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Windows 7: Win7 Update downloads stuck at 0% for extended periods of time

10 Mar 2016   #1

Two soup cans and some string.
Win7 Update downloads stuck at 0% for extended periods of time

After reading all the suggestions on the "Windows Update Posting Instructions" - and having done them - I still have this issue.

When selecting one or more updates to download, the "Downloading Updates" counter remains stuck at 0% for extended periods of time, where "extended" can be measured in multiples of hours.

I have several clients with a number of Win7 systems, both Home Premium and Professional. I, myself, also have a number of machines of both types. Many of these machines are very minimalist installs, being used in a business environment where only the bare necessities are installed. (As opposed to systems that have everything but the kitchen sink, 20 or 30 tool-bars, and God Himself Only Knows what else.)

I have also tried this on bare-metal installs.

Broadband speeds are no less than 20/5 mbit. All systems hard-wired to the network, no wireless used or enabled.

It does not appear to matter if I am downloading one, or 500 updates.

I have tried the various tools, like the Update Readiness tool, the error checker, etc. In each case, the amount of time spent at the "Downloading" screen is absolutely unacceptable.

What puzzles me is the seeming universality of all these systems. Regardless of the system spec, the bitness (32 or 64), the amount of memory installed, the type of processor, the version of Win 7, AV, Firewall, etc. etc. etc.

I could understand it if it were only those systems with tons of cruft running in the background, or systems with wind-up tinker-toy processors running at 66 mHz. Many of these systems are multiple-core systems, (Core2 or better), running at 3gHz+ with 8 + gigs RAM, reasonably well up-to-date.

There are times when I am convinced that Microsoft's update servers are running on 14.4k dial-up connections using 8-bit Atari systems for their file servers.

Obviously not true, but I seem to be missing some fundamental thing here with each of these systems. This is taking so much time on so many systems that I don't want to update simply because it takes too long.

Sigh. . . .

Any thoughts on what I might have missed?

Jim (JR)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2016   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

I haven't got any magic suggestions. I can only empathise with your plight. Over last 3 nights I have tried to get the latest patch Tuesday updates in and have to give up as downloads don't get past 0%. There is something seriously wrong over at MS. Seems funny my Windows 10 machine has no such issues though. I think there is a widespread issue as there seem to be quite a few complaints about the length of time it takes on 'checking for updates' and then also downloading. Our internet is very fast at 50 mbits download so there is no issue there. It's clearly a server issue. I googled the issue and aside from the issues raised on this forum there are many many instances reported.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2016   #3

Two soup cans and some string.

After I thought about this. . . .

Walked away from the computer, cursed everyone at Microsoft to the blackest pits of hell, split some firewood, and took a nap.

. . . . I remembered a couple of things:

1. If I use an off-line update tool, ( - the one I use is WSUS Offline Updater), I notice that the updater's "wget" operations complete rapidly, not unlike the speed that Linux downloads occur. This leads me to believe that:
* The WSUS Offline Updater connects to a different portal than Windows Update uses.
- or -
* The downloading protocol that Windows Update uses is abysmally inefficient. <-- "Doh!" smiley
- or -
* Windows Update does not message download completion properly. (i.e. The download meter stays at "0%" for 99% of the download process, indicating that it has not started even though it might be progressing normally.)

2. The solution I have used in the past to get past the abysmal download speeds is by use of an off-line update tool - especially if I have several systems that I want to update simultaneously. This way I do ONE download of EVERYTHING, and then proceed to distribute the folder containing all the updates - and the off-line updater app - to each machine.

The single download process, coupled with copying the resultant download package to a thumb-drive, thence to each target system, takes less time than a single Windows Update download. I can then pickle-off the update on each machine in parallel. It still takes a long time to install - but since WSUS handles the reboots automatically, (if you allow it to), you can just start the updates, make sure they're running true, and then go get a beer and a sandwich while you wait.

Yes, using an off-line update tool "solves" the problem, per-se, but I should not have to "solve" this problem, per-se, or otherwise. This is the kind of issue that Microsoft should be addressing.

Of course, the conspiracy theorists are having a field-day claiming that M$ is deliberately downgrading the performance of everything that's not "Windows 10" to force us to upgrade, though I'm not sure I buy that.

I'd still really like to know how to get the actual, internal, Windows Update app to work the way it should. Or maybe I'm just spitting into the wind here?

What say ye?

Jim (JR)
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Win7 Update downloads stuck at 0% for extended periods of time

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