Windows 7 stuck checking for updates forever

 

Never ending Windows update check

Windows update, checking for updates never ends.

Just lately, when running Windows update on lots of different Windows 7 PCs and laptops, I have noticed that the process of checking for updates can take forever. Sometimes checking for Windows updates will take several hours but often does not complete at all. The green progress bar just keeps repeatedly scrolling from left to right. I have left this running for over 24 hours to see if it eventually completes but it never did.

If this happens to you there are a couple of things you can try to get Windows update working again.

Windows 7 Power Options

Before you begin, prevent Windows from going to sleep part way through checking for updates. Open the Power Options control panel and, next to your chosen power plan, click to ‘Change plan settings’. Change the option for ‘Put the computer to sleep’ to never.

Windows 7 power options

Reset Windows Update components

The first thing to try is to reset the Windows update components. The easiest way to do that is to download and run Microsoft’s Windows Update Troubleshooter. You can do that from the following Microsoft support page.

Install KB 3112343, an update for Windows Update

(Update 17/11/2016: although this update did work for me when I originally wrote this article it did not work with my most recent attempt to get Windows Update working on Windows 7. What did eventually work was update KB 3102810, see below. I’m not sure if it was the combination of the two or just KB3102810.)

KB 3112343 was released in December 2015 and is an update for the Windows Update client in Window 7. It is supposed to ease the upgrade path to Windows 10 and for that reason many Windows 7 users are not happy about it.

However, it is this update that solved my infuriating problem with Windows update never completing it’s check for new updates.

Download and install the update from the following link. Ensure you choose the x86-based version for 32bit Windows 7 and the x64-based version for 64bit.

Install KB 3102810

From Microsoft:

Installing and searching for updates is slow and high CPU usage occurs in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
This article describes an update that contains some improvements for Windows Update Client in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

Download and install the update from the following link. Ensure you choose the x86-based version for 32bit Windows 7 and the x64-based version for 64bit.

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