Windows Update fail

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Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:11 pm

This is happening on an older HP Touchsmart Intel dual core machine with 6 GB of system RAM with Win 7 Pro 64 bit. As you can see by the specs, I can't update it to Windows 10 and right now, I'm not even sure if it's OK with Win 7 anymore the way it's working. Win 10 will break the touch controls anyway and it's currently being used as a media center machine right now for my music ripping and since MS decided to dump all things media with Win 10...well, no way. All scans indicate NO virus infections, either with MSE or Malwarebytes and I don't use it much for surfing anyway. I'm about ready to take it offline permanently, finish with ripping all my CD's and recycle it to computer heaven.

Right now, it takes HOURS for Windows Update just to find the updates after I boot. Then it appears to take many more hours just to START downloading them. WTF is going on. I've tried the MS fixit tool and a bunch of other things from suggestions online, but nothing makes any difference. In fact, it's been waiting there for a couple of hours NOT downloading anything today, since I figured MS's servers wouldn't be busy on a Sunday. But after hours with the downloading screen showing and nothing going on, I don't know what else to do. I can tell nothing's downloading because my modem doesn't indicate any traffic. Any suggestions or is it ready to be put out to pasture?
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Jeff250 » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:56 pm

When checking for updates, they use an algorithm that doesn't scale well, so each month it gets slower and slower as they add updates. Vista is even worse. Try letting it run overnight.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:13 pm

Well, that sucks. Is it due to the older machine's CPU speed and memory, or is it MS's fault? My 2 other machines don't take anywhere near as long.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Top Gun » Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:37 pm

Upgrading my parents' 7-year-old Dell desktop to Windows 7 a few weeks ago took a shockingly long time to run the whole gamut of updates, long enough that I thought something had broken, so you're definitely not alone in this.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Jeff250 » Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:31 pm

tunnelcat wrote:Well, that sucks. Is it due to the older machine's CPU speed and memory, or is it MS's fault? My 2 other machines don't take anywhere near as long.
An older machine certainly exacerbates the problem, but it's ultimately their fault.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Verran » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:58 am

I had the same problem on an old laptop yesterday.

Got around the ridiculousness by using a 3rd party tool called Windows Update Offline Installer:
http://download.wsusoffline.net/

It worked great. Maybe it could help you, too.

Thanks!
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:48 pm

It took from 11:26 AM to 4:00 PM that day to get everything searched for, downloaded and installed. It has never taken this long on either of my other 2 Win 7 machines so far and both of those have the RAM and horsepower to spare. That's why I was wondering if that machine doesn't have enough RAM or that Intel dual core is just too slow. So it's not my internet connection either, and yeah, Microsoft sucks.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Krom » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:57 pm

I bet that algorithm has been around for a long time if it has problems scaling, the developers probably never thought there would be so many regular updates when they came up with it back in the 9x era when updates first started being a regular thing. :P
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by fliptw » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:36 pm

Which is funny, as it doesn't' really need a complex algo to check what needs to be updated.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by fliptw » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:47 pm

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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Jeff250 » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:31 am

Yeah, the reason why sometimes installing the latest patch seems to help is because you're reducing the number of components that need updating, but you're not permanently fixing it of course, just until the next month when that component has another patch.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:33 pm

Maybe it's not a conspiracy, but instead failure by neglect and stupidity. I'm guessing that MS has moved all their best software engineers into Win 10 development and thrown all their newbie and screwup engineers to the mundane task of maintaining Win7/8 and they are not being happy campers about it at all. :P
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Sirius » Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:32 am

tunnelcat wrote:Maybe it's not a conspiracy, but instead failure by neglect and stupidity. I'm guessing that MS has moved all their best software engineers into Win 10 development and thrown all their newbie and screwup engineers to the mundane task of maintaining Win7/8 and they are not being happy campers about it at all. :P
Hahahaha... this is surprisingly accurate.

The development of the "next" version of Windows stays with one team, and their job is to add features and fix bugs on the working branch of the project. When a version ships that has to be supported, the state of the product at that time is transitioned to another team (used to be called Sustained Engineering, now CXE I think), and they take the code, the tests, and use them to fix issues on that shipped product.
From my experience, the guys working for that team are decent developers (although they vary from person to person just like any other team); they're just massively overworked.

Windows Update in particular is probably a bit more complex, as it's partially a service. And it sounds like the service might be where the problem is in this case. I won't attempt to answer for them if so - I have no real idea what's going on there.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Tue May 10, 2016 2:25 pm

Found this. I'm going to check this out on the affected HP machine.

http://www.computerworld.com/article/30 ... pdate.html
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Jeff250 » Tue May 10, 2016 5:27 pm

The April 2016 patch (KB3145739) they recommend downloading fixes a security problem in font rendering and so couldn't fix Windows Update performance (except for perhaps temporarily seeming to because of this reason). The March 2016 one (KB3138612) actually updates Windows Update, so it might help. The update check this month for one virtual machine seemed faster (the other not so much), but it could just be that fewer components needed updating for that machine this month too. Either way, as much fun as it is to blast clueless journalists for spreading misinformation, it's ultimately Microsoft's fault for either not fixing this or, if they have fixed it, not bothering to tell anyone about it.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Wed May 11, 2016 3:11 pm

What's weird it that last week's Office updates showed up quickly and downloaded fast on the one affected HP machine. I haven't tried doing this week's updates on it yet. I'll check and see if KB3138612 was installed on it last month. Maybe that's why the Office updates went so quickly. It looks like it was definitely installed on my gaming rig though.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Thu May 12, 2016 12:44 pm

Yep. KB3138612 was installed with the April update. Didn't do diddly squat for speeding up the main security updates for this month however. The machine has been sitting here twiddling it's thumbs for over 2 hours while checking for updates and it still hasn't found them. Another thing I've noticed is that a single svchost process has been running the whole time since the Windows Update search was initiated and it's taking up to 50% of the CPU usage, really dragging things down, making the machine even more of a slug. It won't let go until Windows Update finishes the whole job either, which can take 6 to 8 hours on this particular machine.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Fri May 13, 2016 1:06 pm

Oops. Windows update TO Windows 10 epic fail. :lol:

https://bgr.com/2016/04/28/windows-10-u ... broadcast/
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:43 pm

I looks like I'm going to have to retire this one machine. I can't upgrade it to Windows 10 because it's an HP Touchsmart Media Center machine and Windows 10 will brick it. Even after leaving it running for 4 solid days, it never found the July updates. What's weird is that when the wuauserv (WindowsUpdate) service is running, an associated svchost.exe process is taking up 50% of the CPU's cycles. I know those 2 are associated because when you stop the service wuauserv, the other process goes away. I've spent hours looking for every "solution" I could find on the web and every recommended KB patch out there to install. I had all of them already installed except one and even that one didn't help. I've tried stopping and re-starting Windows Update. I even installed .NET Framework 4.6.1 because someone found that helped. Nothing. I've come down to the fact that a dual core machine just will not be able to look for and install MS updates anymore and since 10 is out, MS doesn't give a crap anymore. :frown:

My next question is can I use the update numbers displayed in the "installed updates" list from one of my other Win 7 machines to search Microsoft and manually download the individual patches and install them that way? I'm at a loss as to what else to do. I use this machine for music ripping and digitizing mostly and I'm not yet done with all my CD's.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Grendel » Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:27 pm

There may be some helpful info here: http://www.infoworld.com/article/305826 ... dates.html
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:05 pm

Thanks for looking Grendel, but I already had those installed as well, plus a few others I found AND .NET Framework 4.6.1, which I might uninstall since I don't need it on that machine and it did squat to fix things anyway. None of what I've tried has made a difference. However, I spent some time today and manually downloaded the relevant security patches and Word patches using the KB numbers from my other machine. All I can say is that Microsoft does NOT make it easy to do security patches manually. :roll:
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Jeff250 » Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:21 pm

If it's just a media center machine and it's behind NAT, then installing Windows updates isn't really that important. Just don't use Internet Explorer.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Krom » Sat Jul 30, 2016 6:20 am

Jeff250 wrote:If it's just a media center machine and it's behind NAT, then installing Windows updates isn't really that important. Just don't use Internet Explorer.
At least until your ISP does a native IPv6 implementation, because there is no NAT for IPv6. Although you can emulate the behavior of NAT easily even with a fairly basic firewall so that will likely be the preferred solution under IPv6.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Jeff250 » Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:47 am

Even though my ISP gives me a /64, my router still makes me "port forward" for the addresses to be publicly visible. I'm wondering if this is the norm.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Krom » Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:18 am

Probably just the router incorrectly naming opening a port on the firewall. The real test is to see if you can "forward" the same port to more than one computer/device on the LAN at the same time. NAT over IPv4 can not do that, but IPv6 can.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Sat Jul 30, 2016 3:21 pm

Right now, it's IPv4 and behind NAT. I don't use IE, but I do occasionally use Firefox with AdBlock and NoScript installed. I think however that I'm going to eventually take it offline and use it solely to rip and digitize the rest of my CD's before I retire it. It's gotten so slow that it's pretty much unusable for much of anything.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Jeff250 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:45 pm

This might be the one:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3161647

I had good luck with it on a machine I updated today, and unlike previously proposed fixes which appear to only decrease the scan time each month by installing the very updates you're scanning for, this one actually describes itself as fixing the update scan time. The latest download for it is here:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3172605
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:25 am

Did you have to install both of those to get results?
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Jeff250 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:33 am

The first link isn't actually a download. It's just an article about a fix that is included in the download provided by the second link.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:58 am

Oops, not enough coffee this morning. I looked at what the first link referenced and found that second link. I'll give it a whirl. What still bothers me is that when Windows Update runs, it starts it's own svchost.exe process that takes over 50% of the CPU and it won't let go. It turns the machine into a slug. I don't know if it's because the machine only has a 2 core CPU, or 8 gigs of memory. I'll have to try and install KB3172605 before I turn Windows Update back on, or any attempts at downloading or installation will be like watching paint dry. :roll:
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:30 pm

Well Jeff250, that seemed to make a difference. I downloaded and installed the your find, rebooted and then reset Windows Update to look for updates and it took about 8 minutes to find a bunch for .NET Framework, which I'd forgotten to update last week. I also noticed that one particular instance of svchost.exe wasn't running anymore and taking up 50% of the CPU either, so something changed. Windows Trusted Installer was running, taking 50% of the CPU, but it was at least working and finding some updates, not sitting there choking the system. The acid test will be next week on update Tuesday. But in the meantime, a big thanks. :)
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Grendel » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:20 am

Also run a disk cleanup (CP -> System -> Admin Tools/Free up disk space --> Clean up system files.) I have seen some outrageous numbers here (eg. 20GB System queued Windows Error Reporting, 2+GB Windows Update Cleanup), cleaning these out seemed to help speeding up update checks.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:13 pm

Yeah, good idea. I haven't done that in awhile. I also tend to clear out the Event Log once in awhile too. I do have a question though. What's with all the junk that gets thrown into C:/Windows/Temp and what if any of the stuff can be deleted? I tried cleaning that folder with out CCleaner a long time ago and discovered that Microsoft Security Essentials got screwed up and would no longer start with Windows. I had to reinstall it to fix it. There's also a boatload of cab files and log files from a couple of other programs too. It's supposed to be a Temp directory, isn't it? Windows seems to be using it for long term storage or other uses. :roll:
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Foil » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:14 pm

Grendel wrote:I have seen some outrageous numbers here (eg. 20GB System queued Windows Error Reporting, 2+GB Windows Update Cleanup), cleaning these out seemed to help speeding up update checks.
This. I was seeing some massive disk usage upon bootup with some error logs [details]. Cleaning those up helped massively for me.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Grendel » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:06 pm

I usually leave C:\Windows\Temp alone, the Free up disk space dialog will kill some of it.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by vision » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:10 pm

One time It took me 11 hours to fix my Win7 machine after a known update bug ruined the updater. Recently, a friend of mine asked me to fix his daughter's laptop, but it was so broken from Microsoft's garbage updater that I couldn't even troubleshoot it in recovery mode. After three hours I decided the only thing left to do was pull all her files and install Xubuntu. She'll never know the difference since she's a little kid and only uses the laptop for watching cartoons Netflix.

I suggest everyone who is having problems with Windows look into the different flavors of Ubuntu. If you don't rely on software that specifically needs Windows (and can't run in a emulated Windows environment) then Ubuntu is the way to go. For basic computing like web browsing and using office tools Linux can't be beat for the price and is less of a hassle than Windows, in my opinion. You would be surprised how many open-source alternatives there are to popular software used on Windows.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Top Gun » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:04 pm

I had one massively rage-inducing experience with Ubuntu a few years back...never again. At least Windows is the devil one knows.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Tunnelcat » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:53 pm

Grendel wrote:I usually leave C:\Windows\Temp alone, the Free up disk space dialog will kill some of it.
I've been leaving it alone anyway after messing of MSE the last time I deleted things. By the way, disk cleanup only found 524 megs of removable stuff, so that wasn't really the issue I'm guessing. The acid test will be when update Tuesday hits this month.

Foil, Holy crap! I've got 46.1 Gigs of cbs.persist.log files. I'll have to read your link a little bit more and see if I can deal with them.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by vision » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:25 pm

Top Gun wrote:I had one massively rage-inducing experience with Ubuntu a few years back...never again. At least Windows is the devil one knows.
Can you tell me what it was? Just curious, I'm not trying to sell Ubuntu or Linux. I imagine your experience was similar to my early experience. I first started using Ubuntu back around 2009-2010 because XP was on life support and I didn't want to go Vista (and my computer wasn't strong enough for Win7). After about a year of grinding away at Ubuntu and getting pissed off all the time I actually went back to XP until the very last day of support. But in that middle time I kept trying different Linux distros here and there because I liked a few things about it. Now I've become familiar enough with Linux systems that using it is transparent. Of course, there is a whole lot you can't do well on Linux, but these days my main income is from IT & programming so Linux is a good fit.
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Re: Windows Update fail

Post by Top Gun » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:12 am

Well at the time I was trying to get whatever the current version of Ubuntu was running so that I'd be able to get a stupid Team Fortress 2 item (no I don't need help why do you ask), and while I was able to get it to install to a partition, getting it to run reasonably well was a whole other story. The whole issue seemed to be that the OS utterly refused to play nice with my video card at the time (a Radeon HD4670). I tried alternate drivers, I tried using the LTS release as opposed to the most recent 6-month distribution, but it didn't matter: the desktop environment was stuck rendering in software mode, so needless to say it was hideously slow and pretty much unusable. I was able to get TF2 started for long enough to get my damn penguin, but that was about it, so I said screw it and uninstalled the thing.
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