The problem begins with Microsoft’s attempt to update things for Operating Systems (Like Windows 7), to be compatible with the newer Windows Update methods.   Since the release of Windows 8 & 10, including the 8.1, and 10 AU updates, Windows 7 has fallen behind in the care and love from Microsoft.  However sometime in July some patches were applied that broke the Windows Update process for Older Windows 7 systems.   This really affected people with clean/new installs of Windows 7, that haven’t had all the updates applied since June/July 2016.

I’ve had this problem with virtual machines I’ve recently setup that had clean installations of Windows 7, but Service Pack 1, is pretty far behind.  I haven’t done my “due diligence” in slipstream Windows Updates into my Install ISO.

After awhile, I found out that letting the Windows 7 machines just idle (tax at 100% CPU & RAM) for three days, until finally Windows Update shows a list of available updates to apply.  Then once more, having to apply those updates, and do it again to finish up with any updates that were not discovered beforehand.

Step 1. Make sure you have KB 3078601, 3109094, 3138612, 3145739, and 3164033 installed

You only have to do this once.

To see if you’re missing any of them, you can check the Windows Updates installed updates list (Start, Control Panel, under Windows Update click View installed updates). But it’s probably easier to download all of them and try to install them. If one is already installed, the installer will tell you — no harm done.

Step 1a. Make sure you know if you have a 32-bit (so-called “x86”) or 64-bit (“x64”) version of Windows 7. If you’re not sure, click Start, right-click Computer, choose Properties, and look under System type.

Step 1b. Use any browser to go to each patch download site:

KB 3078601  x64 x32

KB 3109094  x64  x32

KB 3138612  x64  x32

KB 3145739  x64  x32

KB 3164033  x64  x32

Step 1c. On each of those sites, Click Download. You’ll get an MSU file.

  • In Chrome and IE, by default, you see an offer to either Open or Save the file. Save it.
  • In Firefox, by default, the file downloads.

These Microsoft servers are notorious for freezing — sometimes the download won’t start, sometimes it won’t finish. If that happens to you, try reloading the page (click the circle-arrow near the address bar). You can also switch browsers. In any case, if you experience oddities while trying to download you aren’t the only one.

Step 1d. Turn off Windows Update. The least confusing way to do that is to click Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools. Double-click on Services. Scroll down the list of Services and click once on Windows Update. Then, in the upper-left corner, click the link marked Stop.

Step 1e. Double-click to run each of the five downloaded files. If the installer says you already have the patch, smile and go on to the next.

Running those five updates will get you set up for the one significant update you need to run each month. Unless something weird changes (hey, this is Windows), you never need to go through Step 1 again.

Step 2. Find this month’s favored patch and install it

Unfortunately, the patch itself changes from month to month — or at least, it has changed in every month since March. Here’s how to finish the job:

Step 2a. Go to and find the latest magical patch. It’s listed at the top of the first table on the site. In July, the magic patch was KB 3168965. No doubt there will be a new one in August and another in September — for however long we have to struggle with slow Win7 updates.

Step 2b. Armed with the knowledge about whether your Windows 7 installation is 32- or 64-bit, use the links in that first table with any browser to download the correct patch.

Step 2c. Save the patch but don’t install it.

Step 2d. Make sure the Windows Update service is stopped. See Step 1d above.

Step 2e. Double-click to run the downloaded patch.

Step 2f. Reboot, as instructed after the patch is installed. (The Windows Update service will restart itself.) Then click on Start, Control Panel, and under Windows Update click Check for updates.

If all went well, the check should take a few short minutes.

My thanks — and deep admiration — to Dalai, ch100, and EP.

Joseph Forbes (691)

Information Technology Consultant. For SMB, SOHO, and Online business. From Computers to Telecommunications this guy has been into it since hippies made it hip. Drone Pilot and Tech Aficionado I get to travel the State of Texas to help businesses succeed.