Like Windows XP before it, Windows 7 has proven to be a reliable and steadfast platform with many users reluctant to upgrade to newer versions. Even over a year after the end of mainstream support for Windows 7 by Microsoft, web traffic statistics site StatCounter reports that over 40% of users are still using Windows 7, although Windows 10 is on the rise. However, Windows Update issues have frequently plagued Windows 7 over the last year, and this has been particularly troublesome for fresh Windows installs. In this blog post, I will examine this problem and offer some solutions.
Mainstream support for Windows 7 has ended, but extended support will continue into 2020. Hoping to simplify the update process on a fresh install, in May 2016 Microsoft released what has been dubbed the “Convenience Rollup,” encapsulating many Windows 7 updates that came after the release of Service Pack 1. While the Convenience Rollup includes a large number of updates, there are many others that are not bundled with it and these additional updates can take quite some time to find and install through Windows Update. Microsoft notes that this was done on purpose:
We intentionally did not include any specific post-Service Pack 1 updates in convenience rollup 3125574 for which the following conditions are true:
- They don’t have broad applicability.
- They introduce behavior changes.
- They require additional user actions, such as making registry settings.
One of the biggest issues users have encountered with the Convenience Rollup is when Windows Update gets stuck on “Checking for updates” with the graphic continually looping, giving no sign of progress being made.
Paul Thurrott recently posted an article titled “The Convenience Rollup Makes a Big Difference, But Windows 7 Updating is Still Broken”. He later updated the article, writing that after two hours of waiting, Windows Update eventually did offer to install additional updates.
Windows 7 Update Guide
Before proceeding, be sure to determine whether your computer has 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) Windows, and whether Service Pack 1 (SP1) is installed.
- Open System by clicking the Start button, right-clicking Computer, and then clicking Properties
- Under the System section, you can view the system type. Additionally, the Windows Edition information will tell you whether Service Pack 1 is installed
It is also recommended to change your power options temporarily so that your computer will not enter sleep mode during the update process.
Updating From a New Installation
Time Estimate: Between 90 and 200 minutes (1hr 30m and 3h 20m)
1. Start with a fresh install of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) with network drivers installed.
● If your Windows 7 install does not include Service Pack 1, be sure to install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 first.
2. To install the “Convenience Rollup,” you will need to install a prerequisite patch first. Get KB3125574, known as the “Convenience Rollup” and KB3020369, known as the “April 2015 servicing stack update for Windows 7.”
i. Download and install the prerequisite KB3020369.
ii. Download and install the appropriate version of the Convenience Rollup (KB3125574).
○ Option 1: Direct download links
■ x64 (64-bit)
■ x86 (32-bit)
○ Option 2: Using the Microsoft Update Catalog (requires Internet Explorer)
a. Search for KB3125574 and add the one matching your system type to the basket
b. View basket
c. Click the ‘Download’ button.
d. Install the file containing KB3125574 in the name.
3. Restart the PC.
4. Run Windows Update.
● It is recommended to change settings to ‘Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them’.
5. Check for updates.
● This will take quite some time, about 1 to 2 hours.
● There are approximately 50 to 70 updates available as of May 2016.
6. Apply updates and reboot, even if there is an error.
7. Repeat steps 4, 5, and 6 until all updates have been applied.
What to Do If There Are Problems
While the steps above will get Windows 7 up-to-date for most users, there are still problems that can arise. For example, if you tried to run Windows Update before applying the Convenience Rollup, the older version of Windows Update Agent may have caused additional problems with the update process that would need to be resolved. In some cases, this will mean doing a thorough reset of Windows Update.
1. Close the Windows Update window.
2. Stop the Windows Update Service.
i. Run a Command Prompt as Administrator (Start > All Programs > Accessories > Right-click Command Prompt > Select “Run as administrator”)
ii. Enter the following command without quotes: “net stop wuauserv” Note: If the command does not show success, run the command again
3. Run the Microsoft FixIt tool for Windows Update issues.
4. Install the latest version of the Windows Update Agent.
● Be sure to choose the correct version for your operating system and system type.
5. Restart your PC.
6. Run Windows Update again.
● This may take a couple of hours to complete!
This should resolve most issues with updating Windows 7. If you are still encountering problems installing Windows 7 updates, you may want to check for your specific issue in Microsoft TechNet. Alternatively, it may be worth considering updating to Windows 10 before the free update period expires on July 29th, 2016.
While there are reports of Windows 10 updating frequently, there are far fewer reports of issues where Windows Update does not quickly performing successful updates. Before going this route though, be sure to check out our other blog articles regarding our support for Windows 10.
I hope this guide helps you to keep your install of Windows 7 up-to-date so your Plugable products keep plugging along!