Fixing Windows 7 Update Hangs

Update hangs?  Boy howdy!  This has become a real nightmare. Windows Update can spin on “checking for updates…” for hours – or even days.

I (and many, many others) have run into this on new Windows 7 SP1 installs from Microsoft media, newly arrived laptops with Win 7 SP1+ preloads, and laptops and desktops running ‘7 SP1 that were previously fully updated.

The below fix was recommended to me by a wise old IT JOAT.  It has fixed all my machines and will hopefully help others.  OTOH it isn’t likely a universal fix and it takes some patience to apply.

For me Windows Update works almost instantly after this procedure.

Install  .NET update NDP461-KB3102436-x86-x64-AllOS-ENU

In an elevated command window turn off the update service:  net stop wuauserv

rename the folder C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution to …OLD

With the update service still off, install this update to the update client:  KB3138612

turn the update service back on: net start wuauserv

Install the following KBs in order, rebooting after each install.  It may be necessary to turn off the update service while doing this to keep it from hanging on “checking…”.  The update service is typically on a delayed start so it may or may not be necessary to turn it off for each install.


That last KB is the July roll-up.  It may be superseded by later roll-ups, and there should be an indication of that on the KB’s page.

Happy updating 🙂

25 December 2018 Update: long overdue – a Lenovo forum mod suggest the below method to get Win 7 updates running.  Looks simpler – and possibly faster – than the above.

Update servicing stack:

Then apply this:

Then retry windows update

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