On a Windows 7 machine I wanted to install some languages

I tried it requires updates. It has said "Checking for updates" for over 20 minutes. I suppose I could just keave it.

Can I get any indication of progress / % complete/how much longer, on "checking for updates"?

It has a bar that is just for show not really a progress bar

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I can't see anything consuming a lot of memory, other than skype and chrome

Sometimes if something is taking a long time and not showing progress I can see a file being written, and if I know how big the file might be then I can get an idea of how much is done.

If updates haven't been done for a long time on this machine might it be 10 hours.

There are 10GB free on the hard drive I wonder if by the end of it i'll have nothing left. It has gone from 9 point something GB to 8.8GB

Might this be an overnight thing? like 8+ hours? Or is that unheard of?

2 Answers 2


This is a so called "marquee" progress bar, and is there to indicate that an application has NO way of measuring when the action will finish. The Windows Update check is usually very fast, but highly dependent on the network speed, and all it does is to check which updates are installed (stored in the registry) versus which ones are still available to download for your version of Windows, and other Microsoft software. If you have a lot of MS apps installed, it will also influence the time the check will take. If the version of windows you have is very old, it could also be trying to download the latest version of Windows Update before doing any updates.

If it takes any longer than 10 min, I would begin by restarting its service from the Control Panel -> Administrative tools -> Services -> Windows Update.

Try to do full disk cleanup, as applications like WU tend to use Temp folders a lot, and if you have thousands of files in the temp, it may take long time to find a free file name. Also manually wipe the Temp folders, by:

  1. pressing Win+R and typing TEMP,
  2. select all files
  3. Press Shift+Del keys, and confirm

Repeat the above but for the %TEMP% instead of the TEMP.

Then restart the Windows Update from services again.


Windows doesn't really have a progress report for this particular stage of update. Essentially it's compiling a list of Windows updates that you have, hardware you have plugged in, and sending this information to Microsoft to ask what updates are needed. When Microsoft's servers finish crunching this data, Windows update will get a list of the needed/available updates and proceed from there.

In the meantime, your computer is mostly waiting for Microsoft, which is why the bar is in "indeterminate" mode.

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