While it has been more than five years since mainstream support for Windows 7 ended, many computers still run the beloved Windows 7 OS. Surprisingly, as of July 2020, almost 20% of computers running on the Windows operating system continue to use the older Windows 7 version. Although the latest and greatest by Microsoft, Windows 10, is much more advanced in terms of features and design, many computer users avoid updating from Windows 7 due to its simplicity and ability to run smoothly on older systems and less powerful hardware.
However, with Windows 7 nearing its end, new operating system updates are extremely rare and arrive only once in a blue moon. These updates, usually seamless, can sometimes be quite a headache to download and install. Windows update service has been designed to quietly work in the background, download new updates whenever available, install some, and save others for when a computer restart is performed. Although, users across Windows 7,8 and 10 have reported a number of issues when trying to update their OS.
The most common problem faced is Windows Update gets stuck at 0% when downloading the fresh updates or at the ‘searching/checking for updates’ phase. Users can solve these issues regarding Windows 7 updates by implementing one of the below-explained solutions.
How to fix Windows 7 Updates Won’t Download issue?
Depending on the root of the issue, a variety of solutions seem to resolve the problem for users. The most common and easiest solution is to run the built-in Windows Update troubleshooter, followed by restarting the Windows Update Service. You can also disable your antivirus program temporarily or perform a clean boot and then try to download the update. Also, updating Windows 7 requires Internet Explorer 11 and the latest version of the .NET framework installed on your computer. So, first, check if you have these programs and, if not, download and install them to solve the ‘updates not downloading’ issue. Ultimately and unluckily, if nothing works, you can always manually download and install the new Windows 7 updates.
Method 1: Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter
Before moving to the advanced and more cumbersome methods, you should try running the Windows update troubleshooter to resolve any issues you might be facing with the updating process. The troubleshooter is available on all versions of Windows (7,8 and 10). The troubleshooter does a number of things automatically like restarting the Windows update service, renaming the SoftwareDistribution folder to clear the download cache, etc.
1. Click on the Start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard and search for Troubleshoot. Click on Troubleshooting to launch the program. You can also open the same from the Control Panel.
2. Under System and Security, click on Fix problems with Windows Update.
3. Click on Advanced in the following window.
4. Select Apply repairs automatically and finally click on Next to start troubleshooting.
The Windows Update troubleshooter may be absent on some computers. They can download the troubleshooter program from here: Windows Update Troubleshooter. Once downloaded, open the Downloads folder, double-click on the WindowsUpdate.diagcab file to run it, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process.
Method 2: Restart Windows Update Service
All software update related activities like downloading and installing are controlled by the Windows Update service that continually runs in the background. A corrupt Windows Update service can lead to updates being stuck at 0% download. Reset the problematic use and then try downloading the new updates. While the Windows Update troubleshooter performs the same action, doing it manually can help in resolving the issue.
1. Press Windows key + R on your keyboard to launch the Run command box, type services.msc, and click on OK to open the Services application.
2. In the list of local services, locate Windows Update.
3. Select the Windows Update service and then click on Restart present on the left (above the service description) or right-click on the service and select Restart from the ensuing context menu.
Method 3: Check if you have Internet Explorer 11 and .NET 4.7 (Prerequisites for updating Windows 7)
As mentioned earlier, to update Windows7, your computer needs to have Internet Explorer 11 and the latest .NET framework. Sometimes, you might be successful in performing an update without these programs, but that’s not always the case.
1. Visit Download Microsoft .NET Framework 4.7and click on the red Download button to start downloading the latest version of .NET Framework.
Once downloaded, locate the downloaded file and follow the on-screen instructions to install it. Also, ensure you have constant internet access when installing the .NET framework.
2. Now, it is time to enable/check the integrity of the newly installed .NET 4.7 framework.
3. Type Control or Control Panel in the Run command box or Windows search bar and press enter to open the Control Panel.
4. Click on Programs and Features from the list of All Control Panel Items. You can adjust the size of the icons to small or big by clicking on View by option to make looking for an item easier.
5. In the following window, click on Turn Windows feature on or off (present on the left.)
6. Locate the .NET 4.7 entry and check if the feature is enabled. If it isn’t, click on the checkbox next to it to enable. Click on OK to save the changes and exit.
Although, if .NET 4.7 was already enabled, we would need to repair/fix it and the process to do so is quite simple. First, disable the .NET framework by unticking the box next to it and then perform a computer restart to fix the tool.
Next, you will also need to have Internet Explorer 11 to be able to install any new Windows 7 updates that Microsoft releases.
1. Visit Internet Explorer in your preferred web browser and download the appropriate version of the application (either 32 or 64 bit) depending on the Windows 7 OS installed on your computer.
2. Open the downloaded .exe file (if you accidentally closed the downloads bar while the file was still being downloaded, press Ctrl + J or check your Downloads folder) and follow the on-screen instructions/prompts to install the application.
Method 4: Try to update after a clean boot
Apart from inherent problems with the Windows Update service, it is also quite possible that one of the many third-party applications you have installed on your computer might be interfering with the update process. If this is indeed the case, you can try to install the update after performing a clean boot in which only the essential services and drivers are loaded.
1. Open the system configuration tool by typing msconfig in the Run command box or search bar and then pressing enter.
2. Hop over to the Services tab of the msconfig window and tick the box next to Hide all Microsoft Services.
3. Now, click on the Disable All button to disable all the remaining third-party services.
4. Switch to the Startup tab and again click on Disable All.
5. Click on Apply, followed by OK. Now, restart your computer and then try downloading the new update.
If you were successful in installing the update, open the system configuration tool again, and enable all the services back on. Similarly, enable all the startup services and then restart your PC to boot back normally.
Method 5: Disable Windows Firewall
Sometimes, the Windows Firewall itself prevents the new update files from being downloaded, and some users have indeed reported solving the issue by temporarily disabling the Windows Firewall.
1. Open the control panel and click on Windows Defender Firewall.
2. In the following window, select Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off from the left pane.
3. Lastly, click on the radio buttons next to Turn off Windows Defender Firewall (not recommended) under both Private and Public Network Settings. Click on OK to save and exit.
Also, disable any third-party antivirus/firewall program you might have running and then try downloading the updates.
Method 6: Modify Security Permissions of the SoftwareDistribution Folder
You also won’t download the Windows 7 updates if the Windows Update service fails to write the information from the .log file at C:\WINDOWS\WindowsUpdate.log to the SoftwareDistribution folder. This failure to report data can be rectified by allowing Full Control of the SoftwareDistribution folder to the user.
1. Open Windows File Explorer (or My PC in older versions of Windows) by double-clicking on its shortcut on the desktop or using the hotkey combination Windows key + E.
2. Navigate to the following address C:\Windows and locate the SoftwareDistribution folder.
3. Right-click on the SoftwareDistribution folder and select Properties from the ensuing context menu or select the folder and press Alt + Enter.
4. Switch to the Security tab of the SoftwareDistribution Properties window and click on the Advanced button.
5. Switch to the Owner tab and Click on Change next to the Owner.
6. Enter your username in the textbox under ‘Enter the object name to select’ or click on the Advanced option and then select your username.
7. Click on Check Names (your username will be verified in a couple of seconds, and you will be prompted to enter the password if you have one set) and then on OK.
8. Once again, right-click on the SoftwareDistribution folder and select Properties.
Click on Edit… under the Security tab.
9. First, choose the user name or user group by clicking on it and then check the box for Full Control under the Allow column.
Method 7: Download and install new updates manually
Finally, if none of the above solutions did the trick for you, then it is time to take matters into your hands and install the new OS updates manually. The Windows Update service might be failing to download the latest updates if it requires to be updated.
1. Based on your system architecture, download the 32-bit or 64-bit version of the servicing stack by visiting any of the following links:
Download Update for Windows 7 for x32-based Systems (KB3020369)
2. Now, open Control Panel (Type control in Run command box and press OK) and click on System and Security.
3. Click on Windows Update, followed by Change Settings.
4. Expand the Important Updates drop-down menu and select ‘Never Check For Updates (Not Recommended)’.
5. Click on the OK button to save the changes and perform a computer restart.
6. Once your computer boots back up, head over to the Downloads folder and double-click on the KB3020369 file you downloaded in the first step. Follow all the on-screen instructions to install the servicing stack.
7. Now, it is time to install the July 2016 update for Windows 7. Again, based on your system architecture, download the appropriate file, and install it.
8. After your computer restarts as part of the installation process, head back to Windows Update in the Control Panel and change the settings back to ‘Install updates automatically (recommended)’.
Now, click on Check for updates, and you should not face any problems in downloading or installing them via the Windows Update tool.
So those were seven different methods that have been reported to solve issues related to Windows 7 updates not downloading; let us know which one worked for you in the comments below.