Windows 7 updates have been broken for several days

Windows Update attempts to download the latest bug fixes, but the install never gets past 0% progress

Windows 7 updates have been broken for several days

If something goes wrong with a patch, it's usually a problem that emerges after people download and install the patch. But in this case, fixes issued for May's Patch Tuesday batch just plain won't install at all for some people.

The most recent batch of bug fixes was issued on May 10, and within days people were complaining of problems with the installation. It's always the same problem: Windows Update runs for a long time stuck at 0% progress before finally failing to install.

+ Also on Network World: How to go back to Windows 7 or 8 after an unwanted Windows 10 upgrade +

The site came up with a fix: install a single patch manually, KB3153199, separately from the others. While some reported success, it didn't work on my machine. The three patches on my machine break down as one Windows 7 fix and two .Net 3.5.1 fixes.

Windows Update had been trying daily to install the patches and failing. So, I tried something radical: I restarted the PC. After 12 days of uptime, that turned out to be the fix. The updates all installed, eventually. It took a while, but they did come down. No more failing at zero percent.

Stop automatic installs of patches?

This latest foul-up has people like Computerworld blogger Michael Horowitz advocating not allowing automatic installs of patches and waiting a few days after Patch Tuesday or other fixes are issued.

"Waiting a few days gives Microsoft time to pull back or fix any bad patches. It also gives experts, such as Woody Leonhard, time to come up with workarounds to whatever issues crop up," Horowitz argues.

I don't blame him, but there are potential problems with waiting, too. Once Microsoft issues a fix, that tells the bad guys where the problems are and they can target them.

Horowitz also advocates installing .Net Framework updates separately from OS updates because .Net updates tend to cause failures during the install. This I can agree with. There are times when .Net is really more of a hassle than it's worth.

I asked Microsoft for comment, and a spokesperson said they had nothing to share regarding Windows Update.

So for now, if you are stuck, try a reboot. That always seems to be the universal fix. That or a hammer.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10