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There are some similar threads but I am quite certain this is not quite a duplicate of any of them.


I have a machine at home with dual boot openSuse Linux and Windows 8.1. I don’t use Windows that much and auto updating was disabled so as a result my Windows instance has not received any updates since 2016/1/13. I tried to update but I’m having trouble doing so. Here is what happened in chronological order

  1. Attempted to update. Going to Windows Update triggered a search for updates which failed and threw an error code (which I will place here if I remember/can find it)
  2. Investigated this error code and found that it is possibly due to the long time that had elapsed since my last update which caused a large response for updates hence causing the process to crash (?). The solution was given to be to simply try again.
  3. To speed things up I tried to set up a WSUS mirror(?) from my university. I was given a pair of registries (one for automatic update and one for manual). Added automatic update registries and tried again. (I stopped wuauserv during this process then restarted it).
  4. Windows Update cheerfully informs me that not only am I set up for automatic updates, but that it had just that moment checked and there are none to download and install. This is egregious since I know there has been at least one update between 2016/1/13 at 4pm and 2019/9/29 at 12:55pm.
  5. Force it to check again. It’s taking a while so I leave my desk for a few hours and come back. The window is now showing the control panel home page. I go back to updates and it shows the same thing: Auto updates good, no updates, last checked 12:55.
  6. Reboot. No auto update on startup. Try again in Windows Update. Same result.
  7. Try the non-auto-update registry. Windows update still tells me I’m set up for auto updates by my administrator. And that it’s checked at 12:55 and there’s nothing to do. Force it to try again and no cigar.
  8. give up for the day
  9. Use a third registry from my university’s computer center which is supposed to disable the other two, and set up only the non-auto-update registry. Nope (see VI).
  10. use that third registry again. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Policies/Microsoft/Windows/WindowsUdate/AU and ensure those registries are not there. Side note: I now suspect they could still be active, but somewhere other than where I checked. I tried Windows Update one last time to the same result.
  11. Out of desperation ask Microsoft Support’s AI assistant. Actually get pointed to some useful threads.
  12. Take the recommendation to download this manual patch: KB3102812 which starts a process wusa.exe (presumably standing for Windows Update StandAlone). This opens a window, which says that it’s starting updates or something of that nature, but then gets stuck at “searching for updates on this computer”. Cancel button does not work.
  13. Investigate this occurrence. I find some results, in fact on the StackExchange network (I will add a link when I find it), which say I should disable wuauserv before doing this. And that there is a newer wusa: KB3138615
  14. Disable wuauserv and try both. No change in behavior.
  15. Disable WindowsUpdate in services.msc and try net stop wuauserv just to make sure, and try again. Reboot and try again. Again, in both patches, no change in behavior.

I am at a loss at this point and I’d appreciate to know what others think I should do. If it wasn’t clear from my idiocy I am not particularly familiar with Windows.

P. S. the patch seems to restart wuauserv again (although it does not appear in services.msc).


Update: I could not find a good way to integrate this new information to the existing body, so here it is in this new block of text. A few events have transpired.

Here is some (incomplete) CSV information about the update on 2016/1/13

Description, ID
Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based systems,KB2976978
Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based systems,KB3109560
Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based systems,KB3114500
Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based systems,KB3109853
Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based systems,KB3121461
Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based systems,KB3121212
Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based systems,KB3124001
Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based systems,KB3123479
Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based systems,KB3121918

I have omitted the MSOffice, etc. updates

Here is some more information:

  1. Seems to be that the last update before 2016/1/13 was on 2015/12/9.

  2. The most recent “cumulative update” is KB3000850 on 2015/7/11.

  3. There don’t seem to be any recorded updates in the update history before that.

  4. KB2976976 unlike some suspected is an update that Windows released soon after Windows 10 and kept re-releasing once every couple of months to get people who hid it to install, which does something like checks to see if you have the latter installed on your machine and also periodically sends some data to Microsoft! Yuck. This kind of tomfoolery is one of the reasons I don’t like to use Microsoft products. (Failures like the subject matter are another).

  5. So what happened after I wrote this post is I tried to install 3138615 again. It again looked like the operation was DoA. But, the devil on my shoulder suggested I let it run for a while, so I did, and left my house. Upon returning some 3-odd-hours later I saw that the install very much did complete! And not only that, it seems to have woken up the updater, since before I clicked reboot I took a look at the updater which had magically found “500M-2.2G” to download and install (despite claiming it hadn’t searched since 9/29/2019 when apparently there were none). What a great day.

  6. But don’t think the fun is over. I have started the install process and it seems to be dead. I will observe this behavior and (if it doesn’t work) try the older KB3102812, and update. If it does work, I will answer my own question to help any others who have this issue.

Thank you to @Ram in the question comments.

  • Other than the updates you attempted to install what is the last update that was installed successfully? If you download [KB4516067 ](catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4516067%20) and attempt to install it what happens exactly? – Ramhound Oct 1 at 11:49
  • I will check when I am home. For now, the date of installation (Jan 13, 2016) is all I got so surely some update released on or before that day. – Certainly not a dog Oct 1 at 11:51
  • Yes; There have been several hundred updates since Windows 8.1 was released. Just to be clear are you running Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Update? This is very important, Windows 8.1 Update is required, for any updates released after it. – Ramhound Oct 1 at 11:52
  • I will find out soon but I wager it’s 8.1 update as I have updated it in 2016 while the link you sent shows a date of 2014 (of course this is not a necessary and sufficient condition though). I won’t have any issues updating to Windows 8.1 Update if I don’t have it already though, I hope? I would assume the most recent update at the time (Jan 13 ‘16) is what I installed. – Certainly not a dog Oct 1 at 11:58
  • @Ramhound there was a whole suite of updates on that day. Most recent OS(?) update is Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based systems KB2976978 – Certainly not a dog Oct 1 at 12:32
1

So what happened after I wrote this post is I tried to install 3138615 again. It again looked like the operation was DoA. But, the devil on my shoulder suggested I let it run for a while, so I did, and left my house.

KB3138615 was replaced by KB4516067. Technically, KB3138615 was replaced by three dozen different updates, the most recent is KB4516067. KB4516067 is the only update you should attempt to install, this will decrease the amount of time, it takes your system to search for updates. Your system will still have to download other required updates, if your system does not have a required update, attempting to install KB4516067 provide the appropriate notification.

KB2976976 unlike some suspected is an update that Windows released soon after Windows 10

Due to the fact KB2976976 does not exit on the Windows Update catalog website it cannot be downloaded. I cannot tell if the update was superceeded by another update, however, I suspect the update was optional.

But don’t think the fun is over. I have started the install process and it seems to be dead. I will observe this behavior and (if it doesn’t work) try the older KB3102812, and update. If it does work, I will answer my own question to help any others who have this issue.

Spending your time trying to install old updates that have already been superceeded by another update is not a productive use of your time. You should not spend time trying to get KB3102812 to install. Any issues with Windows Update will be resolved by installing the more recent Monthly Quality Rollup updates like KB4516067

This kind of tomfoolery is one of the reasons I don’t like to use Microsoft products. (Failures like the subject matter are another).

This entire issue could have been avoided if you had kept your system updated. The problem you are experiencing is due to the fact, you are attempting to install hundreds of updates, released over a very large timeframe. Windows Update recieved numerious improvements over the years, to make the process of finding, processing, and installing appliciable updates actually faster. Due to the fact your system did not recieve those patched, due to manual intervention, your system now has problem finding the newer updates. This issue would exist if you were to install an unmodified Windows 7 RTM installation today. I can confirm the problems you are encountering would been a problem for any version of Windows 10 that is no longer supported. Windows Updates improvements were released to all supported versions of Windows in 2016 timeframe. In the 2016 timeframe Microsoft, went to cumaltive updates, instead of individual patches for each issue. Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 Update recieve monthly Security and Quality (Quality of Life) and Security Only cumlative updates.

-1

Since updates have not been running for about 3 years, I suggest you run WSUS Offline to update your system. Go to WSUS Offline (below) and run it for the Windows 8 / 8.1 section.

http://download.wsusoffline.net/

  • I’d like to avoid installing any third party stuff. How would this fix my issue? – Certainly not a dog Oct 1 at 10:43
  • I have used WSUS Offline to fix several systems that have fallen behind in updates. When you run it, it will do the updates your system needs. – John Oct 1 at 10:44
  • I will consider it. But, how does “it” work? If it uses any services on my computer that are broken will it not fail? – Certainly not a dog Oct 1 at 10:46
  • Read the documentation part (wsusoffline.net/docs). It creates the update media and then runs it. It does not correct other (non-update) problems. You can also do a Windows 8.1 refresh (Windows 8.1 recovery settings). That keeps your data but you must reinstall apps. – John Oct 1 at 10:50

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