interesting... I've never seen this. My Ultimate x64 rig was fairly well up to date but I wanted to grab what I could for Office 2003 since I had had some trouble with Excel.
So I plucked off some of the recent Windows 7 security updates and the office 2003 updates and let it start downloading. afterward needed a Restart. on Restart the "configuring updates" hung at the first stage and never moved for more than 2 hours [this is a fairly potent desktop] so I had no choice that I know of but to kill.
on restart to safe mode + networking, it took awhile but reverted the failures.
My inclination is to take one update at a time, as I have time, and see if there is one in the pile that just will not fly.
What is the expert recommendation in such a case?