Howto speedup Windows 7 updates (especially after reinstall)

A freshly installed Windows 7 takes very long to scan for updates. The same happens if a Win7 PC has not yet received the updates of middle of 2016.

The reason is that the original updater is very slow, and struggles to handle the large number of updates. It can even happen that it never completes, because it may need more than 10 hours, and it restarts after a reboot. So if a PC is shut down every evening, the updater never suceeds.

It is possible to speed this up a lot, by doing the following steps, precisely in this order (skip the steps before the servicing stack if you want to speedup an existing Windows installation):

  1. Install Windows 7

  2. When Windows asks whether you want auto-updates, choose "ask later".
  3. If Service Pack 1 is not included in your install-DVD, install that now.
  4. If you want to install Language Packs, do this now, before any updates (download-links).

  5. install KB2670838, Platform Update 2013-02 (download-links).
  6. reboot the PC (note: no need to reboot for any of the further updates).
  7. install KB3177467, Servicing Stack 2016-09 (download-links).
  8. install KB3125574, Convenience Rollup 2016-04 (download-links).

  9. install KB4490628, Servicing Stack 2019-03 (download-links).
  10. install KB4474419, Code Signing Update 2019-03 (download-links).

  11. optionally install the latest Update Rollup
    for example in December 2019: KB4530734 (download-links),
    or search a later one in Security Guidance.

Now let Windows scan for updates (and enable the automatic search). This scan will be very fast. Currently (June 2017) this finds "only" 56 updates. This number of updates can be installed in one run (you should not install more than about 50 updates at a time, because the installer has a memory leak).

The above order really is the correct one, despite of them being not chronological. Reason: The Convenience Rollup cites KB3020369 (Servicing Stack 2016-04) as prerequisite, but that was superseded by KB3177467 in 2016-09.

Update 2017-06-17: "Platform Update KB2670838 must be installed before both rollups" (source)
Update 2018-01-16: download links for language packs
Update 2019-12-12: Code Signing Update