[Fix] Windows 7 Keeps Checking for Updates for Hours

Today in this tutorial, we are going to address one of the most annoying and strange problems present in Windows 7 operating system. This problem is related to built-in Windows Update program which regularly checks for new updates at Microsoft servers and downloads and installs them in Windows OS to keep your computer safe and faster.

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION:

Several Windows 7 users have reported that when they try to check for new updates using Windows Update, it keeps checking for updates for hours. The progress bar keeps showing progress animation which makes you think that Windows Update is doing something but even after waiting for hours, nothing happens. Windows Update just gets stuck at "Checking for updates" screen and Windows 7 doesn't download and install any update.

Windows_7_Checking_For_Updates_Problem.png

It also affects overall system performance and if you check Task Manager, the Svchost.exe process occupies high CPU resources and memory usage. Most of the times this issue occurs after a fresh/clean installation of Windows 7.

Many users have reported that they even waited for more than 24 hours but Windows Update just stuck at "Checking for updates" status and they couldn't install any update in their computers.

PROBLEM REASON:

The reason behind this irritating problem is a little bit funny! Actually Microsoft has released a few updates for the Windows Update client program. These updates upgrade the client program version and improve its functionality. It seems Microsoft has changed the way Windows Update client downloads and installs updates from Microsoft servers and only the new updated client is able to download updates from the servers, that's why the older versions of Windows Update client are unable to download updates from Microsoft servers.

If the new updates which upgrade Windows Update client version, are not installed in a Windows 7 machine, it starts giving this annoying issue and the Windows Update program hangs at "Checking for updates" screen and never downloads updates from Microsoft servers.

PROBLEM SOLUTIONS:

There are a few working solutions to fix this problem. We are providing all these solutions below. You can follow these solutions one by one until your problem gets resolved:

SOLUTION 1: Install Required Updates for Windows Update Client Manually

This is the best and easiest solution to fix this problem! You just need to install the required updates manually which upgrade the Windows Update client program and once you install these updates, Windows Update will be able to download and install updates from Microsoft servers without any problem.

Thanks to our readers David, Bill, TrollBytes and Steve for sharing the required updates list and providing their valuable inputs.

You need to download and install following updates manually:

These updates will upgrade the Windows Update client and will make some improvements to the client program. These updates are available for both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) editions of Windows 7 operating system. You can know which edition of Windows 7 are you using with the help of System Properties window in Control Panel.

UPDATE: Our reader "Dan" reported that you might also need to install following updates to solve this issue:

For your convenience, we are providing direct download links of these updates. You can download the updates quickly and easily from following links:

For Windows 7 32-bit (x86) edition:

For Windows 7 64-bit (x64) edition:

After installing these updates, restart your computer and then check for new updates using Windows Update. It may take 20-30 minutes or 1 hour depending upon the speed of your Internet connection and then Windows Update will show you list of all available updates. Now Windows Update will no longer stick at "Checking for updates" screen.

NOTE: You may need to temporary stop Windows Update service before installing above mentioned updates. You can run net stop wuauserv command in Command Prompt to temporary stop Windows Update service before installing each update.

You can also use Services Manager program to stop Windows Update service. Check out METHOD 7 in following tutorial to learn more about it:

Fixing Windows 10 Automatic Updates Install Problem

SOLUTION 2: Install All Updates Using Official Convenience Rollup Package

Microsoft has released a convenience rollup pack for Windows 7 which installs almost all available updates released after SP1 (Service Pack 1) of Windows 7. So if you install this convenience rollup pack in your Windows 7 machine, it'll automatic upgrade Windows Update client version and your problem will be solved.

To learn how to download and install this convenience rollup pack, check out following article:

Install All Post-SP1 Updates Offline in Windows 7 Using Convenience Rollup Package

SOLUTION 3: Reset Windows Update Components and Services

Sometimes these kind of problems may occur due to corrupted components and services related to Windows Update. In past, we have posted a batch script to reset Windows Update components and services to fix such kind of issues.

You can download and run the Windows Update reset script from following article:

Fix Windows Update Problems Using Automatic Reset Script

SOLUTION 4: Use Windows Update Troubleshooter and Fixit Tool

Windows 7 provides a built-in troubleshooter to fix issues related to Windows Update. You can run the built-in troubleshooter to repair Windows Update program. Microsoft also provides an official Fixit tool to fix Windows Update related problems.

You can learn more about the built-in troubleshooter and official Fixit tool in following article:

[FIX] Error Message "0x80070424" Received in Windows Update

SOLUTION 5: Use Custom DNS Settings for Your Internet Connection

Sometimes this problem may also occur due to your Internet connection if the DNS server of your ISP is not updated. You can use external DNS settings to get faster and reliable Internet connection which may also solve Windows Update related problems.

To learn how to use custom DNS settings in Windows, check out following tutorial:

How to Change or Use Custom DNS Server Settings in Windows?

SOLUTION 6: Use Built-in System File Checker (SFC) Tool

If some files and settings related to Windows Update are corrupted or missing in your Windows OS, it may also cause such kind of issues. You can repair Windows and restore default system files with the help of built-in SFC tool.

You can learn more about SFC tool and how to use it by going through METHOD 4 in following tutorial:

[METHOD 4] How to Use SFC /SCANNOW Command in Windows?

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That's it. The above mentioned solutions will definitely help you in fixing this annoying issue in Windows 7  as well as other Windows versions.





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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 7


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Comments

  • Read through this and several other pages and was finally able to aggregate a solution:

    Download the Following patches manually:
    KB3050265
    KB3065987
    KB3102810
    KB3135445
    KB3138612
    KB3161664
    KB3020369
    KB3172605

    Now as other users pointed out, installing thes individually will trigger the service to check for updates before installing. Heres how I got around this:

    To Bypass the installationcheck:
    Stop the WindowsUpdate service via GUI (services.msc) or via elevated (running as admin) command line (net stop wuauserv).
    Now install the 1 MSU update and stop WindowsUpdate service again and install the 2nd MSU file, and so on (be sure to stop the service after every install)

    Reboot the computer and search for updates. If updates do not appear for download in 15 minutes, repeat the above process with KB3125574, which will push the cumulative rollup from windows, and includes all updates through around June 2016.

  • Method-1 worked fine. Thanks!!
    The only comment:
    Before downloading the first KB in the list, you need to stop Windows Update Service as follows:
    1. Start > in the search type "services" and click on Services
    2. Go down to Windows Update and right click on it, then Properties
    3. In the new window that was opened, change Startup Type to Manual
    4. Click OK
    5. Restart the PC
    Now you are ready to download and install the KB's in the list.

  • Solution 1 worked for me!

    I tried several solutions such as Tech Paul's Easy Fix, Offline WSU and other standalone updates with no results.

    I had to turn off Windows Update service each time BEFORE I started the standalone updates. Once I installed all the standalone updates in Solution 1, I ran Windows Update and it finally downloaded updates like usual.

    Thanks a bunch!

  • ATTENTION!

    "NOTE: You may need to temporary disable Windows Update services using Services Manager before installing above mentioned updates."

    This was crucial for it to work for me.

    1. Run the Command Prompt as administrator.
    2. Stop Windows Update services with command 'net stop wuauserv'
    3. Install files
    4. Reboot

    If necessary, start the service again with 'net start wuauserv'.

  • I came very late to this problem of Windows 7 not updating. The solutions proposed by ASKVG in Solution #1 worked just fine, and all is now well.

    Caution: it is mentioned that Windows Update should be turned off or disabled before downloading these patches. I found that when I disabled Windows Update, the download would not work at all. Using "Stop" Windows Update in Control Panel - Services - Windows Update did the trick. CAUTION: as most of these patches require a restart, I found that this automatically RESTARTS Windows Update. Not realizing this, I kept trying the other downloads only to faced with the original problem - nothing would download. SOLUTION: be sure to disable Windows Update AFTER EACH RESTART.

  • Hi,

    A really helpful article. I had one problem, though, which is that I couldn't install any of the listed files in Solution 1, as the only program on my computer which I had to do it with was 'Windows Standalone Update Agent' (or whatever it's called - it comes up automatically when you try to open these files) - and the first thing this does is check for updates! - which results in the forever stuck situation.

    I found a way round it, though, that worked for me, as follows:

    Download the files listed in Solution 1 (i.e. 'save' rather than 'open')
    Install NTLIte from http://www.askvg.com/download-nlite-for-windows-7-windows-8-and-windows-8-1/
    Click on 'Wizard'.
    Click on 'Install updates'.
    Click on 'Add' and select all of the update files. They'll now be listed in the 'update queue' in NTLite.
    Click on 'Apply'
    (Say 'yes' to the dialogue box)
    Click on the 'Process' button
    (Say 'yes' to the dialogue box)
    Reboot, and windows update should now work properly.

    (Note: the large KB3125574 file will show as red in the update queue and NTLite won't install it, but that's ok as it's not needed. If it isn't placed in the update queue however NTLite will refuse another of the updates on the grounds that KB3125574 is a prerequisite for it).

    Hope it works for you!

  • RMF: Recently (~11/25/16) I was installing a fresh copy of "Windows 7 Pro x64 oem" on a new SSD and was having an impossible time with Windows Update stalling for days on end. Thankfully I stumbled upon this article!! Thanks!!!!!

    I used Solution 1 and installed all 8 KB's. It was a little tricky at first. I couldn't get the patches to install as they invoked the Update Service and went into the long (forever?) loop. So, I disabled the Windows Update Service in "Computer Management - Services and Applications - Services" and then scrolled to Windows Update. It wasn't sufficient to "Stop" the service. I had to "Disable" it to make it stop.

    Unfortunately, the KB's would not install whatsoever. So I re-enabled the Windows Update service and made sure it was running. Then I went to "Control Panel - Windows Update - Change Settings" and set it to "Never Check For Updates". I don't know which of these two "changes" helped (or both?), but the KB's installed quickly and easily after that. Several reboots involved.

    Then I did the convenience rollup KB and it ran easily, too. Then I went back to "Control Panel - Windows Update - Change Settings" and set it to "Check For Updates but let me choose whether to download and install them" and let the normal Widows Update take over. Update responded quickly, but off course it took a while for all the patches to complete.

  • I read half way down the comments and gave up - after I had used this method to kick start the updates on a clean install of 7x64. This works, but some people might need a little additional direction. Each of these steps is important.

    Make sure you are using an Administrator account for all of this.

    Begin by restarting the computer. This will end any on-going updates or other processes that will otherwise interfere.

    Delete, move or rename the Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder. Get rid of it, this process will make a new, clean set. You might have to do it in safe mode.

    Download and save all 8 updates listed and the rollup. Save them in a folder (I use C:\Downloads\Update KickStart\1, \2, \3, etc. and \Rollup. In the end you will likely want to copy this to a USB key for next time.

    Run the updates in order and restart each time it asks to do so.

    Smile and thank VG for his efforts and his sharing. He just saved you a whole lot of time and effort.

  • Thank you so much. Solution 1 worked for me. I have spent a couple of days on this problem

  • Hey I don't usually write comments on forums that helped me with some PC problem but hey, you deserve it. Thank you very much

  • After 5 days of no luck solution 1 worked for me. Thanks!

  • Good solution. I've been resolved my problem. Great and Thanks !

  • THANK YOU!!!
    After much research and many failed attempts, Windows Update is working!
    For reference, today is Jan 5th, 2017.
    I did a clean install of Windows 7 x64 Professional (with SP1 included) when I ran into this problem.

    My fix was Solution 1-- downloaded and ran the 8 KB3XXXXXX patches listed at the top of the article, rebooting between patches as prompted.

    I did have trouble stopping the 'wuauserv' service via Task Manager or cmd prompt before loading the patches, but here's another simple way to stop it:

    From Control Panel (select View by icons at top right)>Windows Update>Change Settings
    Select "Never check for updates" then reboot. wuauserv won't run on startup.

    Applied patches, ran Windows Update again, and it found 196 important updates!

    Thanks again!

  • Fixed the issue for me. Now my software will work again with all the current updates installed and subsequent new updates thereafter. Thank you for your quick download links -- MAJOR help. Thank you!

  • The question remains.... why must we have to do this? It's not right.

    I believe MS are trying to discourage Win7 users to switch to Win10... another MS ploy that I absolutely hate. Shame on them!

  • Thank you very much solution one work

    sorry I forgot to add one in my first message

  • It might be easier to pull the titanic out of the ocean
    thanks for your effort to help us

  • I can confirm that solution one worked. I have windows 7 home edition sp1. Also, here is a tip for those who see the "searching for update" for more then 10 sec, when you click the exe after downloading it, a pop up should come up and " immediately" ask you if you want to download this update. Otherwise, what I did, because it took forever to get that confirmation, I had to open my CDM ( as executive administrator ) and enter " net stop wuauserv" to stop the downloading of the update. Wait about 10-15 second. You should get an error message. Click "ok" to close the error message, and RIGHT AWAY re-click the .exe to download the updates. After this, you should get the " Would you like to download this update? " message. Click "yes". And wait for the updates to finalize the download. Do the same thing again with all other updates. I don't know why it does that, but that's how I did it and got to download everything. Now, you don't have to "re-start" your PC each time you download a new update. You can download them all first and THEN restart your PC and THEN click the "search for update" in your windows updates control panel. I think it's a bug ( made on purpose? I don't know ) from Microsoft. Hope this help, because it took me 4 days to find a solution. Now all is fine. Got all my updates running on windows 7 sp1. PS ( sometimes, I had to restart my PC after downloading few updates as it seems that I couldn't download the next updates sometimes, so its ok to restart your pc anytime you want. )

  • Quick note that I experience the inability of obtaining updates after a fresh install of Windows 7 - Pro.
    I followed the steps above (under Solution 1) - downloading and installing all the referenced updates.
    After a final reboot - I was successfully able to get updates (208 of them!).
    Thanks for the help!

  • I was successfully able to get updates Windows 7.
    Many thanks for your help.

  • One year problem solved at last. Thank you.

  • I was struggling with this problem for weeks. Solution 1 worked, but I had to add one step to it. Before trying to check any new updates I turned off the automatic updates from the settings. That finally did it and I was able to install all the 200+ updates!

    Thank you so much!

  • I was having the same update stuck problem after I made a laptop system recovery, I tried Dave's solution (Dave Thank you sooo much! <3), but I did something different, as following,

    My system version is Windows 7 32-bit
    First, right-click on Internet Explorer, "Run as Administrater"
    Second, go to catalog.update.microsoft.com
    Third, search and download the following patches:
    (Remember to choose the right version of your patch!)

    KB3050265
    KB3065987
    KB3102810
    KB3135445
    KB3138612
    KB3161664
    KB3020369
    KB3172605
    KB3125574

    And then manually install all of them one by one. After you finish the installation, try right-click on Windows Update to run as administrator, and check for updates, thought the first check may takes approximately 10~20 mins, but it would get sooner afterwards.

    Hope this solution help you if you're having the same updating problem.

  • Just wanted to say a massive thank you, been having this problem for months which meant some 3rd party programs would no longer work due to the system being out of date. Searched a lot of other sites and tried everything. I'd resigned myself to a format when I had the time but tried solutions 2 and 3 here and it's fixed!

    Thanks again!

  • Thanks for the help .
    Solution 2 worked for me as a complete ignoramus .
    I had to have a replacement hard disc and the shop said that updates are automatically installed, clearly nonsense.
    You just have to read carefully and install the prerequisite and use Explorer and remove the auto update .And then wait for several hours .
    This has been a godsend .
    Thanks again .

  • Wow. After long searching on the internet and trying actually solution 3 worked for my PC.
    Thanks!

  • Fixing Windows Update on Windows 7 Pro, SP-1, 64 bit systems using FireFox browser.

    Relevant Links:
    http://www.askvg.com/fix-windows-7-keeps-checking-for-updates-for-hours/
    http://www.askvg.com/microsoft-offers-a-way-to-prevent-automatic-windows-10-upgrade-on-windows-7-computers/

    Screen shots were eliminated when pasted to this window.

    The following is gleaned predominantly from the first of the above links. The askvg.com web site is very good and includes multiple methods for fixing this vexing problem. Due to changes in MS updating Windows 7 computers Windows Update client indicates that it is looking for updates and will indicate that for as long as you want to wait. So you have to close it with no result. The screen seen with this problem follows.

    (from askvg site)

    The askvg.com web site gives several solutions and there are many responses praising the web site and giving additional help and information. I was able to solve my own problem using Solution 1 by installing the following programs manually. Some were already on my system some were not. The recommended list of updates is as follows.

    KB3050265
    KB3065987
    KB3102810
    KB3135445
    KB3138612
    KB3161664
    KB3020369
    KB3172605

    First I rendered Windows update client inoperable by two methods, using both. The first was by changing settings in the Window Update client by clicking the Start button, finding Windows Update in the program list, clicking on it and then clicking Change settings (see above screen). In the drop down menu choose “Never check for updates (not recommended)” and click “OK”. Then go into services and STOP Windows Update (wuauserv). One way to get there is Control Panel/System and Security/Administrative Tools/Services/. Highlight Windows Update and click on Stop. The Windows Update Agent is now neutered. See the following screen print. When all downloads are finished and installations completed both of the above changes must be reversed to their original state.

    Next I downloaded and saved the files indicated above. You can go to the first askvg.com link and use the direct links found there for 64 or 32 bit systems. I Googled the file names and download them to a folder from MS. If you Google “KB3050265” (without quotes) there should be an obvious MS download link, see following example.

    Download Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems - Microsoft
    microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=47351
    Jun 2, 2015 - Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB3050265). Select Language: Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese (Hong Kong SAR), Chinese ...

    Click on the link and the DOWNLOAD bar in the MS page and you should get the following window. Choose Save File and OK and download to a specified folder.

    I downloaded the .msu files in the order shown to a folder and then one by one ran them. Double clicking the .msu files apparently runs wusa.exe, the Windows Standalone Update Installer, thus installing the KB file. I did not restart my computer unless there was a restart prompt. The following is a list of the results for each file for my Windows 7 Pro SP-1 Dell laptop.

    KB3050265 Already on system
    KB3065987 Already on system
    KB3102810 Installed
    KB3135445 Installed
    KB3138612 Already on system
    KB3161664 Installed and Prompted to Reboot
    KB3020369 Already on system
    KB3172605 Installed and Prompted to Reboot

    List of .msu files run:

    Note that KB3065987 is a second version (Windows6.1-KB3065987-v2-x64.msu. I ran it and did not look for the original KB3065987. When you double click on a file a window pops up and it either prompts you to install the file or indicates that the file already exists. Install missing files and Reboot if prompted.

    KB3020369 is included in the downloads for it allows for you to exclude the download of Windows 10 onto your system when Automatic Downloads is chosen in Windows Update (it may prevent you from manually installing as well but I was not willing to try that, the last thing I want is Windows 10 on my laptop). I went through the method as outlined in the second askvg.com link listed at the top of these directions. It is slick and straight forward. I wanted to do this before I attempted to download files.

    After going to Windows Update and changing back to the original settings (I prefer "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them") I entered Services again resetting Windows Update (wuauserv) to RESTART and then rebooted the computer. I opened Windows Update again and clicked Check for Updates. It took quite a while to find about 550 MB of program updates to download. The following screen indicates the updates available several days after my first complete download.

    I always open “important updates are available” and “optional updates are available” and use the check boxes to choose what I really want to download. This has allowed me to avoid the dreaded Bing bar 7.1, KB2673772, 5.5 MB by unchecking the appropriate box. Good luck with this. Longview

  • I did solution 1 last night. Two of the upgrades failed: KB2742613 and KB2861208. I am a Luddite so do not know what to do next. IE will not run. I have also been getting a message about "dwm.exe and dxgi.dll" not being installed but that happened before the updates. When I try the Windows help, it just sits there spinning and the only way I can close it is by using Task Manager. A friend told me to create a restore point, which I did, before I started this process. I am using Firefox to do this. (Fortunately, I wrote down this website address with my handy-dandy pencil and piece of paper.) Thank you in advance.

  • Many, many thanks. Solution 1 has done it. All sorts of oddities appear to be fixed.

  • This article is now pretty out of date. The magic patch you need is KB3172605, i.e. the last of the additional patches Dan listed. This is the July 2016 update roll-up. It incorporates all the fixes from the June 2016 rollup, specifically KB3161647 "Windows Update Client for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: June 2016". This supersedes earlier Windows Update related patches so you don't need the previous ones.

    The difficulty is actually getting Windows to install this as once Windows Update has got into a stuck state it won't let you install it. So you will need to disable automatic updates, reboot (or kill the process) then run KB3161647.

    "SOLUTION 2: Install All Updates Using Official Convenience Rollup Package" is not sufficient or necessary as this was released in April 2016 so does not include the July 2016 update. However if you're starting from a clean Win 7 SP1 install to speed the update process I would install the convenience rollup first then the July 2016 update (I don't know what happens if you install them out of sequence).

  • March 23th 2017 , Windows 7 ....
    Thank you worked great ...

  • An extra tip:

    For users who are stuck when manually installing an update .msu file.

    This means "searching for updates on this computer" keeps on running.

    Fix:

    In update setting change to: Never check for updates.

    Regards Frank

  • Thank you very much. Solution 1 (and disconnecting any internet access during the installation of those patches) worked for me.

  • Brilliant! Solution 1 worked perfectly. Many thanks to all involved. Some Windows 7 updates listed above on this old system of mine had already been installed, the few missing once updated directly restored the Windows Updater to full function, and I am now up to date with the missing security and other updates. Never know what Microsoft may be forced to provide in updates for historic systems, as the ransomware game grows, so good to be able to update correctly again!!

  • After the recent security scare I checked and found I hadn't had an auto update since October 2016 and searching for updates provoked the endless search noted above. I tried Jons solution and had the same problem, but with NTList I manged to get 2 updates installed. However attempts to load the other 6 met with no success - NTList read for hours but produced nothing for the update queue. I visited the Microsoft site to read the latest and left a comment that nothing was being done for the Windows 7 users update problem. I then looked on the control panel update page and there was a message that 14 updates were ready to install. It wasn't there an hour earlier when I tried another fruitless search for updates. How did that happen!

  • Re: [Fix] Windows 7 Keeps Checking for Updates for Hours
    My windows 7 machine had developed this problem at the end of 2016. I worked through all of these 2 sets of downloads (it turned out that some were already installed, others were not needed, but a few did also install). Well, lo and behold it fixed the problem. In my case I'm super careful and never trust any links so I searched separately for the downloads based on the update numbers rather than using the links supplied on this site (no offence intended). Anyway, all fixed and much appreciated. Many thanks - Jonah.

  • Thank you. It's working 100%.

  • Great article!
    Installing the update files may hang in certain instances. You may have to stop the wusa.exe and the svchost.exe that has the highest CPU usage. Then restart the update. You might have to do this several times for the update to install.

    To view which processes are running simply right click your mouse on the task bar ans select "start task manager" Once the Task Manager has opened select "show processes from all users" in the bottom right hand corner.

  • THANK YOU! Solution 1 using the downloaded manual installs worked great. BUT:
    With Win 7 SP1 64-bit:
    1) I turned OFF all automatic updates via Control Panel.
    2) Contrary to the other users I HAD TO LEAVE THE wuauserv SERVICE RUNNING as the manual updates seem to look for that service and produced errors if it was off. When on, each of them smoothly installed with a restart required between most.
    and then a full Windows Update worked just fine. Joy!

  • Hello !

    Solution 1 solved the problem... finally ! Thank you !

  • Thank you to everyone who contributed to this fix, it worked great, and I appreciate it. :)

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