Vol. 21, #40 - October 3, 2016 - Issue #1100

Reader Feedback: Windows 7 updating pain

Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter is devoted to sharing some of the feedback we received to Issue #1098 Windows 7 updating pain. A number of readers weighed in with their own recommendations and solutions to the problem of why it can literally takes days for Windows 7 PCs to download new updates from Windows Update, and this often leaves the CPU pegged at %100 percent on their PCs which makes them slow and unresponsive and difficult to use to get actual work done on them. And if you're still running Windows 7 on your PCs, we also have some tips, tools and other stuff in this week's newsletter that can help keep you occupied while you're waiting for your PCs to update themselves...
Which reminds me of this Dilbert comic about how productivity software can sometimes make you less productive:


Ask Our Readers - Impact of HTML5 video on PC performance

A reader named Michael sent us the following question which he's been unable to dig up an answer for anywhere else--maybe one of our readers can help?

Maybe I just don't get it, maybe it's a non-issue, maybe I'm just too old and cynical, but I don't understand why "The World, et-al" is declaring HTML5 video to be the savior of the internet and the death of flash as a video format, when all it is, is a container.  One still has to stick a video, of some format, inside the HTML5 video container, and I am noticing that people are sticking flash videos inside it.  I don't understand how this improves anything, and the one thing I have also noticed is how much harder my computer has to work since it is dealing with 2 things now, the container and the video stream, whereas before, my computer could deal with just the video stream much more efficiently.

I tried asking this a couple of places, and I am greeted with blank stares and links to pamphlets like, Everything one needs to know about the new HTML5 standards... yea! Guess I'll just buy myself a tin foil hat with the slogan - The sky is falling.

Do any readers have anything more than a blank stare to offer in response to whether this is a real issue that can impact PC performance and what users can do about it? Email us at [email protected]

Ask Our Readers: WServerNews has almost 100,000 subscribers worldwide. That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at [email protected]

Could this possibly be the solution?

Eric who is Information Technology Manager for a non-profit organization based in New York City said:

I also had issues with Windows update taking a long time and taking up a lot of RAM. Installing KB3172605 should fix this issue. KB3020369 needs to be installed first. There are a couple of previous updates that also fix this issue but 605 is the latest CU I think.

In talking with several MVPs and someone at Microsoft this does seem to have solved the problem on those of our own PCs that are still running Windows 7. The actual procedure should look something like this:

1. Change the Windows Update settings on the PC to "Never check for updates (not recommended)". I'm told that this is important because if you don't do it these updates won't get installed.
2. Open a PowerShell prompt and type Get-HotFix -Id KB3020369 to verify whether the KB3020369 hotfix is already installed. If it isn't installed, download the hotfix from here:


Double-click on the downloaded update to install it. A restart will be required to finish the installation.

3. Open a PowerShell prompt and type Get-HotFix -Id KB3172605 to verify whether the KB3172605 hotfix is already installed. If it isn't installed, download the hotfix from here:


Double-click on the downloaded update to install it. Another restart will be required to finish the installation.
4. Change the Windows Update settings on the PC to "Install updates automatically (recommended)" or one of the other settings if preferred.

5. Check for new updates.

As I said, performing these steps seems to have resolved both the problem of how much time it takes for new updates to be downloaded and also the CPU running at 100% while updates are being downloaded and even afterwards before they are installed on the machine. But we've still decided to include a bunch of additional suggestions from other readers below since it's quite possible some of them may have deeper insight into what the nature of the underlying problem is and how to fix or workaround the problem.

Installing KB3135445 and KB3102810

A reader named Danny from Atlanta, Georgia, USA offered the following suggestion:

Google KB3135445 for 32bit or 64bit as needed then install and then reboot machine then start Windows update again and walk away for up to 15 min and your update list will populate and allow you to update. Especially helpful on a fresh reload after sp1 is installed. Also KB3102810. Tested on multiple systems (client and personal) in repair facility with excellent results. Hope this was helpful.

For what it's worth, KB3102810 is already installed on our Windows 7 computers but KB3135445 hasn't, so if the problem reappears on these machines we might consider installing KB3135445 on them. But from what I can understand it looks like KB3135445 has been superseded by KB3138612 which Get-Hotfix tells me is already installed on these systems, so I guess we won't try installing KB3135445 on them. However, further research suggests that KB3138612 itself has now been superseded by KB3161647:


So we might try installing this hotfix if the problem reappears on our machines.

Resetting the Windows Update components

Another reader named Susan who works for an agricultural company offered this suggestion:

I also have been experiencing Windows 7 updating pains on a few different computers.  Microsoft used to have a tool that automatically cleaned up and restored Windows Update, (Fixit tool), but for some reason beyond my fathom, seems to have taken that down.

It took a lot of Googling and hitting many different sites before I found the Microsoft support article listed below.  This is what the FixIt tool did automatically.  Once I manually went through these steps, the computer I was having issues with instantly updated.


Good luck to others facing the same problem.

The Microsoft support article referenced by Susan explains how to automatically reset Windows Update components in different versions of Windows, and it's a useful article to bookmark for future reference. For what it's worth, I did try this on several machines experiencing the problem and it didn't seem to fix things. However, running this tool may fix other problems that can affect the performance of updating Windows machines.

Some suggestions from Sysnative

Brian who is a Moderator/Instructor at Sysnative, a collection of online support forums and tutorials run by a number of IT professionals and some Microsoft MVPs, sent us the following recommendation:

I've assisted many users with the exact same symptoms. The following guide should assist all users with this issue:


Once the issue is resolved, it may show up again the next month after updates but the articles in the post are continuously updated each month as to what needs installed. If anyone still has issues after attempting to follow the article, they may post an inquiry in our Windows Update forum and we would be happy to assist.


If you have some time you might want to check out some of the other forums available at Sysnative:


Use the WSUS Offline Update tool

An anonymous reader pointed us to a tool called WSUS Offline Update which may be helpful for some scenarios faced by some of our readers:

This is usually down to a corrupt catalog or a missing update. Use WSUS Offline Update to force all the required updates onto the machine and it will then run as it used to (or at least it's worked for me on two different machines.

I've never heard of this particular tool but it sounds pretty cool. You can find a link to it in the Admin Tools section of this week's newsletter. I asked Anonymous if he/she could tell me a bit more about their experience using this tool and he/she replied as follows:

Quite simple (although the instructions are sparse). I essentially does what the SURT [Editor's note: System Update Readiness Tool) does but in a transparent manner. You run the down loader on any machine, specifying the target OS (it does OS, Office, .NET and a few other Microsoft Tools). Then it creates a .\client directory and downloads (allegedly) only the missing updates (but I suspect all possible); which takes about 2-3 hours on DSL. You then run the update launcher in the .\client directory and it runs all the updates on to the machine. If you supply credentials it will reboot as required.
I had a damaged Win 7 Dell laptop (which was upgraded from Vista as one of the last Vistas delivered) that got Windows Update nuked during the Win 10 update issues; It couldn't find updates to install and would take up to 40 mins to reboot if updates were supplied SURT couldn't fix it but WSUS did.
I also had a Win 7 Dell given to me at work with a bare install and no drivers (standard image didn't support it apparently); I loaded up the Dell drivers and pointed WSUS at it and 5 hours later it was ready to rock.
The tool claims to do any O/S 7+ and I don't doubt it. Solid gold and free.

Stopping the Windows Update Service

A reader named Mark wrote to us with the following observation:

We have found that when trying to update Windows 7 machines, if we step the Windows Update service on the machine, it will find and download the updates much more quickly. Then after it's up to date, starting the service again will keep it that way.

I don't know if this would help the Windows 7 slow updating issue or not, but we actually disable the Windows Update Service on our handful Windows 10 machines to prevent them from automatically downloading updates while we're trying to use the machines to get some work done on them. Then on Friday afternoon before end of day we change the WU Service startup setting from Disabled back to Manual (Triggered Start) and manually check for updates on them and download and install any available updates. Which reminds me, I should automate that sometime.

Installing a bunch of hotfixes

Another reader named Ted sent us the following email:

Regarding "Windows 7 updating pain" I have many clients which are standard Windows 7 Pro environments. During the last couple months, I have installed about 50 new HP computers. (Various models). These systems ship with Windows 7 Pro pre-installed. (Windows 10 discs included in the box). While setting up these systems, we also install all the latest Windows updates. Depending on the base image used, there might be 100+ Windows updates. We have recently started using the "Windows7 SP1 Convenience Rollup". We have found that if the system has any network access, the Windows installer will get stuck forever at "checking for windows updates". So, we now disable Wifi, and disconnect any network before proceeding. Here is the sequence:
1. Disconnect all networks
2. Windows6.1-KB3138612-x64.msu
3. Restart
4. Windows6.1-KB3145739-x64.msu
5. Restart
6. Windows6.1-KB3020369-x64.msu
7. Windows6.1-kb3125574-v4-x64_2dafb1d203c8964239af3048b5dd4b1264cd93b9.msu
8. Restart
9. Connect network

I can't comment on Ted's solution and will just present it to you "as is" as shown above.

Just wait it out

Finally, a reader named Bill found this solution which seems to have satisfied his customers:

We have seen many of our customers having this issue all summer long.  It is accompanied by the SVCHOST process sitting at 1 full core (25% on a 4-core machine, 12% on an 8-core machine, etc.) and sometimes, especially with laptops, the computer ramping up the CPU, getting hot, and turning the fan up to full speed, too -- which makes it REALLY noticeable. Thus far, the ONLY solution we have seen has been to wait it out.

This can work provided it doesn't happen to your Win7 PCs during your workweek. What you could do is this: if WU pegs your CPU at 100% on Tuesday, open Services.msc and stop the Windows Update Service and change the Startup setting for the service to Disabled and your CPU should return to normal. Then late Friday afternoon, change the Startup setting for this service back to Automatic, open Windows Update, check for updates, leave your PC on, and go home. Enjoy your weekend. Hopefully on Monday your computer(s) will have finished downloading and installing updates.

Or better yet, try the first solution near the top of this newsletter.

Hold the presses!

Here is one more possibly useful resource on fixing these updating issues, it's available in both English and German and was recommended to me by an MVP:


Send us your feedback

 Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]

Recommended for Learning

PowerShell video training

Looking for some video training on PowerShell? Here's a link to all of the courses on this topic offered by Pluralsight:


Microsoft Virtual Academy

New training courses from Microsoft

In this blog post, Ingrid Henkel, learning evangelist for Microsoft Learning Experiences spotlights brand-new courses from MVA and edX.  Here's There's a little something for everyone, whether you're prepping for a Microsoft certification exam, interested in Azure Security Center, Data Science, DevOps, and much more.  Check out what Ingrid has to say!


Quote of the Week

"If I read a book that cost me $20 and I get one good idea, I've gotten one of the greatest bargains of all time." --Tom Peters

Until next week,
Mitch Tulloch

Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don't receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we'll try to troubleshoot things from our end.

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

Do you protect your Hyper-V & VMware VMs against data loss? Altaro VM Backup is a hassle-free and affordably priced virtual machine backup solution. Don’t miss out, grab your free copy now!


WSUS Offline Update lets you safely and quickly update any computer running Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office without an Internet connection:


WinSSHTerm is a portable PuTTY/KiTTY interface for accessing remote systems via SSH:


ExPerfWiz is a powershell based script to help automate the collection of performance data on Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010/2013 servers:


This Week's Tips

GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]

Printing - Beware of HP firmware update

A colleague alerted us to the following article on Ghacks.com:


The article begins with: "HP released a firmware update on March 12, 2016 for several of the company's Officejet printers that renders non-HP ink cartridges useless."
Organizations that have HP OfficeJet printers and are using non-HP ink cartridges may want to hold off applying this firmware update if they haven't already done so.

Malware - Not really browser hijacking

Back in Issue #1092 Reader feedback: Tech support scams we included some reader stories about browser hijacking. A reader named Mike wrote us to inform us about a similar problem and how he resolved it:

Had this one with tech connect a few days ago. Actually it is not a real hijack of the browser(s) that is why none of the anti malware seems to find it, but look at the shortcut icons on the desktop, task bar, or start menu, you will see that the "virus" has actually just appended the site URL to all of the shortcuts. You can open properties of each shortcut and remove the extra URL from the target line.

Perhaps this might be of use to some of our readers.

Windows - Safely run iTunes

Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) tweeted something helpful for users like me who find iTunes bogs down their Windows PCs but need iTunes installed because they own iPads:

"The safest and easiest way to use iTunes for Windows is to install it into a Virtual Machine, then just delete the whole Virtual Machine."

You can find Scott's tweet here:


Scott is a coder and his blog and podcasts are worth following if you're into .NET and similar stuff:


Events Calendar

North America

Microsoft Ignite Australia on February 14-17, 2017 at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach, QLD


Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) on July 9-13. 2017 in Washington, D.C.


Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

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WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

Extreme Aircraft - The Ekranoplan

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Ken Block - Gymkhana Nine - Drifting in Buffalo NY

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WServerNews - Product of the Week


WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his  outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.