The Windows update process is broken

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Gullible Jones, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    Not the updates themselves, but the process...

    Installing Windows 7 SP1 Pro 32-bit on a Core 2 Duo workstation (250 GB hard disk, 4 GB of RAM, brick-sized nVidia graphics card), followed by a Windows update:

    I set it up to autoinstall all the recommended stuff. Not like I have a choice here...

    170+ updates download, in perhaps 10 minutes (fiber connections are great that way).

    Over 50 of them fail to install with obscure errors.

    When the first round of updates is complete, over five hours after I started it, the computer - which, I remind you, has 4 GB of RAM, a fast dual core CPU, and a decent sized SATA hard disk - is nearly frozen, swapping nonstop. When I move the mouse, the cursor hops lazily along like a tranquilized frog. It takes several minutes for the computer to accept my mouse clicks and reboot.

    Now that I've rebooted, the thing has been sitting there in unusable state, unable to log me in, for about 10 minutes. It's only a third of the way done installing the new system components. And it seems like it's slowing down, not speeding up.

    Compare this to almost any extant Linux distribution. Even PackageKit, which is frankly a godawful resource hog, can install over 300 MB worth of updates on this same model of Dell desktop in less than 15 minutes. And the computer will be entirely usable while doing so. Without any nice/ionice tweaks or anything. It Just Works. And broken updates are quite rare these days, unless you're using Debian Sid or something.

    ...

    Okay, enough rant. I need to set up a Windows system with ProcMon and some other stuff, and see what exactly is hogging all that RAM and I/O bandwidth. I will return to this thread with the results...
     
  2. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    Okay, looking at the ProcMon logs for the second round of updates: most of what I see is registry accesses, and those seem to coincide with disk activity. This round went a lot faster, only a few minutes... But I suspect that the registry might be a part of the issue - it's what, about 50-100 MB of stuff stored in a memory mapped database?

    This makes sense in a way. The performance properties of a database might make it a bad fit for desktop configuration stuff. Especially if there's direct I/O involved, bypassing caches - wouldn't that kill disk performance during heavy registry activity? I need to read up on this stuff I guess.

    If the registry is the issue though, maybe I could mitigate this by mapping more of the registry to RAM at a given time? Registry stuff is in kernel space, so DisablePagingExecutive might do that, no?
     
  3. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    If I was to reinstall Windows 7 SP1 in this computer, I would have to download and install 257 updates, including Windows (199), .NET FW (8 ) and Office (50). I´m sure it wouldn´t be a very straightforward process. The problem is compounded by the fact that SP2, SP3... were never released for Windows 7.
     
  4. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    I just did a fresh install of Win 7 SP1 a few days ago, I think there were 175 updates in the first round, then a few dozen more after that. The entire Win 7 install + updates took about 4 hrs 15 mins. Then another 45 minutes to install and update MS Office, and then another hour for apps etc. I think the entire process took over 6 hours.
    That's pretty crazy.... Compare that to any linux distro which you can do in an hour maybe... I wish there was an easier way for Win 7...
     
  5. Mayahana

    Mayahana Banned

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    Some update errors can be DNS or flooding errors. Try flushing your DNS/DNS Cache, rebooting, and trying again.. Also you can static a different IP,. and updates will sometimes fix.
     
  6. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    I'm convinced it's designed to be inconvenient for those that can figure it out. And a certain percentage are overwhelmed either go to BB, Staple etal pay $200-$400 to fix their $300-$500 PC or buy a new one. Wouldn't be surprised if 25% of yearly PC sales are because WU or some other software is fubared.
     
  7. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    @Mayahana: it's not the download speed. Download was fast. It was installation that was slow.

    @zapjb if someone had told me a few years ago that Windows 7 updates were like this, I'd have thought they were joking. Things were never this bad on XP. Which is a shame, because 7 improved upon XP in almost every other aspect.
     
  8. stapp

    stapp Global Moderator

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    I do the updates in blocks on a fresh Win 7 SP1 machine, and I reboot after each block.

    Net framework in particular seems to like to be installed by itself otherwise it may fail or fail the updates being installed at the same time.
     
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