Here's how to significantly speed up Windows 7 scans for updates

An unlikely combination of two Windows updates can reduce scan times from hours to minutes

If you're experiencing Windows 7 update scans measured in hours -- if not days -- as I described last week, a newly discovered trick may reduce scan times to minutes. It's an unlikely combination of two updates that has worked wonders on my Win7 PCs. Try it and see how it works on yours.

It was poster EP on who nailed the magic incantation:

Install a COMBINATION of the following updates on Win7 SP1 -- KB3138612 AND KB3145739. I found out that patching KB3145739 alone without patching the WU Client for Win7 SP1 is not enough.

KB 3138612, you may recall, is the March "Windows Update Client for Windows 7" --  exactly the kind of patch you'd expect to solve the Win7 update slowdown.

KB 3145739, on the other hand, is this month's "security update for Windows Graphics Component" -- otherwise known as MS 16-039, the security patch that (once again) fixes the way Windows handles fonts inside the kernel.

I know that sounds like combining beer and cement to make a cheesecake, but there you have it. KB 3138612 installs a new program to handle Windows Updates; KB 3145739 has a new Windows kernel. Either patch installed by itself leads to hours and hours of waiting for Windows 7 update. Installing both patches together brings wait times (on the systems I've checked, anyway) back to sane levels.

Poster ch100 explains:

KB 3145739 is superseding KB 3139852 which was made famous by Noel Carboni about a month ago. That patch was fixing slow update for a lot of people. As such it supersedes a ton of other older patches and from this point of view is like a Cumulative Update.

The issue which creates slowing down of WU is that all those old patches are not removed by Microsoft after releasing the new ones and create problems for those who try to patch new installations.

To see if you have KB 3138612 (remember, this is only for Windows 7), click Start > Control Panel > System and Security > View installed updates. Click on Name to sort your vast collection of updates by name. Look under the heading Microsoft Windows for "Update for Microsoft Windows (KB3138612)." If you don't have it, go to the KB article and download the appropriate version (32-bit versions are identified as x86; 64-bit versions are x64), then double-click on the download to install it.

To see if you have KB 3145739, follow the same procedure but look for "Security Update for Microsoft Windows (KB3145739)." If you don't have it, you'll need to fire up Internet Explorer (I kept getting spurious errors with Chrome and Firefox) and go to the appropriate site for the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version.

If my experience and that of dozens of others are any indication, when you download and manually install both patches, you'll save yourself hours and hours of waiting when you next scan for the most recent Windows 7 updates.

Tip of the Baker Street Irregulars hat to EP, ch100, and NC.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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