Fixing Windows Updates in Windows 7

This may help anyone experiencing hanging Windows Update windows, or update progress bars stuck eternally at 0%. It may also apply to other versions of Windows.

For some reason, many recent Windows Update releases have left my update application in a bad state: either an unresponsive window that can’t be closed, or a progress meter stuck perpetually at the same point (usually at 0%, but I’ve seen it stuck at other points, depending on the number and nature of updates included in a batch).

I’ve found that each and every one of these troublesome updates included an update to one or more .Net frameworks, usually a security update.

To fix this:

  1. Manually run Windows Update, and click on the details button (do not install yet!) to see whether there is indeed an update to one or more .Net Framework packages (1.1, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, etc.).
    • If so, follow the rest of the steps below.
    • If not, try selecting one or a few of the updates at a time (instead of all of them at once) and installing them separately, until you either get all of them installed, or you can isolate the problem update.
  2. Download and run the .Net Framework Cleanup Tool from Aaron Stebner’s blog.
  3. Extract the downloaded archive, right-click the tool executable, and click Run as administrator.
  4. In the tool window, choose All versions and run it.
  5. Reboot.
  6. As mentioned above, manually run Windows Update and choose to first install the updates not related to .Net frameworks first, reboot as prompted.
  7. Use Windows Update to finally install any .Net-related updates.
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