Win/7 updates never complete

By jobeard
Apr 1, 2016
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  1. Symptoms:
    • ENVIRONMENT: Win/7 pro sp1
    • running windows update appears to never discover new updates

    • Run Task Manager; click the column heading CPU (twice?) to get descending list of usage.
    • svchost is second in the list and stays there (doesn't change usage). on my system, it appears to hang at 25% (your may differ)

    • let Update run 10-20 minutes and there's no change, no progress.

    Notice in the Update window, you will have
    • Most recent check xx xx xx
    • Updates installed xx/xx/xx
    • and View History will show it all from day-1 of your system.

    • Whereas Win/7 is getting long in the tooth (my install goes back to 7/2006)
    • the history and downloads accumulated thru time are enormous and SVCHOST is
    • reading all of this to determine, "What Do I Need", ergo large cpu usage.

    • PLEASE don't mention upgrading to the mindless win/8 8.1 or win/10. I know why I've elected to freeze at win/7 and you will not convince me otherwise - - so let's be friends and show some tolerance for the choices of others:)

    FIX: *READ* the entire post before beginning this change!

    login as Admin. QUIT all running programs
    1. using services, STOP Microsoft Update service
    2. using the file Explorer, cd to c:\Windows
    3. SCROLL to find the folder SoftwareDistributions
    4. right-click on that folder and DELETE IT
    5. REBOOT

    The folder will be recreated on first execution of MS Update

    Panel will show
    • Most recent check NONE
    • Updates installed NONE

    Click on Check For Updates
    and let it complete *DO NOT KILL THE TASK OR CLOSE THE WINDOW*

    These will become current again
    • Most recent check xx xx xx
    • Updates installed xx/xx/xx

    History will be reset to this date as well
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  2. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,213   +200

    I did have this issue a few years ago and nothing that was suggested worked. I think that eventually I visited the section in Control Panel for enabling/disabling Windows features and found a completely empty box. Working from that I found a solution.

    The unmentionable upgrade is not an option anyway because you need to fully update Windows 7 first. In your situation I'd reinstall Windows 7. It could well be faster than tinkering to find the problem. Not a great option but lots easier than reinstalling XP.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 9,156   +598

    Perhaps it wasn't clearly expressed, but the post IS a solution and I subsequently applied it, and able to get 27 new updates. (which is why I posted it)
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
  4. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,213   +200

    Yes, your April 1st post certainly fooled me. :)
    Now about upgrading to Windows 10 - - - -
  5. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 6,551   +332

    Good one :)(y)
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 9,156   +598

    CERTAINLY not April fools comment - -
  7. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,213   +200

    Joke! I couldn't resist after wasting 10 minutes trying to remember my solution to a problem you don't have.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 9,156   +598

    What problem(s) - - I have no problems, you must be thinking of by evil twin!

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