Updates not working, it has been searching for updates for hours

My PC is quite old and I have tried the microsoft fix it tool. The fix it tool never works. 

I have been trying to check for new updates from since yesterday (Tuesday 14th June) in the afternoon. It is now Wednesday morning (12 hours approx) and it is still checking. There is no error code, it is just checking for the updates.

I have no technical skills so please do not ask me any technical questions. I would just like a solution to this problem.

Thank you.

It is August now and my pc has been searching for updates for 1 week now. This is ridiculous


My PC is quite old and I have tried the microsoft fix it tool. The fix it tool never works. 

I have been trying to check for new updates from since yesterday (Tuesday 14th June) in the afternoon. It is now Wednesday morning (12 hours approx) and it is still checking. There is no error code, it is just checking for the updates...

***** IMPORTANT NOTICE as of August 3, 2020 *****

Microsoft has announced they will be deactivating Windows Update on August 3, 2020 for computers with unsupported Windows operating systems that do not support SHA-2 code signing - see the 24-Jun-2020 Microsoft support article Windows Update SHA-1 Based Endpoints Discontinued for Older Windows Devices for more information.   Win XP and Vista users will likely see one of the following error codes when Windows Update is run after this date.

  • Error code 80072ee2 or 80244019: The device cannot connect to Windows Update.
  • Error code 8024402c: The device is unable to locate Windows Update.

Sadly, this means that the instructions below may no longer be able to patch a Vista SP2 OS with missing security updates back to end of extended support (11-Apr-2017) as they are currently written.  I will post an update if I hear of an alternate method that does not require a working connection to the Windows Update servers.

Hi m#l:

There is a known issue on Vista SP2 computers where Windows Update can hang on "Checking for updates..." for several hours (or even days) without throwing an error message. This problem was first reported in August 2015 and these slow Windows Updates have become progressively worse over time. In June 2016, IT expert Dalai began posting lists of "speed up" patches (a small number of security updates for the Win32K.sys kernel mode driver, graphics components, and IE9) at http://wu.krelay.de/en/ that could be manually installed each month to fix this problem.    Here are step-by-step instructions for Dalai's solution:

REVISED for the JUNE 2017 Patch Tuesday (valid as of July 2020):

  1. Disable automatic Windows Updates [Windows Update | Change settings | Important updates | Never check for updates (not recommended)] and re-boot to terminate any Windows Update sessions currently running in the background on your system.
  2. Search your installed updates at Control Panel | Programs and Features | View Installed Updates to see if any of the following "speed up" patches are missing from your system: KB3205638 (rel. 13-Dec-2016); KB4012583 (rel. 14-Mar-2017); KB4015380 (rel. 11-Apr-2017); KB4019204 (rel. 09-May-2017).  If IE9 is installed then KB4018271 (the 09-May-2017 cumulative security update for IE9) is also required. When searching, enter the full KB number in the search box (e.g., "KB3205638" and not a partial string like "3205638".
  3. Download the standalone installers (.msu files) for any missing "speed up" patches from the the Microsoft Update Catalog and save them to your Windows desktop using the download links in Note 1.  Use the Vista x86 installer if you have a 32-bit OS; use the Vista x64 installer if you have a 64-bit OS.  See Note 2 if you have problems downloading the .msu installers.
  4. Double-click to run each .msu standalone installer.  Re-boot after all .msu installers have run to completion unless the installation wizard for one of the installers specifically requests a re-boot to finish the installation.  See Notes 3 and 4 if you have problems running the .msu installers.
  5. Once all missing "speed up" patches are pre-installed, run a manual Windows Update [Windows Update | Check for updates] to detect and install any available updates released as of 11-Apr-2017.  It might take a few re-boots and manual Windows Updates to get everything patched, depending on how many months or years your Vista SP2 OS is out of date. See Note 5 if Windows Update continues to hang at "Checking for updates...". [WARNING: If you following these instructions after July 2020 and Windows Update throws an error see the IMPORTANT NOTICE at the top of this post.]

**** EDIT as of June 2017:  Microsoft released five out-of-band emergency security updates for Vista SP2 in June 2017 were posted on the Microsoft Update Catalog but will not be delivered via Windows Update.  See the thread More Shadow Brokers Exploits Patched June 2017 for Win XP and Vista for instructions on how to install these emergency updates if they are still missing from your system. ****

**** EDIT as of April 2020:  Since March 2020 multiple users performing a clean reinstall of their Vista SP2 OS have reported that Windows Update can throw an error 800B0109 ("A certificate chain processed, but terminated in a root certificate which is not trusted by the trust provider") while trying to install KB4014984 (Security and Quality Rollup for NET. Framework 2.0, 3.0, 4.5.2, 4.6 on Windows Vista SP2 and Server 2008 SP2: April 11, 2017).  To fix this error, download the MicrosoftRootCertificateAuthority2011.cer file from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=747875&clcid=0x409 and save it to the root C:\ directory of your computer (i.e.., so the location is C:\MicrosoftRootCertificateAuthority2011.cer), open an elevated command prompt with Administrator rights, and enter the command certutil -addstore "Root" "C:\MicrosoftRootCertificateAuthority2011.cer" to apply the required trust certificate. See the MS support article Known Issue for Security Update 3136000 for the .NET Framework 4.6.1/4.6 and Security Update 3135996 for the .NET Framework 4.5.2 in Windows Vista SP2... for more information.  Kudos to greenhillmaniac for posting about this fix in his 06-Apr-2020 post in the MSFN thread Certificate Trust Provider Error Installing Updates. ****

Note 1:  Download 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) .msu installers from the Microsoft Update Catalog at the following links:


     KB3205638:  https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB3205638 Vista

     KB4012583:  https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4012583 Vista
     KB4015380:  https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4015380 Vista

     KB4019204:  https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4019204 Vista

OPTIONAL (if Internet Explorer 9 is installed):
    KB4018271:  https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4018271 Internet Explorer 9 Vista

OPTIONAL (if MS Office 2007, MS Office 2010 or the MS Office Compatibility Pack SP3 is installed):

     See Note 5 below.

Note 2:  If you have problems downloading the .msu installers using Internet Explorer 9 then try an alternate browser like Firefox ESR v52.9.0 (the legacy extended support release for Win XP and Vista, last updated 26-Jun-2018).  You can also download the .msu installers to a USB thumb drive from another computer and copy the .msu installers to your Vista desktop.

Note 3:  If you try to install a speed up patch that is already installed on your computer, download an installer that does not match the bit architecture of your OS (e.g., you try to run a 64-bit .msu installer on a 32-bit Vista machine), or try to install a speed up patch that has been superseded (replaced) by a newer update you will see a "The update is not applicable to your computer" error - see the MS support article Windows Update Troubleshooting for other common causes of this error.

Note 4:  The standalone update packages (.msu files) will get stuck at "Checking for updates..." if there is a Windows Update session already running in the background on your computer.  Most users find that disabling automatic Windows Updates and re-booting is sufficient (STEP # 1), but if your .msu installer still gets stuck you can temporarily disconnect from the internet or stop your Windows Update service (wuauserv) at Control Panel | System and Maintenance | Administrative Tools | Services while running these installers.  Unlike Windows Update, these standalone update packages (.msu files) are associated with the Windows Update Standalone Installer (C:\Windows\System32\wusa.exe) and can be installed on computers without an internet connection.

Note 5:  This issue has not been prevalent since 2018, but if you have MS Office 2007, MS Office 2010 and/or the MS Office Compatibility Pack SP3 (an add-on that allows older MS Office products like MS Office 2000/2003/2007 to work with files with newer Open XML formats like .docx, .xlsx, etc.) and find that Windows Update is still running slowly after completing the instructions above then links for additional "speed up" patches (.exe self-extracting installers) for MS Office 2007 and the MS Office Compatibility Pack SP3 are posted below.  If you have MS Office 2010 please post in this thread and request download links for latest Word and Excel patches since MS Office 2010 will not reach end of extended support until October 2020.

     KB4018355: if Word 2007 installed (rel. Apr 2018)

     KB4018353: if Excel 2007 installed (rel. Apr 2018)
     KB4018354: if MS Office Compatibility Pack SP3 installed (wordconv; rel. Apr 2018)

     KB4461607: if MS Office Compatibility Pack SP3 installed (xlconv; rel. Feb 2019)

32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * FF ESR v52.9.0 * Malwarebytes Premium v3.5.1 * MS Office 2003 Pro SP3
HP Pavilion dv6835ca, Intel Core2Duo T5550 @ 1.83 GHz, 3 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS

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Question Info

Last updated August 9, 2020 Views 259,271 Applies to: