OS: Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit edition
Steps to produce:
-Erase HD with Darik's Boot & Nuke
-Install Win7 Ultimate x64 from original DVD (pre-SP1)
Note - Have done with and without activation number during Setup, as well as with and without network cable connected during Setup
-[Optional] - Manually Install Windows 7 SP1
-[Optional] - Manually install IE11x64 to avoid IE8
-Iterate Windows Update cycles until complete or until failure
In all cases, with or without SP1 or IE11 manual updates, once Windows Update Ageent 7.6.7600.3200 is non-optionally installed, Windows Update ceases to ever return from "Checing for Updates"
- Win7x64 Windows Update Agent fix at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/949104
- Microsoft Fixit #50123 - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/troubleshoot-problems-installing-updates#1TC=windows-7
- Manual fixes from above articles
I've searched and run into many alleged solutions, none of which have worked. Normally I'd give up and do a clean install after being stymied for so long, but that obviously doesn't work.