So I installed the Intel chipset drivers and then those for networking (I had previously copied them to a USB stick), rebooted, and got connected to my wireless network. After an initial update to the Windows Update software, I then proceeded to stare at a “Checking for updates…” window that was clearly doing absolutely nothing. But doubly disappointing since this issue exacerbates the central problem with fully updating Windows 7 today: You have several hundred updates to get through as it is, and having to wait to install them is untenable. One hour later—two hours since the clean install completed—Windows Update had installed 106 of the 226 important updates.With a bit of research—Google, plus feedback from the good folks on Twitter, I discovered that Windows 7 has degenerated over time and that waiting on Windows Update for hours are now customary. I was told via Twitter that two software updates—KB3102810 and KB3083710–should get Windows Update unstuck. But after 20 minutes of no further progress, I rebooted the PC in the hopes of getting it “unstuck.” During the offline update installer experience, I noted that it was installing 160 updates, which seemed like a good sign.Install, reboot, and it was 11 pm, and there was just 1 important update. Microsoft makes Convenience rollup update available via something called the Windows Update Catalog, but that site inexcusably requires Internet Explorer because it uses an Active X control. So you can fire up IE and get the CR, or just use these download links, helpfully supplied to me by Tero Alhonen via Twitter: My plan was to see how long it took to install these updates, and how much easier the process was. Then I checked Windows Update to see what was left.Windows 7 users—and by the most accurate count available today, there are almost 750 million of them—know that clean installing this OS can be terribly time-consuming.So for comparison’s sake, I pulled out an old Windows 7-based Ultrabook—a five-year-old ASUS Zenbook UX31E—and set about to clean install and then fully update the OS the old-fashioned way, using only Windows Update. After the initial install was over, there were a number of missing drivers, including any form of networking.
(One reader also told me that Ed Bott had experienced this same issue a few months back, though that was before the CR was available.) So I installed those, rebooted, checked Windows Update and … There were 226 pending important updates to install, plus 10 optional updates. But when the PC finally rebooted into the desktop and I checked Windows Update again, it hung on that “Checking for updates…” window yet again.And though time just keeping plodding forward, Windows Update refused to do a thing.