KB 3185911 speeds up the Windows 7 scan for updates

We have a new "magic" patch that cuts Windows 7 updates scans from hours to minutes

KB 3185911 speeds up the Windows 7 scan for updates
Credit: Thinkstock

Do you still have problems with the Windows 7 check for updates taking hours and hours? It's the same problem I've been talking about since April, but this month, we have a different solution. I can hear the sigh of relief from here.

The "magic" patch this month is KB 3185911, otherwise known as MS16-106. It's yet another security patch for the Windows Graphics component. If you install KB 3185911 first, then scan for updates, the scan will miraculously decrease from many hours to a few short minutes.

In the past, a blogger known as Dalai has updated the information on his website, wu.krelay.de/en, to fill us all in on the latest magic patch. Unfortunately, at the moment, I can't get that site to appear. It's quite likely that the site's become so popular that it's inaccessible, or Dalai has pulled it offline.

If you want to install that patch alone, see the two-step method I posted last month (you only have to do Step 2 this month), and substitute KB 3185911 in Step 2. Make sure you follow the instructions and turn off the Windows Update service at the right time.

Poster Canadian Tech, both on AskWoody.com and on the Microsoft Answers forum, has presented a simple, permanent solution to the problem (at least until Microsoft changes everything in October). He suggests that you install KB 3020369, then KB 3172605. (Canadian Tech gives credit to TrashZone, ElderN, and VolumeZ for their contributions.)

I had a problem with that approach several months ago. KB 3020369 was triggering "Stage 3 of 3" reboot hangs and KB 3172605 had many bugs. Now it looks like Microsoft has fixed those problems -- in particular the Intel Wi-Fi bug has been fixed.

So you can pick your poison and either install the one key patch that makes it work, or go ahead with the more-recent changes demonstrated by Canadian Tech. Poster ch100 on AskWoody recommends:

For new machines, use Canadian Tech's approach as it is enough to get WU started. For established machines missing patches, use Dalai's approach as it has extra updates which are useful for the slow WU issue.

A lot of the issues are related to Windows Update Agent 7.6.7600.320 which is pushed automatically if there is no superseding (later) Windows Update Agent installed. Currently the best Windows Update agents come with KB3138612 or KB3172605 and one of them needs to be installed first thing. Eventually both will be installed as part of WU, as while they overlap in some parts, they do not supersede each other.

Either way you'll save many hours in your pursuit of Windows 7 patches.