Update mess: Windows Update fails on clean Windows 7 installations, patches fail too

Clean installations of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 can’t download and install updates through Windows Update. An update that should solve the issue is available but because it is distributed through Windows Update, it can’t be applied.

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Security researcher Stefan Kanthak reported the issue on the SecurityFocus forums and notes that affected systems don’t receive security updates. Even worse, because the search for updates never finishes, users are never made aware that critical/important security updates exist for their system.

A possible cause is that Windows Update runs out of memory when searching updates. Windows Update ends with error 0x8007000E (E_OUTOFMEMORY).  The issue has been reported by many users and Microsoft already released a fix.

With KB3050265 and KB3161647 the software giant hoped to resolve the issue but because Windows Update doesn’t work, it also doesn’t download these updates. Kanthak explains, “Windows Update does NOT get/fetch this updated Windows Update Client and is stuck!”

In fact, when clean installations of Windows 7 are connected to the internet they try to download an outdated version of Windows Update. The update is so old that Microsoft released ten newer versions of it already, Kanthak writes.

Fortunately there is a solution, Kanthak has written a rather lengthy solution for the problem. A Microsoft Answer user also posted a method a couple of days ago, which is much simpler and can be found here.

Windows 7 mainstream support ended on January 13, 2015. The operating system still receives security updates a part of Microsoft’s extended support till January 14, 2020.