The other day I wanted to give some use to my old development laptop to watch movies at the living room (instead of using the gaming PC, now at another room). I opted for a fresh format and installing Windows 7, to either get the upgrade to Windows 10 or staying with a decent OS (I got really tired of Windows 8/8.1). But few things in life are easy, so after installing the OS, some drivers and running Windows Update once, it installed Windows 7 Service Pack 1... and after a reboot, the "check for updates" would never end (I left it ~4 hours the first time).
As usual, I searched for possible problems. Basic official Microsoft troubleshooting just pointed me to a tool, so I tried that Microsoft FixIt utility. It did nothing.
I kept refining searches until I found something more specific: Windows Update components might get stuck, corrupted, call-it-whatever-you-want. So I tried that Windows Update Diagnostic utility. First run said it fixed a few things except two of them.
Searching for one of the remaining issues I was told to download the System Update Readines Tool for Windows 7, a 550MB (!) pack of something that looked individual patches. No problem, download, run, wait, restart and running the WU diagnostic utility I got to just one reamining unfixed issue: "Service registration is missing or corrupt".
Now, hunting for how to fix the service registration I wasted probably more time than with everything else, as there is no official answer, lots of KB and Microsoft forums questions without official answers, and lots of procedures that seems to work sometimes. This is what I did to fix the issue:
- Run multiple times the diagnostic utility (not joking). Eventually it will fix the error.
- On an Administrator-elevated Command-Prompt, type:
net stop wuauserv
- Leave the PC on and connected to internet for 1-2 hours until Windows Update catches up. It might look as if doing nothing, but if you check the task manager, I had one core at 100% use, and svchost.exe was eating +1GB running among others the "wuauserv" executable. It will gather all your installed updates, all available ones and start downloading them (at least a first pack of mandatory ones).
When it finishes, checking for updates again will yield almost 200 new Updates between mandatory and optional. You probably will need to restart multiple times as some of them are exclusive regarding sequential install, but with patiente you will be able to leave the PC fully up to date.
I know and understand operating system updates are not easy to deliver, but maybe instead of trying to sneak me Bing or Silverlight "updates", the effort could be put into improving the diagnostic tools (so they work properly and the first time) or at least in the KB providing an easily reachable official solution.
Now, I should decide if to try to force the Windows 10 upgrade or not, as I've had enough unexpected installs and updates for a while...