August 2015 Windows Update for Vista Requires One Hour to Run to Completion

Is Microsoft throttling bandwidth for users running Windows Update on Vista machines to give a higher priority to Win 10 users?

I've run multiple Windows Updates since Patch Tuesday on 11-Aug-2015 and couldn't get them to run to completion on my 32-bit Vista machine until 16-Aug-2015.  There were no errors - it just reported that it was checking for updates and never finished, even if I let it run for over an hour.  Process Explorer showed svchost.exe constantly consuming ~50% of my CPU (i.e., complete saturation of one of my Intel Duo cores) and that a thread for the Windows Update service (wuauserv) was responsible for all that CPU activity.

I assumed that my Windows Update service was corrupted but after reading posts by other Vista users having the same problem (see ScousaJay's post Windows Update Just Seems to Hang While Checking in the Windows VistaForums for one example) I tried a manual update again on 16-Aug-2015.  Windows Update finally ran to completion and offered 17 important updates and one optional update for Silverlight but it took approx. 35 min before it reported that updates were available and the entire process, including the downloads, installs and monthly Malicious Software Removal scan, took almost a full hour.  A typical Patch Tuesday normally takes about 10 min on my machine from start to finish.

Here's what the CPU consumption looked like for my successful Windows Update of 16-Aug-2015, with the "Checking for updates..." phase running between the 70 and 35 min marks and re-start to complete the installation around the 15 min mark.

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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox 40.0.2 * IE9 * NIS 2014 v. 21.7.0.11
HP Pavilion dv6835ca, Intel Core2Duo T5550 @ 1.83 GHz, 3 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS

 

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Last updated May 15, 2020 Views 5,514 Applies to:

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So this Patch Tuesday I got the usual Task Manager going beserk trouble AND I lost the use of IE9 for all but the most basic of websites.  I did start a new thread for that one:


IE9 Won't Work, But Firefox Will -- Since Patch Tuesday

Oh yes, and I never did receive the OS updates to my computer.

I just don't understand all this that this company seems to be putting people through so they can get everyone to get rid of their present operating systems and go for that new Windows 10.  I mean, that has to be what's going on, right?

I know, you really could give a rat's **** about one old man like me that may actually find it best to move to the Linux OS and just remember better days with Mr. Gates and his products and get you folks out of my life.

That IE9 business was really a bummer!  I honestly thought my ISP was at fault and it was while I was on the phone with support and they asked me to try another browser when I found out it was the Internet Explorer that was causing the trouble.  How stupid I felt.  And then the letdown -- you know, thinking that this company had driven one more nail into me.  I'm just getting really fed up with this whole business!!  Sad.  Really sad!!!

Above certain altitudes you never get to that distant horizon. What's your altitude?

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I posted earlier in the thread, and while deeply annoyed at Microsoft over this, I made the switch to W10 by playing the system (legally) by reinstating an old W7 pro license to gain a W10 pro license, and putting W8.1 on the old Vista PC which then also qualified for W10.

If I were using Vista now I think I would accept that its support time is nearly up and as such I would look at disabling the update service. I'm not sure if simply turning off updates from control panel works for this issue... you would have to try it.

IE9 was already becoming flaky on some sites long ago due to lack of support. Alternatives didn't appeal although I did use 'Palemoon' for some time and quite liked it although these 3rd party browsers always seem like 'works in progress' to me.

So MS got their wish and I'm now using W10 for both my PC's, and all at no cost. Do I like W10. Well I have to admit I do, and the new 'Edge' browser is a gem.

I do think MS should come clean over Vista though, and offer some solution for this issue.

    

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It's been 10 months now since I first reported this issue and the problem is only getting worse.  There are now multiple threads in multiple forums where Vista users see the initial "Checking for updates..." phase of Windows Updates hang for long periods of time during Patch Tuesday updates.  In my case "Checking for updates..." ran for 4 - 5 hours during my April and May 2016 Patch Tuesday updates before it reported that updates were available for download.

Here's a sample screenshot from my March 2016 Patch Tuesday updates.  The last hour of the "Checking for updates...." phase (between the 90 and 30 min marks) was the constant consumption of ~ 50% of my CPU by the Windows Update service (wuauserv) running under svchost.exe.  The download of 11 available updates, installation, and monthly Malicious Software Removal Tool scan completed normally between the 30 and 10 min marks.  The dark grey band at 5 min was the system restart to complete the installation.


The Windows Update Agent (WUA) at C:\Windows\system32\wuaueng.dll on my 32-bit Vista system is currently v7.6.7600.256 and hasn't been updated since June  2012.  If Microsoft isn't deliberately throttling bandwidth for Patch Tuesday updates to give priority to Win 10 users then perhaps it's about time that they released an update for the WUA to fix this problem.
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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox v46.0.1 * IE9 * NIS v21.7.0.11
HP Pavilion dv6835ca, Intel Core2Duo T5550 @ 1.83 GHz, 3 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS

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I should also mention that Woody Leonhard's InfoWorld article Windows 7 update scans taking forever? KB 3153199 may solve the problem suggests that that pre-installing monthly Windows kernel-mode driver (Win32k.sys) updates like KB3145739 (Apr 2016) and KB3153199 (May 2106) from the Microsoft Download Center every month can "trick" Windows Update into running Patch Tuesday updates faster - at least for Win 7 users - but it's only a temporary solution and the problem will return the next month. Feedback <here> on the AskWoody.com site confirms that many Win 7 users are having success with this workaround.  Woody Leonhard posted a link to Search for Windows Updates takes forever? - A possible solution that tracks the recommended win32k.sys update (both Win 7 and Vista) that must be installed each successive month before running the Patch Tuesday updates. From the author of that webpage:

"The term 'solution' might be a little bit exaggerated, since the following HowTo only tries to make sure that the Update Agent doesn't need to check all updates, so the check for new updates is done faster. Futhermore, it's only a temporary solution; most likely the issue will appear again with the next Patchday."

I haven't tried this workaround yet, but there are a few users in the VistaForums thread windows update just seems to hang while checking who tried pre-installing KB3153199 before running their May 2016 Patch Tuesday updates and reported that it allowed them to install their remaining updates in a reasonable amount of time.

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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox v46.0.1 * IE9 * NIS v21.7.0.11
HP Pavilion dv6835ca, Intel Core2Duo T5550 @ 1.83 GHz, 3 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS

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Here are a few more Vista users who reported the temporary workaround suggested in my previous 16-May-2016 post significantly reduced the time "Checking for updates..." spent searching for available updates.  If you managed to install your April 2016 Patch Tuesday updates last month you should only have to pre-install one missing Win32k.sys update listed on Dalai's webpage Search for Windows Updates takes forever? - A possible solution - KB3153199 - before running Windows Update to download your remaining May 2016 Patch Tuesday updates.

      copiman:          Current tips on updates
      Ichabod22:       Vista Windows update hangs with "checking for updates"
      Intelektualista: Windows Vista Update Hangs at "Checking For Updates"

      SorinCas:          Windows Vista Won't Install New Updates After SP2 Installed

Just an aside, but I also posted comments in post # 162 of the VistaForums thread windows update just seems to hang while checking about a similar problem that Win XP users experienced three years ago after Win 8.1 was released.  From Woody Leonhard's old November 2013 article Microsoft to fix Windows XP update SVCHOST redline issue 'soon':

"In other words, when you run Windows Update, the program has to bang against Microsoft's internal database of patches and figure out which patches need to be applied and which ones have been superseded and can be ignored. Since IE6 and IE7, in particular, have been around since the dawn of time, that's an enormous pile of patches to sort through."

I don't know if Vista is currently suffering from the identical issue but I wonder now if Microsoft could permanently fix these slow Windows Updates in Vista and Win 7 by expiring some of the outdated updates in the supersedence chain for programs like the IE browser and the MS .NET Framework.

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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox v46.0.1 * IE9 * NIS v21.7.0.11
HP Pavilion dv6835ca, Intel Core2Duo T5550 @ 1.83 GHz, 3 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS

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I think we have to seriously wonder why this company hasn't already fixed this problem for us.

I think, for one thing, there are too many people posting on various sites around the Net for it to be claimed by company executives that this should not be a concern for them because it is only bothering a few people with bad machines.  In other words, I think we can point the finger at Microsoft being at the heart of the problem without being shot down as fools.

By the way, I used the "turn off Windows Update" technique to stop the Task Manager from going beserk all the time and I see that the MSE program still gets its updates without any trouble.  I assume somebody has already posted that information, but I will confirm that turning off Windows Update doesn't cause trouble with MSE, if anyone is interested.

A question, if I may, is there any other thread on the Net that can claim to be the definitive thread on this topic?

Above certain altitudes you never get to that distant horizon. What's your altitude?

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Try this one,

Windows Update Hangs

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Try this one,

Windows Update Hangs

Hi HFM47:

I'm not certain what you would consider "definitive" but I've been posting in the VistaForums thread that Mooly01 recommended since post # 18 (18-Aug-2015) under the username lmacri, and I provided a link to that thread in my original post.  If anyone learns the root cause of the slow Windows Updates or finds a workaround that works better than the one Dalai posted at Search for Windows Updates takes forever? - A possible solution then it will likely be mentioned there.
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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox v46.0.1 * IE9 * NIS v21.7.0.11
HP Pavilion dv6835ca, Intel Core2Duo T5550 @ 1.83 GHz, 3 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS

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@Great White North only and assuming you're still having problems! =>

Please answer each of the following [admittedly tedious] diagnostic questions in a correspondingly-numbered list in your very next reply, preferably without quoting my post:

1. When (approx. date) did you purchase the HP computer?

1b. Have you ever had occasion to do a Repair Install or a clean install of Windows Vista?

2. What is the full name & version of your installed anti-virus application or security suite (e.g., Norton Security with Backup version 22.x) and when (approx. date) does your current subscription expire or auto-renew? What anti-spyware applications (other than Defender) are installed? What third-party firewall (if any)?

3a. Has a(nother) Norton application or a McAfee application EVER been installed on the computer since you bought it?

3b. Did a Norton free-trial or a McAfee free-trial [pick one] come preinstalled on the computer when you bought it? (Doesn't matter if you never used or Activated it.)

4. Have you ever run the Norton Removal Tool and/or the McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool?

5. Is KB3154070, KB3158991, KB3156013, KB3156016, KB3156017, KB3156019, KB3155178, KB314108, KB3153171, KB3153199  and/or KB3142023 listed in Installed Updates (not Update History)? [1]

6. Assuming Java is installed => Is Java Version 8 Update 91 (or higher) installed? TEST HERE USING INTERNET EXPLORER ONLY! => http://java.com/en/download/uninstallapplet.jsp [2]

7. Is Adobe Flash Player v21.0.0.242 (or higher) installed? TEST HERE USING INTERNET EXPLORER ONLY! => http://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/

8. What Update Version & KB number are displayed in the second line of text in IE9's Help | About [Alt+H+A] tab; e.g., Update Version: 9.0.54 (KB9876543) ?

9. Is Firefox version 46.0.1 (or higher) and/or Google Chrome version 51 (or higher) or any other alternate browser installed?

10. Are you in the habit of using "Registry cleaners" (e.g., Registry Mechanic; System Mechanic; RegCure; RegClean Pro; Advanced SystemCare; Total System Care; Glary Utilities; Registry Booster; McAfee QuickClean; AVG Quick CleanAVG PC TuneUp; Norton Registry Cleaner; Norton PC Tuneup; PCTools Optimiser; SpeedUpMyPC; FixMyPC; PC Doctor; TuneUp Utilities; WinMaximizer; WinSweeper; Comodo System Cleaner; Advanced System Optimizer; CCleaner Registry Cleaner component)?

==================================================
[1] Start | Control Panel | Programs and Features | View installed updates (in left-hand menu)

[2] No need to install Java if it's not already installed!

[Last Revised - 12 May 2016]

--
~Robear Dyer (PA Bear)
Microsoft MVP (Windows Client) since October 2002

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1. 2009

2. Norton Security with Backup version 22.6. Expires in December. Don't know what (if any) anti-spyware is installed. No 3rd party firewall.

3a. Originally had Norton 360.

3b. Started as a free-trial, preinstalled.

4. No.

5. None of them are listed in Installed History.

6. Java is latest version.

7. Adobe Flash Player is latest version.

8. 9.0.49 KB 3148198

9. Firefox 46.0.1

10. No.

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