Windows 7 Won’t Update? Here’s What to Do

**Updated 11/28/2016**

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.

os_installbase_graph_nov2016

Background

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.

Checking For Updates Windows 7Paul 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.

Now, I’d like to share some solutions for what to do when Windows Update hangs, or gets stuck checking for updates, in Windows 7.

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.

  1. Open System by clicking the Start button, right-clicking Computer, and then clicking Properties
  2. 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.

Set Power Options to High Performance

Updating a New Installation

Time Estimate: Around an hour or two.

Note:These instructions have been updated with elements from a Reddit post by user “good1dave“. Please consider visiting the forum and giving him an upvote on his thread.

  1. Start with a fresh install of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) with network drivers installed. During the install procedure choose “Ask me later” when prompted to select update settings.
  2. Selecting Ask me later for updates

    • If you did not choose “Ask me later” as your update setting during the install process, change your update settings via “Start” > “Windows Update” > “Change settings” > and choose “Never check for updates (not recommended).” Then restart your computer.
    • If your Windows 7 install does not include Service Pack 1, be sure to install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 first.

  3. To install the “Convenience Rollup,” you will need to install a prerequisite patch first. Download and install the prerequisite KB3020369, known as the “April 2015 servicing stack update for Windows 7.” (alternate link to KB3020369 files)

  4. Restart the PC, even if not prompted to do so.

  5. Download and install the appropriate version of KB3125574 known as the “Convenience Rollup.”

    • Option 1: Direct download links
    • Option 2: Using the Microsoft Update Catalog (try a different browser if you encounter problems.)
  6. Restart the PC, even if not prompted to do so.

  7. Download and install the appropriate version of KB3138612 known as “Windows Update Client for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: March 2016.” (alternate link to KB3138612 files)

  8. Restart the PC, even if not prompted to do so.

  9. Download and install the appropriate version of KB3145739 known as “Microsoft Security Bulletin MS16-039 — Security Update for Microsoft Graphics component (3148522).” (alternate link to KB3145739 files)

  10. Restart the PC, even if not prompted to do so.

  11. Download and install the appropriate version of KB3172605 known as the “July 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.” (alternate link to KB3172605 files)

  12. Restart the PC, even if not prompted to do so.

  13. (Optional) Windows Update should be working at this point, but it is recommended to install the additional update rollups below. Remember to restart your computer after installing each one even if not prompted to do so.

    • KB3179573 — “August 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1” (alternate link to KB3179573 files)
    • KB3185278 — “September 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1” (alternate link to KB3185278 files)
    • KB3185330 — “October 2016 security monthly quality rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1” (alternate link to KB3185330 files)
    • KB3197868 — “November 2016 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1” (alternate link to KB3197868 files)

  14. Go to “Start” > “Windows Update” > “Change settings” > and set either “Use recommended settings” or “Install important updates only” in the Update settings window.

At this point you should be able to run Windows Update normally. However, it has been observed that sometimes Windows Update will still offer Service Pack 1 (SP1) as an update even if you are already using Service Pack 1. If you see this in the list of offered updates, deselect the update, then right-click the update and choose the “hide” option.

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.
    1. Run a Command Prompt as Administrator (Start > All Programs > Accessories > Right-click Command Prompt > Select “Run as administrator”)
    2. Enter the following command without quotes: “net stop wuauserv”Stop Windows Update Service Command Prompt
      • 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. However, Microsoft has an extensive article with a whopping 13 methods to resolve Windows Update failures. If you are still encountering problems installing Windows 7 updates after exhausting these methods, you may want to check for your specific issue in Microsoft TechNet. Alternatively, it may be worth considering updating to Windows 10. While there are reports of Windows 10 updating frequently, there are far fewer reports of issues where Windows Update does not quickly perform 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!

38 comments on “Windows 7 Won’t Update? Here’s What to Do”

  1. Albie Reply

    Thank you for a very helpful post, it worked for me, I really needed those extra files, and the stop windows update tip. Win 7 updated with the rollup, but stalled on updating further after everything was done, ( yes I left it running for a couple of hours) so I left it overnight, and today it updated on it’s own. I chose to manually install only the important updates.I might recommend not trying to update right away, and get on with reloading your programs etc. Seems like a waste of time if Win needs a date change or something to proceed with the rest of the files, which I’m guessing are mostly security updates.
    I noticed MS Essentials did the same thing, could not update definitions after install, and on its on updated later.
    Yes,, I created an image so this will never happen to me again !!
    Many thanks for solving a huge issue and in the end it was easy and very straightforward !

    • Robert F Ryan Reply

      I agree, Albie. Great article, but critically, I left my machine on all night when the update did not happen for over 3 hours and… voila… all the updates were available to be installed in the morning! Thank you!

    • Shawn Burton Reply

      I remember when I did a fresh install of Windows 7sp1 on my Dell precision m6400 and I was having that problem where windows update would just stay on checking for updates forever and not do anything. So I found that temporarily disabling the Windows firewall fixed the problem and then windows update found like 220 updates that it downloaded and installed. Guess with that many updates, Microsoft could’ve made a Service Pack 2. At least windows 7 runs beautifully in my laptop. I tried windows10, but the Bluetooth and scrolling features of the touchpad don’t work.

      • yayman123 Reply

        This usually happens when who ever made your laptop never bothered to update the drivers to work with Windows 10. Scrolling features for the touch pad can (usually) be fixed by reinstalling the Touchpad driver from the manufacturer’s website, (even if they were made for only an older version of Windows, especially because there is usually on one laptop touchpad Manufacturer, Synaptic).

        As for bluetooth, that’s a little more iffy but getting it working could also rely on reinstalling the drivers.

        Hope this helps!

      • Chris Reply

        I agree.

        You are a God, who saved me from a downward spiral of insane frustration. Thank you, thank you, Thank you !!!

    • Frank Reply

      After weeks of trying to update Windows 7 and looking for answer to the problem for weeks online I came across your solution & Fix. I did everything you said step by step and BAM!!!!!! It’s now working and updating windows 7 with updates. Thanks a lot . I copied your web page for future use in case i have to do a fresh reinstall of windows 7……. Excellent

  2. Dom Bucciarelli Reply

    Great article. This worked for me as well. Clean install of Win7 SP1 wouldn’t update, and the windows update service drove CPU and memory usage to ~100%. Also, started by manually installing KB3102810 which is an update to the Windows Update service, which seemed to help with the CPU and memory usage issues.

  3. Richard Reply

    Great! Thank you! Finally, somebody who actually knows – this fix worked for me. I suppose there might be other issues that cause this problem for other people, but after much searching and trying other suggestions/supposed fixes from other sites, this is the only one that worked for me.

    • Richard Reply

      I should add that I did have to run the “Windows Update Diagnostic” (from Microsoft) before and after each installation recommended here. For some reason, whenever I tried to install an update, errors were created in the registry, etc. But the “Windows Update Diagnostic” repaired these errors, and thus allowed the updates recommended here to install properly. The combination of the the two updates recommended here, and the “Windows Update Diagnostic” finally allowed me to run the normal automatic Windows Update. I hope this helps others.

  4. Charlie Reply

    I also created a new administrator profile, and I did the downloading and installing thru the new account. I was getting a “you don’t have permission to make any changes” in my old administrator profile. It’s possible the first profile became corrupt.

  5. Michael Gouldbourne Reply

    I have this same problem win 7 SP 1 would not install don’t matter what I do. I spend over 40 hours on this one problem trying all the fix that I could find on the internet and Microsoft website. nothing work’s. so I back-up my files and did a clean reset. then I went for win update it did all of the update with no problem but when it get to SP 1 problem start all over again. so this what work’s for me I reset my computer again only this time I change the way that I do business I change auto Update to manual update. I have it go and look for updates and let me chose how to install it. then I went check for updates and when it finish I went and look at what it find.But I still did not find SP 1 so I check for updates again until I could identified SP1 in the update. Once I could identified SP1 I unchecked all other update and only check SP1 and chose update. that did it for me.then I went and turn on auto update and then everything fall into place with no error.

  6. Antonio Pinheiro Reply

    Thank’s!!
    I have another question.
    I have updated win7 to win10 until July 29th, 2016.
    But didn’t created recovery disk.
    Is it possible to get it updated again to win10 after restoring the laptop to factory default?
    Thank’s, again 🙂

  7. Jimi Smith Reply

    I posted earlier today stating that this isn’t working!!!! all I get from this is searching my computer for updates? well 6 hours later it’s still the same!!!! windows6.1-kb3125574-v4-x64_2dafb1d203c8964239af3048b5dd4b1264cd93b9 so what now? Please don’t just delete my comment again I would like to get this sorted this just will not work all its doing is sitting on my desktop searching my computer for updates? why does it not just install the damn update?

    • Zack Reply

      Jim you my factory reset your computer first then install these before installing anything else (step by step) thus is what I had to do

  8. nick creatives Reply

    Microsoft has done this on purpose so that people will give up and install windows 10, I have windows 10 in my pc but it would not run some of the older programs, so I installed windows 7 on a separate hard drive and it would not update, I then put it onto another machine and had the same problem which I find hard to believe that 2 PC’s that had windows 7 on them in the past with no problem suddenly had a problem with the updates, I done the jumping through hoops to get it to work and yes as some one said you need to disable your updates,but people should not have this problem in the first place as for some people like myself windows 7 is still needed.

    • Emmalyn Reply

      Search the Catalog site for Bluetooth drivers, and also check the manufacturer’s site (of the headset itself) for driver recommendations.

  9. dave knox Reply

    top notch easy to follow and worked for me 100% thank you so much, I am so happy I found a link to your instructions, everything is now working, solved all issues I had, after spending a week using other suggestions from Microsoft and many many forums. updating normally now as I type this thank you note, A++++++++++++++++

  10. Nick Reply

    Fantastic article, saved me from a week+ backup we were unable to resolve. Thanks for the post!

  11. Richard Reply

    Thank you so much for this article. It worked PERFECT after making myself crazy for over a month. If you follow every step, follow every word, this article will fix this problem!

  12. steve pooke Reply

    Thanks a lot for this article. It was driving me crazy not being able to update now its fixed and my laptop is operating correctly again.

    thanks again

    steve

  13. Greg Reply

    Thanks heaps for this article Andy. Have been struggling for days to update a fresh install of Win 7 Pro SP1 and this did the trick.

  14. Julian Evetts Reply

    Thanks so much for the detailed instructions and links to files.

    Crap, Win 7 is just as buggy as Win 3.0, Win 95 etc When will Microsoft quit selling broken products. After all this time one would think they could get i right

  15. Laura Reply

    Thank goodness for your site! Spent two days trying to get the Windows 7 re-installed on this computer. Tried many sites before I found yours. Very happy now!

  16. Mike Reply

    This also worked for me but after I turned updates back on and did some additional updates kb2598845 failed, I hadn’t noticed that it failed and later tried some additional updates that showed up and some of them are failing as well. I was going to try the last process in this article to stop the windows update service, run the microsoft fixit tool for windows update issues and then install the latest version of the windows update agent. However when I try to download the fixit tool it first said that link doesn’t exist or something like that. I have tried again and it just goes to a microsoft community help page but there is no download for the fixit tool

  17. Mike Reply

    Thanks Andy, before I got your reply i tried running the windows update diagnostic and this seems to have fixed my problems and at least for now it seems that my updates are back on track.

  18. Ftoledo Reply

    Thank you. After a lot of different approaches I found your solution. Very, very helpfull. This is the real beauty of internet: to share your knowledge.

Leave a Reply