Windows 7 Update solution

UPDATE, December 4, 2016.  Windows update works fine when you apply the solution described below.  However, you may wish to consider whether you want to apply the "Roll-up" update until you understand the implications.

Please join us in a new discussion -- Windows Update -- How will it change your system?

Windows Update has become quite problematic for Windows 7 users.  For the past year or so, we've been working to find a solution that will work for you.  We have found one that has worked very well indeed for most. 

On October 11, 2016 onwards, there was a very significant change in the way Windows Update works.  Some may like it a lot.  Some may dislike it intensely. 

The Solution applies to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) systems

We 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.  While you are looking at the System information to verify whether yours is 32 or 64 bit, check to see if SP1 (Service Pack 1) has been applied.  If you do not see SP1 there, yours has not been updated and the following instructions will not work.

1.   Start Windows Update and change the Setting to Never check for updates.  Close the Windows Update window.  Some members recommend you return the setting to what ever you used before this operation, after you complete Windows Update. IF 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.   Restart your computer.

3.   You are now going to download and install either one or two updates manually.  In most cases only the first (KB3138612) 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 (KB3138612).  Choose the one that is for your machine -- 32 bit (X86) or 64 bit (X64).


32 bit,

64 bit



32 bit

64 bit

4.   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.

5.   Start Windows Update.  It will take only a few minutes (unless, of course it has been many months since the last update) 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.


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Last updated March 22, 2019 Views 374,602 Applies to:

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Well posted, as always.

Well written, Mr. CT.

Good day (my father was Canadian),


Allen J. Chubbs

After having spent many, many hours looking for a solution to this problem, I finally found the real answer.  I so much appreciate having found this post.  In my opinion you are an absolute diamond!

Thanks, Scott

Wow.  Thanks.
I did all the steps and window update has been searching for 10 min. I just factory reset the laptop so it hasn't been updated sine 2011. how long would you expect it to take? and if it doesn't work what do I do next. thank you for the forum post!

Hi Steven,

Yesterday I successfully used Canadian Tech's advice on two different computers with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit operating systems--one with SP1 installed, and the second, without SP1. I had to use KB3020369 and then KB3172605 for the SP1 version and had to manually install SP1 on the second because neither of the updates would work without SP1. After having installed SP1 on the second computer, I was able to install KB3172605 without having to install KB3020369 first.

On both computers, the "checking for updates..." took only about 8-10 minutes.  Once the updates were located by Windows Update, it took about one hour to download and install 224 updates.

I'm hoping you are having success also.

Please be patient.  It can take hours not minutes.  Consider the number of updates involved here.  The process is a very complicated one.
Great Job! thank you for your hard work!!
Thank you for that feedback.

Just did a complete clean install windows 7 pro on new HDD. After i installed win 10 my HDD crashed so back to 7 i go.

Spent 2 days trying to get update to work  checking various forums then came across this post  .

Thanks a million it worked  downloading updates now .

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