[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 2 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.

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

  • Thanks.
    Very good summary of the solutions. Good work. Again it was and is, worth to be in Your newsletter list.

  • I doubt if any of these methods work, as MS is making it very difficult to update new copy of windows7, especially 64bit.
    I have tried Updates Using Official Convenience Rollup Package, but even after 90minutes, there was no show of updates.
    Also tried Fixit tool, but it says no issues found.
    I had similar problem with 32bit OS, but I solved it after updating the Windows Update Client to a specific one.
    btw, the KBs listed in the post above are all for Windows Update Client, last one being the latest. Do you still recommend installing them all?

    Just an FYI that a fresh 64bit WIn7 without sp1 showed updates in less than 4 minutes.

    Looking forward for your response.

  • VG

    ^^ Those all updates were listed as a precaution. I have checked on several Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit machines and installing those updates fixed the problem.

  • 01. Enable Automatic Update (leaving the 03H00).
    02. Leave the PC on overnight
    03. Re-start the computer the next day,
    04. Repeat the process until it is possible to see the progress bar or until no more updates.
    05. After 3/4 days all Updates are installed.

    06. Back to configure the update manual.
    07. Install all necessary programs.

    (NOTE: This happens to be many computers trying to access updates, and few servers to provide updates, soon to leave your computer at some point this can connect to the server and update)

    Works starting the Widows 7 SP1.

  • I'm on Windows 7 SP1 x86

    To resolve this issue:

    - first install KB3145739 manually. Go to Microsoft website to download and then install, even if your Installed History already shows this update. Download page:

    microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=51857

    - next you should restart and finally you can check for updates in manual mode.

    It takes between 5 or 10 minutes.

    It worked for me! Thanks to: Chooky :-)

  • Vishal Sir,

    Is it necessary to install these updates in the same order as shown above or we can install them i any random order ?

  • VG

    ^^ It would be better if you install them in the mentioned order.

  • Thank you Sir.

    Much obliged

  • Usually long on the checking for updates, it also affects the install updates manually. I've downloaded all the KB that is on the list above, but when I open the file, after that it just keeps "Searching for updates on this computer..." dialog box for long time, just like "checking for updates" on the Windows Update. Usually after that KB name file dialog box appears, and it's not. Any solution?

  • VG, I wanted to say THANK YOU!!
    I work on computers on a regular basis. I have not had any issues installing updates until last week. I first suspected that it was a bad update from Patch Tuesday. I had several computers that would hang on "Checking for updates". I uninstalled updates one by one, same issue. I tried multiple attempts of troubleshooting for hours and so-called solutions with no luck. I wiped one of the laptops and installed a fresh install of Windows 7 64-bit. I had the same issue with hanging on "Checking for updates". I found your solution 6/23/16. I was able to use SOLUTION 1: Install Required Updates for Windows Update Client Manually, with great success. It worked perfect. It works on 32 bit and 64 bit. I am extremely grateful for your help!!!
    Val

  • Finally found something appropriate. I spent 3 of the last 5 days fighting to download and install updates on a Win 7 x64 home edition. Not having problems with Win 7 x64 Pro. Both laptops have only had manual updates, but the HE is my child's and she neglects maintenance.

    Anyway, her HP will not even install the updates. Just keeps "checking for updates" after I open the individual file. Also, only a blank page when I link to the support site. If I open it in "InPrivate", the page comes up. I click the download and it hangs. I think MS is not recognizing the HP as registered. Also notice my CBS log folders files have locks on them. I click on the SUR.log to open it and it says 'Access is denied'. I think this is why Windows Update is not working in my case. I cannot access the Server.

  • Gianni,
    KB3145379 is a critical security update for Windows. It should have no bearing on getting WUpdates to work again. Also, the first update listed, KB3050265, is a blocker for Win10 garbage. If you manually install updates, you will hide all of your Win10 and telemetry patches anyway.

    VG, I was unable to get any of the updates to do anything but pop up with 'Searching for Updates'.

    My issue as well as others, is that the update Clients have changed since January, the MS and FixIt links have changed or have stopped support, and Microsoft is failing miserably with the 10 rollout. My solution to this mess was to stop WUpdates on all of our computers. Keep your AV, Firewall, SAS, CCleaner running and use InPrivate and SmartScreen on IE.

    Incidentally, I reset IE11 and it took me to a third-party installer, ending in Microsoft.net. Found out it is a 'new' thing related to Azure. I basically reinstalled IE11. Option to run MS Updates set WUpdates to Automatically install. It looked the Settings and said I had to have Admin rights. I do. Found a registry fix in MS support. Cool trick, reversed the 'Lock" and I set WUpdate to not do anything.

  • Stay away from Convenience Rollup (KB3125574) it has many issues:
    windows-update-checker.com/FAQ/ConvenienceRollupKB3125574-Issues.htm
    For me the main problem was the SFC integrity error, also it didn't fix my windows update.

    I tried everything here and nothing worked, the only way was to install these 2:
    KB3161608
    KB3161664

  • Not working here either, installed all those updates mentioned in this topic with no luck. Not really sure if Microsoft servers are struggling or what but Windows Update worked much better last year. I even tried a clean install to fix all plausible hidden bugs and erros.

  • @Dan

    Thanks mate, after installing those 2 updates Windows Update found new updates in seconds.

  • solution 1 is the best of all
    I just returned from windows 10 and was fighting with the updates
    Thanks

    Long life to Windows 7

  • Installing the updates to Windows Update will result in becoming victimized by Microsoft's unscrupulous, aggressive and invasive tactics to force the Windows 10 operating system upgrade on your computer.

  • Followed every step of your tutorial, in the final reboot, after ~60min of checking updates finally I got updates!!! And I can download them too!!!
    Thanks for your valuable time creating this awesome tutorial :D

  • Very nice help I've got here. I had this problem and I finally got the update working with a combination of solution 1 and 2.
    I'll explain (in bad english): I startet with solution 1, but the update KB3161608 would not work no my computer (I actually found it much earlier from another website-solution). So I went on to solution 2 (though I must admit, that you could rewrite that solution in its own article). It went well, but my update was not working. So now I tried the KB missing from before, and behold: I could now install that update, and everything is now fine. Finally...
    I also went through a scan in cmd (i did not understand completly), and it found some problem and fixed it before I got to theese solutions here...
    I had the same problem on another computer, but there I could just flush dns... ("ipconfig /flushdns".
    This is really an annoying problem, but then again. If I didn't like challenges, I would not be using Microsoft... :p
    Anyway. Thanks so much for this article!

  • Hi

    i found out about a new one KB3172605

    i found also a little error about script to windows update (there should be no space between Windows and Update in that script
    ****
    METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor (regedit.exe)

    If you are using Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium edition, you'll not be able to run gpedit.msc command because these editions don't come with Group Policy Editor. But you can enable Group Policy Editor in these editions using this tutorial.

    If you can't use or don't want to use Group Policy Editor, you can take help of Registry Editor for the same task. Just follow these simple steps:

    1. Type regedit in RUN or Start Menu search box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

    2. Now go to following key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

    3. Create a new key under Windows key and set its name as Windows Update

    4. Now in right-side pane, create a new DWORD DisableOSUpgrade and set its value to 1

  • I was fixing another computer and came back to this article. KB3161608 file is not available anymore, according to its page the update is superseded by KB3172605.

    Also not related but I've tried to download updates from non direct links on chrome and it didn't work on 2 computers, had to use IE.

  • VG

    Thanks guys for the heads up. I have updated the article with new information.

  • KB3172605 needs KB3020369 to be installed before, at least KB3020369 doesn't require restart.

  • VG

    ^^ Thanks. Updated the tutorial.

  • Hi

    as i have readed somewhere

    kb3065987 do replaces KB3020369

    KB3168965 replaces KB3161664 .. Info site about that update

  • THANK YOU. After four days of googling, installing, restarting, waiting, re-googling..., your list of updates did it.

    Thank you thank you.

  • I had a similar issue to this with a fresh install (August 2016). After installing SP1, I was no longer able to receive updates. It turns out, it was getting stuck on Windows 10 checks and not giving me more updates. I installed Never 10, and magically I was able to update again. lol. It showed me the 184 important updates it already knew I needed.

    Silly Windows...

  • Stef: yes i have a solution, star task manager and end the process of the manual update that is running, then go to control panel > administrative tools > service > windows update > restart, wait for win update restart. now you are able to install the manual updates for some minutes.... if those are not installed yet they will be installed. restart windows if needed, and repeat the sequence for the others manual updates remained to install. You will find that some of those are installed yed. then go to install the others updates.

    TO download the ms updates from ms sites, you need Opera browser that is not hiding the download links and the download text messages...

  • I had to install Windows6.1-KB3172605-x64.msu , now is working ,thank you for the guide.

  • It's Absurd the number of kb client updates, EIGHT . And i update every month ,never it proposed me to install KB3172605 ,and without it ,it Could not to update the whole windows 7 x64, it was trying hours and hours to get updates but no clue how to solve, to get KB3172605 ,restart win update via SERVICES (inside administrative tools, inside control panel) and update it manually (using KB3172605) and then trying again to update windows with windows update ,wait for other 20 or 30 minutes and solve the situation. Damned microsoft.

  • Thank you guys, I installed W7 today and was struggling with WU till 3am this sunday/monday night and I found this guide, installed the 5 updates, and after the last one tried windows update and saw "Downloading 237 updates .....".

  • Manual install KB3172605 alone saved me!

  • Solution 1 really saved me, I like to thank you all who share it. I highly suspect that Microsoft making updates for Win 7 as difficult as possible to force people to switch to Win 10 which would be an immoral practice and could only hurt their reputation.

  • These solutions -◦

    KB3050265 (Also read this)
    ◦KB3065987
    ◦KB3102810
    ◦KB3135445
    ◦KB3138612

    Were kind of a catch 22. When executed, they look for updates on the computer, that is part of the problem, besides windows updates. Why don't they just install, and for get about the updates?

  • Solution 1 rocks!! Both for my laptop and desktop.
    Thank you very much, after long stumbling and research this helped.
    2 problems solved: Message "downloading updates", but nothing download and "searching updates", but nothing found.
    please go on with this very helpfull tutorials,
    Jan

  • Thanks alot!

  • THANK YOU! After a month of researching this problem and finding no solutions, your instructions worked where others I found across the internet failed! I too ran into the problem of these updates you listed sticking like glue on "searching for updates on this computer." Enrico's response to Stef to start SERVICES and restart Windows Update as a solution that would temporarily allow the updates to install worked! I only needed the latest two as I already had the others installed from before. I was last able to install updates on 6/17/16 before today. I have Windows 7 64-bit installed on a second Bootcamp partition of my MacBook Pro. This experience has left me wanting to abandon Microsoft forever!

    Windows Update is now again finding updates and downloading them after two months of constant stonewalling and intense annoyance. Thank you again! This was really beginning to piss me off!

  • I should have came to this site first! after three days of apparent but unsuccessful researching and steps taken. I finally landed here and after completing the first step I'm updating!

    Smh, I can't tell you enough how helpful all this information has been and the explanation that you give makes perfect shrewd business sense, which equals to frustration for consumers still on windows 7..

    "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."

    you deserve a donation.

  • Even the stand-alone installer won't work...it too gets stuck 'searching for already installed updates" and won't budge. I found another website that shows a way to manually reset windows update components using a command prompt. If I can't get my system to stabilize I'm going to have to re-install my OS anyways so I am tempted to try the DOS method. The problem is Microsoft in it's infinite greed and cheapness did not include a system disk with my last computer and my system image failed so I have to contact them and order the disk using the registration key on the computer. I really really HATE Microsoft about now! They purposely sabotaged 7 to force people to leave it and move to 10 out of pure disgust. The countless DAYS I have spent trying to get my computer working properly again can never be recovered. I think it's odd that my PC is about to crash and burn with 7 but the notebook I am using right now doesn't have those issues.

  • I read some other posts here and saw one person having this issue and suggested turning on then off the Windows Update process in Services. So far the first two stand-alone updates have worked (2nd one just finished installing).

    I'll post again and let everyone know if I finally get my WU to work correctly.

  • Amazing. I was getting worried since i installed service pack 1 on my windows 7. but after installing all the updates listed it worked. it took about 15 minutes or so to come up but it did eventually. Thank you.

  • As stated, I am reporting back:

    Out of the original set, the ones ending in 2810 and 8612 gave me "Not applicable to your computer". I got the same with one of the next 3 listed (the one ending in 1664). Otherwise, all the rest installed correctly, Windows Update took a little while but it finally downloaded all the latest important update and a display graphics driver update for AMD. System seems to running much faster now. I made sure to create a restore point when everything was done.

  • Thank You VERY MUCH.
    I was happy reading Your instructions, I got the feeling that this guys knows what they are speaking about. I was quite sure about success so I was not suprised when I now after 2 days of fighting got this new Computer to work. I have tried everything.

    This is one of the cases where I should want to send a big Invoice to this %¤#)& Microsoft and uncle Bill. Their points 1 Kelvin.

    Thank You for Your very good work and for sharing it!

  • To all of you having problems 'manually' installing the updates in solution 1 you have to download the files and save them to your hard drive (or some removable media), then disconnect from the internet, then install them. Otherwise most of them will get stuck in the same loop of looking for updates. The key is to disconnect from the internet. Once you do that they will say looking for updates for a minute or two then give you the option to go ahead and install them.

    The reason it doesn't work while connected is they are looking for the latest version of the very update you are attempting to install. No internet and they give up after a minute or two.

  • Also, make sure an restart/reboot every time you are prompted to. Don't keep going and try to restart just once as it has a nasty habit of causing problems/conflicts.

  • Wow! I never make comments on blogs. This one absolutely commends that I do. I installed the five above. Reboot. Hit check for updates and voila, there were 242 waiting to be installed.

    Thanks much!!!

  • WOW, thankyou so much. I have spent soooooooooo much time looking around the net for an answer and here it was. THANKYOU

  • Thanks so much. Solution 1 worked for me. However, some of the updates required Windows Update Service to be 'stopped'. I can't tell you how relieved I am to get this working again...

  • Thank you! It works! I found that I had to do the manual installs right after boot up. If I waited, the "automatic windows check" would run in the background and the manual installs would not work. Don't ask me why, but that was the case.

  • 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.

  • Thanks so much for this page. . . been to a ton of other web pages including microsoft solutions and this (Solution 1) was the only one that worked - following clean re-install of Windows 7.

    I will just note , in solution Number 1 for the 32-bit edition of Windows 7, specifically the 8 direct download links : The 6th download [ KB3161664 ] took at least 5 times longer to install - not the installation itself , but the "Searching for updates on this computer" stage which happens just prior to installation. If anyone else has that problem, just be a little bit patient and see if it completes.

    Cheers, askvg, and David, Bill, TrollBites and Steve.

  • Windows 7 update takes forever after new install....tried many solutions but then ask get.com .com website gave solution.....Like Dan said removed internet cable and install KB 3172605 and boom update started to work....u Guys deserved award....thanks for help.God bless

  • did the trick!!!...Thanx a bunch!!!

  • really thanks
    I have lost 24 hours for the solution and your post worked with me

  • I recently purchased a refurbished laptop on ebay with Windows 7, SP1. (This is the same as a new install.) I tried all the Microsoft fixes to update Windows, but nothing worked. I followed your advice in Solution 1. Had to restart after every install. Then, BOOM, the updates started flowing in. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!!

  • thanks a lot for your efforts , windows updates works very fine thanks to you.

  • Thanks so much.
    Solution 1 worked for me

  • Solution 1 with some minor adjustmens worked:
    - noticed that next msu "hanged" in looking for updates once the previous one had been installed. My solution was to kill the WUSA process and boot just in case. Then next one went in with no prob. Those "optional ones" in end of list were probably not needed.
    - after last boot, Windows Update automatically announced 265 critical updates plus 11 optional ones.
    - Oh and thanks for the Group Policy tip on how to eliminate the W10 update suggestion(s), which have actively ruined one perfectly running W7 pc and crippled another one (from 2007 and 2008), due to missing drivers.
    All the best, this saved a lot of hassle.

    I guess many non-technically oriented people happily use their W7 and wonder not why no updates. Having done some W7 installations in later few years, I was pretty sure there should have been tons of updates which suspicion got me finally here.

    Good work! And many thanks.

  • Hi, please install this update before trying the above updates and it worked for me.

    32 bit: microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=52214
    64 bit: microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=52232
    After installing this update, reboot the computer and install all above mentioned updates.
    Good luck!

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