Is Windows really this bad?
I have been taking a six month "vacation" from mapmaking while editing a video, and my Windows machine was disconnected and unused. I only use this system to make maps, it's a two year old HP ProDesk 400 with a 3.4ghz i5 and 8gb RAM with Windows 7 Pro 64 bit. Works very will with my software, which is all from the Windows 7 era or earlier. So there is no point in updating beyond Windows 7. Not interested in any new features, don't use this machine for e-mail, media or anything but making maps. I just want to continue using the same software I used in 2011.

So when I fired the machine up three days ago, there were 32 Windows updates (I have it set to only use important system updates and notify me before downloading. Total was about 300MB. Left the machine alone while this was happening because I figured it would be slow and my DSL connection is only about 1mbit/sec. 5 hours later I went to shut down and it had only installed 16 of the updates.

So the next day I left the machine all day - about 15 hours to download the remaining 130MB. When I shut it down, it had only downloaded one update (about 30 MB).

This morning I am trying again, but this is ridiculous. My Trend antivirus program updated itself within a few minutes of starting up. Updated Firefox and it took about 2 minutes.

Also, when I go to the Windows update control panel, it says "downloading updates" but the progress just pulsates with green and it always says 0KB total 0% complete). This has always been the case with Windows Update in the past, even when updates are actually downloading.

The lights on my DSL modem only flicker very slowly, which doesn't look like what I expect when something is actually downloading.

So any idea what's going on here? Are Microsoft's servers really this slow? No connectivity issues here, Firefox works as expected.
Think I can answer this for myself: yes, Windows really is this bad.

Noticed that the control panel claimed the last time I checked for updates was mid-August, which is weird. So I clicked the "check for updates" option. It's been hung on "checking for updates" for an hour and a half now.

Maybe this is Microsoft's way of punishing people who won't upgrade to Windows 10? Whatever, I am just going to ignore it and get back to working on my maps.
That is unfortunate. I have heard that updates can be a problem in some instances. My main 2 computers run Win 7;one 32 bit home and the other 64 bit Pro and I have not had any issues recently. They are connected all the time though, I don't use anything other than Microsoft antivirus and my updates are set to automatic.

Thanks. I am making progress…. I think. Let it run all night and this morning it said 13 out of 14 updates were downloaded and one failed with an unknown error. After a reboot, it told me there are 11 new updates and I am downloading those now. Only 30 MB, but who knows how long that will take.

Still saying the last check for updates was August, but that is clearly bogus since some of the updates are dated in December and it also found new updates today. I had it set for automatic updates, but changed that last summer when people were reporting that Windows 10 was getting automatically installed against their wishes.

The other annoying thing about automatic updates is that my mapmaking often requires render/exports that can run for hours so I would let those run overnight. Several times I found the renders aborted because Windows decided to apply an update. This seemed really outrageous to me, that the system would abort an active user process to install an update.

I think Microsoft stopped the automatic Windows 10 updates awhile ago, so maybe I will turn auto updates back on again.
Well this really isn't working, after about 30 hours it doesn't seem to have downloaded any of the 11 updates. A simple google search revealed this is a common problem in Windows 7, 8 and 10: http://www.howtogeek.com/247380/how-to-fix-windows-update-when-it-gets-stuck/

Am running the troubleshooter right now. And guess what? It is also "stuck".

So yeah, Windows really is this bad. Seriously, can't Microsoft get something as basic as this right??
I wasted so much time of this… but finally got it working. After trying many things, the solution at the link I posted above "Windows 7: Update the Windows Update Service" is what worked. After following those steps I ran an update check and it found 325MB of updates which downloaded and installed very quickly. The download progress and dates are now correctly displayed too.

Running a backup with Acronis before doing anything else. Then we'll see if it continues to behave.
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