Windows Update takes a long time

May 11, 2017

Windows Update has become quite problematic for Windows 7 users.  We’ve been working to find a solution that will work for you.  We have found one that works very well indeed for most.

You want to ensure you get all your Windows Updating done before the Patch Tuesday, October, 8, 2016.  From that point onwards, there was a very significant change in the way Windows Update works.  Some may like it a lot.  Some may dislike it intensely.

I emphasize that for this to work, you must follow exactly as this describes.

There are two main types of Windows 7 installations: 32 bit or 64 bit.  You need to know what is installed in your computer.  Click the Start globe, type system in the box. Choose System information in the list.  The techie shorthand for 32 bit is x86 and for 64 bit is x64

  1. Start Windows Update and change the Setting to Never check for updates.  When you do leave the setting at NEVER, Windows Update will no longer be automatic.  From this point onwards, you are responsible for starting and installing updates.  We recommend you do that a few days following the 2nd Tuesday each month.
  2. The process starts by ensuring that there is nothing running that will prevent the update from working properly.  Click on the Start globe and type services into the text box.  Click on Services in the list that pops up.  In the window that then pops up (its alphabetic), find Windows Update.  Right-click on it (left-click if your mouse is set for left-handers) and choose Stop.
  3. Restart your computer.
  4. You are now going to download and install either one or two updates manually.  In most cases only the first (KB3172605) of these is needed.  If that produces a result that says the update is not appropriate for you computer, you need to first install the 2nd of these (KB3020369), then install the first (KB3172605).  Choose the one that is for your machine — 32 bit (X86) or 64 bit (X64).


32 bit

64 bit


32 bit

64 bit

  1. After restarting your computer, wait about 10 minutes until Windows Update completes its tasks.  Do not use the computer for any other purpose during this wait period.
  2. Start Windows Update.  It will take only a few minutes to come up with a list and download the updates you select.  The process is quite normal as it always was from this point onward.

If your computer has not been updated for a long time, it may take longer.

Once update provides you with a proposed list of updates — should take about 5 minutes — you need to look at the list very carefully, and select and deselect.  My approach is to prevent Windows 10 and/or Windows 10 like character from infecting my Windows 7 computer.  Here is how I do it:

  1. Do not accept any Optional updates — none, not even driver updates
  2. Accept all Windows Security updates that are dated on or before September 2016
  3. Accept all Windows updates (not labeled security) that were issued on or before the date Microsoft stopped all development on Windows 7 — December 31, 2014.  You can read the issue date in the right-hand column by simply clicking once on a selected update.
  4. Do not accept malicious software removal tool
  5. If you have Microsoft Office installed, accept all updates of any kind up till January, 2017.  Do not install further Office updates until they are at least 3 months old.
  6. Accept all Windows tools updates such as Defender, C++ or things like that.
  7. Proceed to update and repeat this process until there are no more offered, according to the rules just described
  8. Now, look very carefully at the descriptions of the updates proposed — uncheck the one that is labeled “security monthly quality rollup for Windows 7”.  You do not want that.
  9. You want “cumulative security update for Internet Explorer 11” provided the issue date is almost one month old
  10. You want “Security and quality rollup for .net framework”, again provided the issue date is almost one month old
  11. Go to  This is woody Leonhard’s web page.   Woody is the world’s expert on Windows Update.  Read his “MS-Defcon” rating and follow his recommendations.
  12. If he recommends updating, go to this web page and follow the instructions.