which the Windows Update servers of Microsoft have more available bandwidth (early morning or late night).

Admittedly, the problems you observe are a bit extreme, and might be related to some inefficiency that relates to the particular setup of these computers. I think that some combination of factors has enormously increased the time that Windows Update takes to download and prune its update tree. This might even be a Microsoft bug. You might gain more information on the problem by watching Windows Update while it is working, as regarding memory usage, network activity and disk access.

Installing the convenience rollup for Windows 7 SP1 is the only way I can think of to cut this Gordian Knot of Windows Update on the affected computers. However, it will probably stop working some time in the future, so has to be applied quickly.


Turn off automatic Windows updates from the Control Panel and turn off the Windows Update service. Then, go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download and delete everything in the folder. Restart the Windows Update service. Finally, open the CLI, type wuauclt.exe /updatenow, and press "Enter." Try to download the patches again and see what happens.

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    Yep I know how to do all that and much more, I have tried everything but a clean install. – Moab Aug 24 '16 at 20:35

This is not a permanent fix but if there's a particular update you need asap and don't have time to sort out something permanent at the moment you can use.


You need to use IE. Do that then disable the Windows Update service.

Then sort out a permanent fix when you have the time.

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    Welcome to Super User! This is really a comment and not an answer to the original question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. Please read Why do I need 50 reputation to comment? What can I do instead? – DavidPostill Aug 25 '16 at 9:04
  • Firefox refuses to even connect to your link, says the web site isn't configured correctly. You do say that IE is needed, but that means not everyone can access this. – fixer1234 Aug 25 '16 at 16:52
  • @fixer1234; How does that mean not everyone can access it? Every version of Windows has IE installed. – Wes Sayeed Aug 26 '16 at 0:09
  • @WesSayeed, I couldn't access the link to look at this solution and forgot that the question is actually about Windows. So you're right, at least the Windows users who haven't disabled or removed IE can access it. BTW, just changing the user agent isn't sufficient to view the link from another browser. – fixer1234 Aug 26 '16 at 0:17

You can try manually installing all missing updates using WSUS Offline, http://wsusoffline.net/

In the software you can choose your OS, download ALL updates for that version of windows, and then start the updater, and it will install all missing updates.

  • Does not answer the question but is a work around. – Moab Aug 26 '16 at 20:11
  • Maybe updating your system this way gets rid of the bug causing it. Windows update is just a piece of crap sometimes (sorry for the wording), so this could fix it. Why would this not be a solution in your eyes then? – JustDenDimi Aug 27 '16 at 9:53

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