Tip of the day – Windows Update fixes for 7 and 8.1

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Back in the good old days (aka a few years ago) Windows Update tended to be something that just… worked. You’d take a fresh Windows install, pop it through the update process and after a bit of chugging you’d get a fully patched OS.

Recently Microsoft seem to have made a bit of a mess of things and I’ve spent far too much time forcing recalcitrant machines to do what should be a simple task.

Hopefully once the cumulative updates start rolling everything into the monthly patch cycle this post may become irrelevant. Until then here’s the quick way to persuading a Windows 7 / 8.1 machine through the Update process…

High CPU hotfix

Install this one first if you’re faced with a particularly out-of-date installation otherwise you’ll be stuck for days “searching for updates” while your CPU goes crazy (100% utilisation) for very little return…

Windows 7 https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/3102810
Windows 8 https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/3102812

Windows Update Agent

Next install this to update your updating software in order to download new updates (!)

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/949104

Reset Windows Update Agent script

Sometimes Windows Update still won’t work in spite of the patches above so run this script from TechNet to reset the Windows Update subsystem in case something has gone awry

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Reset-Windows-Update-Agent-d824badc

Round trip limit exceeded

Despite all of the above Windows Update can still fail because of a hard-coded limit in how it talks to WSUS (this only applies to managed Windows desktops rather than home users). In which case you need to take advice from this song…


“you can get it if you really want but you must try, try and try, try and try… you’ll succeed at last”

Basically just keep clicking the retry button until WSUS gets through enough trips to serve you all the updates Windows needs.

Ref: http://trentent.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/wsus-clients-fail-with-warning-exceeded.html
Ref: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/sus/2008/09/18/wsus-clients-fail-with-warning-syncserverupdatesinternal-failed-0x80244010/

You may also be able to speed things up by cleaning up your WSUS server, which can be aided via this very useful script

https://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/103094-automate-wsus-cleanup

or this one…

https://community.spiceworks.com/scripts/show/2998-adamj-clean-wsus

Now that’s sorted you can make yourself a cup of tea and wait for that progress bar to crawl across the screen! Will be interesting to see how the cumulative update process goes but if it means an easier way of rolling an out-of-date machine up with one single download then it’ll have some benefits for convenience albeit at the expense of granular control… swings and roundabouts I guess…

image credit Christiaan Colen
https://www.flickr.com/photos/132889348@N07/20013670043

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Solving USB3 issues on 2013/14 Macs running Windows 7 \ Boot Camp

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We run a lot of our Macs with a dual boot setup pushed out with DeployStudio so the machines can double up as standard Windows desktops. This has been working well, coupled with my BootCamp auto installer means the process is near enough fully automated and used the same version of Boot Camp support software across all our hardware. That was until we tried to use it with one of our new machines, a 21.5″, Late 2013 machine.

The first we noticed was message popping up saying that the version of Boot Camp wasn’t supported (5.1.56.21) which we were expecting; what we didn’t expect was the fact the keyboard and mouse didn’t work! Posts on the Apple forums suggested either rebuilding the image from scratch from fresh updated Boot Camp media or using Windows 8 instead.

We didn’t like the sound of either of those so my colleague Tristan Revell started digging and found a few possible causes, in the end he concluded USB3 was the problem after a couple of attempts to get various input devices to work after Windows started up

With that in mind we went back to Apple’s site and looked at the two updated versions of Boot Camp software (5.1.5621 and 5.1.5640). The way the download page is worded actually sends you off to the wrong version unless you read it very carefully!

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 14.33.28

Note to Apple, just put a list of supported machines on each page rather than telling us which ones it doesn’t work with… much easier to read that way (imo).

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 14.37.46  Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 14.44.20

Upon inspecting the 5.1.5640 package we spotted some interesting driver files in the $WinPE$ folder which looked very much like USB controller drivers. At that point we booted up the OS X side of the dual boot and enabled NTFS write support on the Windows drive.

We then replaced the old version of the Boot Camp support files (make sure you extract all folders from the ZIP file or the installer will moan) then copied the suspected USB3 drivers to C:\Windows\inf which meant if the files were correct they’d get automatically installed by Windows as sysprep completes. We also placed the contents of HCSwitch into the inf folder as well just to be sure.

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 15.28.15

Once that was done we rebooted et voila, keyboard and mouse now working as expected and Device Manager reported Intel (R) USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller which confirmed our suspicions. The Boot Camp installer completed successfully with all drivers present and correct 🙂