1 August 2016
Windows 7 Blues
— Microsoft is back to the bad old days
Once upon a time Windows Updates were so dangerous, particularly for Windows Server operating systems, that the standard practice was to
turn OFF Automatic Windows Updates. There were true horror stories in the early days of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, with entire forums dedicated to solving Windows Updates disaster stories.
It is from those days that the most the critical piece of knowledge required of any Network Administrator is to know that
Automatic Windows Updates should be turned OFF on any Windows Server (Win2003/2008/2012). Any network administrator who fails to abide by this
without exception should be sacked, purely and simply, as that network administrator is putting your business in danger (see later).
Microsoft got such bad press in those days that Bill Gates took charge personally of driving through exacting new quality standards for Windows Updates, and it worked, so much so that, eventually, technical helpers and supremos on forums started dropping their standard advice to turn off Automatic Windows Updates for XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8/8.1.
Alas, Bill Gates moved on and stopped being actively involved in the day-to-day running of the company he and Paul Allen built to be the most successful company of all time.
And slowly but surely the quality of the products released by Microsoft started to suffer, culminating in the release of.....Windows 10 !
Consider this :
1 year after its release, on many Windows 10 PCs you can
still, after all the Windows Updates for Windows 10, find yourself
waiting for up to 2 minutes for a locked screen saver to
sort itself out so that you can put in your password to unlock
your networked Windows 10 PC.
In early July 2016, a few weeks ago, Microsoft released an update
for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 that was so bad, that on reboot a networked
PC would no longer map network drives through group policies.
Given the arrogance of Microsoft in making Windows Updates compulsory
for Windows 10 many businesses found themselves one morning with their
Windows 10 PCs totally unable to access their network server.
(Note : Thankfully, with
you can disable
the Windows Update service, WUAUSERV, which then disables
Automatic Windows Updates — and on a business network, the network
administrator can disable automatic updates through a group policy).
Windows 10, supposedly the best Windows ever, boots more
slowly than Windows 8.1.
Windows 10, supposedly the best Windows ever, is measurably slower
than Windows 8.1 at copying files to and from a network drive or
a USB device like a USB hard drive. And both are slower at copying
than the grand old lady : Windows 7 !
And this non-exhaustive list of Windows 10 major bugs brings us nicely around to the main thread of this blog :
Windows 7 Updates.
Anyone who does not have "Automatic Windows Updates" turned ON, will have noticed that since February 2016 a manual Windows Updates can take anything from
1.5 hours to a staggering 24 hours to build and display the list of available updates for your PC. From February 2016 to the end of July 2016
— that is 6 months ! 6 months during which Microsoft have failed, month after month, to fix the problem. It is so bad that many forums are now spreading opinions that this is part of a deliberate attempt by Microsoft to move Windows 7 users to Windows 10, particularly after Microsoft's multiple clumsy attempts at forcing users to migrate to Windows 10 starting from almost-automatic upgrades to Windows 10 to that crass popup where attempts by users at declining the Windows 10 update would result in the user installing it anyway !
And it is easy to see why this opinion is gathering momentum. In June 2016, one year after the introduction of Windows 10,
after one year of FREE upgrades to Windows 10 for all Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 users, Windows 10 has still not reached 20% of users worldwide. In fact, using the figures published by
NetMarketShare as of the end of June 2016, 55.47% of Windows PC users worldwide still use Windows 7 :
Personally, I keep an open mind, for the moment, as to why manual Windows updates for Windows 7 users has been such a nightmare for the last 6 months, as my current thinking is that, despite what it looks like, it is more simply another illustration of the increasing total lack of quality control at Microsoft that is corrupting the delivery of Windows Updates, resulting in Windows 10 PCs that can no longer connect to a network Windows server, and Windows 7 PCs that cannot connect to Microsoft's Windows Updates servers
— but I am keeping an open mind !
So, if you are one of those Windows 7 users desperate for a solution to your interminable never-completing manual Windows Updates, here is a solution that works as of 1-August-2016 (caveat : it may not work in September !!) :
Install the February 2016 Windows Update Agent for Windows 7
Install the April 2016 Windows Update agent for Windows 7
Install the July 2016 Update Rollup for Windows 7
Open Internet Explorer and empty its cache
("Tools \ Delete Browsing History" menu option).
Stop the Windows Updates (WUAUSERV) service on the
Services tab of The
Ultimate Troubleshooter. If you do not
have TUT, then do it via "Control Panel \ Administrative Tools \ Services".
Drill down to this folder : C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution
and delete everything in it.
Restart the Windows Updates (WUAUSERV) service that you
stopped in (5) above.
Run Windows Updates. From our experience Windows Updates
should now take no more than 10 to 45 minutes to bring you the
list of available updates.
On your first run install
only .NET updates, Silverlight, Microsoft Office updates,
On your second run install
only and only Windows Updates.
On your last run install Security Updates and any additional Windows Updates.
Good Luck !!!!!!!
—— (TUT) SpaceMan