Fix Windows 7 getting stuck on "Checking for updates...", high CPU usage or installing updates

So my friend's computer has had issues with getting updates since day 1. I didn't really know why, but at the time a lot of the responses online was to leave it running overnight and hope for the best.

Eventually, my computers became victim to the same issue. For months, Windows Update would get stuck on the "Checking for updates..." or hang when trying to download the updates.

windows updates chcekingwindows update scanning

It also pegs a CPU core to almost 100% usage (or 25% in quad cores and 50% in dual cores) under the process "svchost.exe" while it searches aimlessly, wasting valuable battery life and compute cycles on something that should be sitting quietly in the background.

Note: svchost.exe is used to host many services, but in my case after stopping the "Windows Update" service, the CPU spike stopped. If this isn't the case for you, then you have another problem.

I stumbled upon some information by chance which described the issues. Apparently there were some changes to Windows Updates which fixes these issues, but only made available through optional rollup patches.

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Great logic there Microsoft. You've fix your updater but made it optional, so anyone who uses it has to go on a wild goose chase in order to get it working.

These rollup patches come in a form of rollup updates, which basically mean they're a monthly service pack.

Before you continue... Service Pack 1 is required!

Make sure you're on Windows 7 SP1!

Right click on "My Computer" and select Properties. That'll give you the service pack information under "Windows edition".

If you're not on SP1, go to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (KB976932), click download and select either:

  • windows6.1-KB976932-X64.exe (64 bit)
  • windows6.1-KB976932-X86.exe (32 bit)

And depending on how long your updater has been broken for, you'll also need the April 2015 service servicing stack update. For most people this shouldn't be a problem. Only download and install it the fix process complains.

The fix

  • When it's done, disable the Windows Update service from running in the background. This will speed up installation of the update by a great amount.
  • To disable it, find command prompt in the start menu, right click, run as administrator and paste in:

sc stop wuauserv

  • Go to the Update for Windows 7 file and run it
  • Click through the prompts and let it do its thing. After a while, it'll ask you to restart. Hope you've got some time because it takes a while!

DSC_1012

Stays on 13% for ages! Worst quality photo, no apologies.

  • Once you're back into Windows, make sure that Windows Updates works by clicking on "Check for updates". It should work much faster (within a few minutes) like it used to!

imageAs you can see, this computer hasn't had a proper update since June...

  • If it shows new updates available quickly then you should be on your way.
  • Install the updates to test it out. Everything should be working perfectly now.

image

So now you should have gone from a computer which takes about 10 minutes to scan for updates to one that scans within a minute. And now the updates should actually work!

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Sources

Android: Fix for YouTube "There was a problem while playing. Tap to retry" - Videos Stop Playing After a Few Days

This was an annoying issue plaguing me for the past year or so. I don't know exactly when it started happening or why, but there are numerous posts and issue trackers for it scattered around the internet without a solid fix.

The problem

The official YouTube app suddenly decides to stop working about 2 days after rebooting the phone. There's no real information available (as a user) to figure out what's wrong.

All it says is "There was an error while playing. Touch to Retry".

Oh but not to worry, you're still able to watch YouTube ads before the actual video itself.

http://i.imgur.com/y96imEp.png

For those more technically inclined, here's what the stack trace looks like when YouTube freaks the hell out:

Fixes that I've tried

Over the year, nothing I tried works aside from restarting the phone. That was the only thing that kept YouTube working, other than just watching it via the browser which bypasses the app altogether.

In case you've stumbled upon this guide while running into an entirely different issue, here are a few things that may get YouTube working again:

Clearing cache and data for YouTube didn't work
Uninstalling and reinstalling YouTube didn't work
Downgrading to an older version of YouTube didn't work - I went all the way back from v11 to v6
Removing current WiFi details and adding it back didn't work - some people believe this works
As mentioned above, restarting the phone works for about 2 days. You'll find it frustrating after putting up with an ad and it doesn't work again
Using a web browser to play the video Works consistently, but it's not as good as the app

The Solution!

Only until last week did I manage to find a new suggestion on XDA forums. I tried it out, gave it a few days and surprisingly it still works!

Unfortunately, it requires you to have root access to your Android device. I guess there's only so much you can do before you have to dig deeper to fix these sort of issues.

What you need to do is rename a few system files and restart the phone.

  1. Open up a file explorer capable of browsing system folders. If your phone doesn't have one, I recommend FX File Explorer as it comes with root explorer mode.
  2. Navigate your way to /system/etc/firmware/
  3. Rename the following files to add ".bak":
    tzwidevine.b00 tzwidevine.b00.bak
    tzwidevine.b01 tzwidevine.b01.bak
    tzwidevine.b02 tzwidevine.b02.bak
    tzwidevine.b03 tzwidevine.b03.bak
    tzwidevine.mdt tzwidevine.mdt.bak

  4. Restart your phone.
  5. Make YouTube great again! You shouldn't have any more issues with watching silly videos again after doing this.

Source

Video playback issue - Post #4

 
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