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Windows 7: Retrying updates without re-downloading

05 Sep 2015   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Retrying updates without re-downloading

I have fixed a problem I discussed in another thread by re-formatting my drive after backing up my files. Now I am in the process of downloading and installing Windows updates, and I wanted to ask a question about my biggest pet peeve with Windows, to see if there is something I'm missing.

This concerns how Windows Update works. I have it set to notify me of new updates, and then I decide when to download and install them. This means I usually don't download them unless I have time to complete both the download and install process. However, sometimes I have to shut down before downloading of a set of updates is finished, and sometimes an update will not install correctly the first time for whatever reason.

If Windows Update is interrupted when only some updates have downloaded, or if the installation of one or more updates is interrupted or fails for some reason, then there is no way to avoid re-downloading the updates that have already been downloaded! There is one "shot" to download and install each update in one continuous "motion", and if there is an interruption anywhere along that process (especially between downloading and installing), you have to re-download the whole thing from scratch! The already-downloaded updates seem to not be kept on disk so that they can be retried when Windows is started the next time.

In my opinion this design is beyond idiotic. The only halfway-sensible reason I can see for this behavior is that Microsoft is worried that some kind of virus, or some other unintentional software, would tamper with update files if they were downloaded and stored on disk for some time before being installed. This actually would make some sense, in that you want to guarantee that something you are installing possibly into the Windows kernel is identical to what was fetched from Microsoft's server. But it would seem that putting it among system files somewhere could accomplish the same thing.

Anyway, I wanted to make sure there wasn't just some simple setting that could be changed to allow updates to be installed or re-installed later without re-downloading if the first time failed. I'm aware there are third-party updaters that (I certainly hope!) don't have this limitation--I may well have to go over to one of those.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2015   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)/Win10

Windows Update is intelligent - it only downloads any update once (unless you clear the SoftwareDistribution folder).
You could (and I often do) download ALL available updates - and then pick and choose which to install, and in what order.

Here's my preferred methodology for installing the 200+ windows Updates in Vista and Win7...

Note - between each of the below batches of updates, reboot at least once, even if the machine auto-rebooted during the updates. After teh update, do a new Check for Updates. Add any remaining updates or failed updates to the next batch.

1) Install all 'Security Update for Windows'
Check for Updates
(some will have failed, and some new ones will have appeared)
2) Install the remaining/new 'Security Update for Windows'
Check for Updates
3) Install all ordinary 'Update for Windows'
Check for Updates
4) install updates for IE8 - but NOT IE 9/10/11
Check for Updates
5) install all other updates EXCEPT .NET ones and IE9/10/11
Check for Updates
repeat 5 until there's nothing left in the main window except the .NET and IE upgrades

6) Install all Security Updates for .NET - but nothing else
Check for Updates
7) Install all other .NET updates
Check for Updates
8) Install IE10 if offered - IE11 should wait if it's still an Optional update.
9) Install the IE10 updates, then install IE11 and update that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Retrying updates without re-downloading

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