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Windows 7: Windows update never stops checking for updates

26 Sep 2015   #1
tim1mw

Windows 7 Pro, 32 and 64 Bit
 
 
Windows update never stops checking for updates

Hi All,

I've been having a major problem with windows update for the last week or so, it's getting stuck "Checking for updates". Not only that, but I'm seeing this problem on 3 different installations with different underlying hardware. The 3 systems are:

1- VitrualBox (Linux Host) running Win7 Pro 32bit. This was last used July 2015 and was fully updated then.
2- Thinkpad X61 with SSD (which does NOT report 4k physical sectors/advanced format). Clean install this week of W7 Pro 64bit SP1 from official Microsoft retail disc, so no manufacturer extras.
3 - VirtualBox (Linux Host, different underlying hardware to install 1) running Win7 Pro 32 Bit, clean install this week. I did this one as an experiment after the other 2 failed to work.

All 3 systems exhibit the same problem when trying to update, the "Checking for updates" process never completes and after a period of activity, the svchost.exe process will sit at the top of the process display with unchanging memory usage and it will consume 100% of a single processor core, indicating to me that it is stuck in a single thread race condition. This continues to be the case even if I leave the computers for several hours.

I have used the automatic Windows "Fixit" for windows update on all systems, it did no good.

I have followed all of the instructions on this page:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/971058

to no avail.

I have used the SURT tool and run sfc /scannow. There are no error codes to report. CBS Logs from system (2) attached.

I have spent probably 10 to 12 hours over several days trying to persuade the updates to install and have followed numerous suggestions from Google searches. Nothing makes any difference to any of the above installs.

The Linux installs on the VirtualBox based systems report no hardware problems and are working perfectly. I have one further Windows 7 native install (the only one I use regularly), which is successfully receiving updates, this is the only one which isn't trying to download more than one months worth of updates.

Since I'm experiencing this problem on multiple systems with different hardware and only seemingly where more than a months worth of updates are being looked for, I am seriously wondering if Microsoft have put out a combination of updates in the last few months which causes an endless loop of dependency resolution for some setups if you haven't been installing updates every month. Has this ever been known to happen? Linux update tools will sometimes fail for a similar reason, although they don't normally get stuck in endless loops, I can conceive of it happening.

I'd appreciate any suggestions, but I suspect that I may have to wait until the next patch Tuesday and hope that somebody at MS deals with this then. If this was just one system, I would assume a fault with the computer, but 3 installations (2 of them new) with the same fault makes me very suspicious.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Sep 2015   #2
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tim1mw View Post
...the "Checking for updates" process never completes and after a period of activity,
~~~
I'd appreciate any suggestions,
~~~
Patience :-)

Set the computer not to sleep.
Manually start the check for updates.
Leave the computer alone for at least 24 hours.

For some people, the check for updates ends after 20 minutes. For others, it takes many hours. Lots of speculation; but no hard facts as to why this is happening. Perhaps you are connecting to busy servers.

If you want, delete your experimental VM and create a fresh one. Before checking for updates, manually download/install the latest Windows Update client: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3083324 Then manually check for updates and leave it alone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Sep 2015   #3
tim1mw

Windows 7 Pro, 32 and 64 Bit
 
 

Hi, thanks for the quick response.

> Set the computer not to sleep.
> Manually start the check for updates.
> Leave the computer alone for at least 24 hours.

I've not done a full 24 hours, but system 2 has been left over night, so it's had about 6-8 hours, with sleep mode off and a manual update check initiated. I'll try to set it off this evening and leave it as long as I can again. Unfortunatly finding a 24 hour block when I don't need to use my computers for work purposes isn't easy. I think I can manage without it tomorrow, so will give it a go.

> If you want, delete your experimental VM and create a fresh one. Before checking for updates, manually
> download/install the latest Windows Update client: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3083324 Then manually
> check for updates and leave it alone.

I've tried the route of manually installing the update client several times and the VM has been re-installed at least twice to no avail.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

26 Sep 2015   #4
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

There have been at least two threads where the list of updates did not come thru until the 20 hour mark. It will be interesting to see how long yours takes.

I've spent hours looking into this. In a VM, I watched Wireshark traffic during the entire process. Unfortunately, I got the list of updates (~200 of them) in about 20 minutes. This was very repeatable. I did connect to different updates servers during each test, but they all gave me the list relatively quick.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Sep 2015   #5
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Updating the install.wim file before installing seems to work.

Alternatively, update the install.wim and then use it to perform a repair install on your existing installation.

Several ways to do it. All involve copy and paste the installation dvd to the hard drive, then mount the wim image and install updates using dism. Some programs will automate it for you.

Example:

UpdatePack7R2-15.8.20.exe /ie11 /WimFile=K:\GRMCULXFRER_EN_DVD\sources\install.wim /Index=3

The dvd has been copied to K: and the image to be updated is 3 (professional).


OR (probably easier for beginners)

Use WUD to download the updates into folders, then integrate into your install.wim using wintoolkit (easiest) or ntlite (free version will do, more complicated ) or similar.

Download WUD250B1002Setup.exe

wintoolkit

https://www.ntlite.com/download/

Update lists:

2015-09-08b-Win7-Post-SP1 GDR-x64-MULTI.zip

2015-09-08a-Win7-Post-SP1 GDR-x86-MULTI.zip


My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Sep 2015   #6
tim1mw

Windows 7 Pro, 32 and 64 Bit
 
 

Hi,

Well I seem to have finally had some success. I set the updates running again last night on system 2 at about 11pm. When I checked this morning (about 11.30am), there was a huge list of available updates which I'm currently installing in stages. The "Most recent check for updates" time, which was previously showing as never now shows 4.44am, so I'm guessing that was the point at which whatever it was that was blocking the update process was finally resolved. I don't think I ever previously had a clean install windows system take much more than 30 minutes to find updates before, so this is a bit of a surprise. I'm guessing there is a bug somewhere in the update code which causes the delay.

I'll probably try again with my VM system 1 this evening, but this one is less critical. Thanks for the advice!

Tim W
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Sep 2015   #7
tim1mw

Windows 7 Pro, 32 and 64 Bit
 
 

Posting for reference, in case this is of use to others:

The first two batches of essential updates have installed normally. I'm now on to the "optional" updates and the stalling problem seems to have come back at the "Downloading updates - 0Kb total 0% complete" stage, with the svchost.exe process using 100% of a single processor core. I've tried selecting different combinations of updates to see if there was any specific update or group of updates that's causing the blockage, but this makes no difference, so the cause would appear to be a more general problem with the update process, not a specific update. I'm assuming that if I leave this running the update process will eventually complete like last time, so I'm going to just leave the laptop on till tomorrow morning and see what happens.

I'm hoping that this problem goes away once I'm fully updated, if windows update continues to take 6-8 hours to run each update cycle this is going to be a real bind. It's also going to wear out the processor fan on my laptop which is working at top speed for the entire time!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2015   #8
jayoo

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Sir. SIW2

I have always been integrated with your Windows Dism Tools.
But
Your "2015 SIW2 Dism9.wcs" I could not have a Windows integration.
If, if you fixed a bug in the Dism9.wcs,
Can you provide me a Dism9.wcs which fixed the bug?
I want to integrate Windows into your Dism Tools.


Attached Thumbnails
Windows update never stops checking for updates-dism9_2015.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2015   #9
tim1mw

Windows 7 Pro, 32 and 64 Bit
 
 

A quick update on my original problem, all updates were eventually installed (on both the native and VirtualBox installations) after some very long waits. I ran a registry checker after finishing the updates, this reported "9 WMI Conflicts", which may or may not have had something to do with this.

I'm keeping my finders crossed that the October patch tuesday stuff installs more quickly. In the mean time, thanks for your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2015   #10
theboatyboat

Windows 7 Pro x64; Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

FWIW I came to this forum with similar problems.

I have let two freshly installed laptops sit doing automatic updates over night... came back this morning to find one out of memory error (8gb page with 4gb of ram).

These are fresh SP1 installs on SSD's... apparently I am not the only one finding windows update taking forever recently... when I did this exact same thing a couple months ago they wizzed on through and onto Windows 10 they went. Can't seem to get anywhere today though.

Hopefully it's a Microsoft problem, not local problem. Fingers are also crossed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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