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QNAP VM Windows 7 Update Problem and Fix


jsox
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I have a QNAP TS-453 Pro. One of the things it can do is run other OS's in virtual machines. As I converted more and more of my real hardware from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 I thought it might be a good idea to have a virtual Windows 7. I installed W7Pro on the QNAP easily enough from an ISO but could never get it to update. I let Windows Update run for days and never got anything. I wiped the install and started over multiple times, always with the same result. It would never update. I tried installing the "update updater" and that didn't fix it. I tried installing the 2016 Windows 7 Roll-up and that didn't fix it. 
 
Here is what finally worked for me...

Key source: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-update/following-a-clean-install-windows-update-remains/ff3c442e-79a6-40d3-ac35-29e130cebef1

 

The instructions I followed (some additions / clarification by me) were:

  1. Download  https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3172605 and https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3020369 in advance
    • Make sure you have a way to make them accessible to your VM even though it will have no working network.
  2. Disconnect the computer from the Internet. Or create a VM without a network connection.
    • This is to stop Windows Update from updating itself automatically to 7.6.7600.320.
  3. Perform a fresh reload from Recovery Media or Windows 7 SP1 x64 ISO
  4. When the installation process reaches the Update Preferences page and prompts you, choose "Ask Me Later"
  5. Apply KB3020369, Restart
    • This took no more than a minute or two
  6. Apply KB3172605, Restart
    • This took no more than a minute or two
  7. At this point I also installed Internet Explorer 11 from a previously download file, then Restart
    • This was not in the original instructions and I suspect it was not necessary.
  8. Restore the Internet connection to the VM
  9. Configure update settings to your preference and launch Windows Update as normal.

Note: Windows was never Activated in the above process. One of theories I had tested previously was that Update no longer worked unless the install was Activated. Not the case.

 

In my situation the first round found ~230 updates, from which I did the usual Restart and repeat to extinction.

 

I tried so many things that did not work that I was very pleased to find a solution, and I wanted to document it here for others.

 

Additional comments:

  • I loaded a Win7 Pro in a Hyper-V VM on a PC running Win10 Pro and it behaved exactly the same way as it did on the QNAP. No updates. I had been blaming the QNAP somehow, which is why I tried it on a Win10 box in the first place. Clearly the problem was not related to the QNAP at all. The fix described above worked in Hyper-V too.
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