Windows Update Won’t Work on Windows 7 and 8.1 Running on New Hardware

Tina Sieber 20-03-2017

Here’s a new strategy to disable Windows Update 7 Ways to Temporarily Turn Off Windows Update in Windows 10 Windows Update keeps your system patched and safe. In Windows 10 you're at the mercy of Microsoft's schedule unless you know hidden settings and tweaks. So, keep Windows Update under control. Read More * entirely: Buy a computer with the latest Intel, AMD, or Qualcomm processor and install Windows 7 or 8.1. Now Windows Update will no longer work, courtesy of Microsoft.


At least that’s the plan, according to a Knowledge Base article released this month. While this hard block of Windows Update does not seem to be in effect yet, it could have dire consequences. What if you wanted to avoid Windows 10 by installing an old copy of Windows 7 on your new machine?

Whatever your reason for wanting to stay with an older Windows version, you’ll want to receive security-related patches! Let us show you a workaround for installing updates on Windows 7 and 8.1, regardless of your CPU.

*We don’t seriously recommend disabling Windows Update! Although Windows Update can be a pain, we strongly recommend keeping Windows updated!

The Problem: Windows Support Linked to Hardware

Microsoft will support Windows 7 and 8.1 with updates until 2020 and 2023, respectively. However, as of last year, Windows support is limited to certain processor (aka silicon) generations Why Windows 7 Won't Work On Intel's Current & Next Gen CPUs Microsoft doesn't want you to use old Windows versions on new hardware. Users on Intel Skylake processors won't receive updates for Windows 7 after July 2017. And next generation processors will be Windows 10 only. Read More . Specifically, Intel Kaby Lake, Qualcomm 8996, AMD Bristol Ridge, or newer processor generations will receive support for Windows 10 only.

Note that you can still install Windows 7 and 8.1 on those processors! However, when you try to run Windows Update you might soon see an error like this:


Unsupported Hardware
Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows and you won’t receive updates.

You might also run into this error:

Windows could not search for new updates
An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.
Error(s) found:
Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.

To some readers, this may sound like good news, particularly following the latest Windows Update redesign to monthly rollups Windows 7 and 8.1 Now Update Like Windows 10 Your next Windows 7 and 8.1 Update will work a lot like Windows 10. Microsoft will roll all updates for the month into a single update package. It's all or nothing. Let us explain what... Read More . However, an unpatched computer is a disaster waiting to happen.

The fix Microsoft proposes obviously is to upgrade to Windows 10 You Can Still Upgrade to Windows 10 for Free (With a Loophole) If you missed the deadline for the free Windows 10 upgrade, you're in luck because there's still another method you can use -- as long as your conscience allows you to do so. Read More , which you can still do for free using a loophole. But what can you do if you can’t get yourself to upgrade to Windows 10? Maybe one of the following solutions will work for you.

Solution 1: Manually Install Updates

Microsoft maintains an online library of Windows updates called the Microsoft Update Catalog. While the catalog was set up to support the distribution of updates across corporate networks, home users can use it too. Search for your Windows version, sort the results by Last Updated, then download the latest Update Rollups or Security Updates and install the respective package on your system.


Windows Update Won't Work on Windows 7 and 8.1 Running on New Hardware Microsoft Update Catalog Search 670x277

When you click the Download button, a pop-up window will open from where you can download individual EXE, CAB (driver), or MSU (Microsoft Update) files. Open and run these files to apply the respective updates.

Windows Update Won't Work on Windows 7 and 8.1 Running on New Hardware Microsoft Update Catalog Download

If you choose this option, you’ll suddenly appreciate that all Windows updates are now rolled into a single package. The drawback of this method, however, is that you have to remember to check for updates once a month and do it all manually.


Solution 2: Install Updates with WSUS Offline

Rather than manually browsing the Microsoft Update Catalog and gathering updates, we recommend using WSUS Offline. This portable open source tool allows you to update any Windows computer, even when it’s offline. WSUS Offline downloads selected updates from Microsoft servers and it allows you to deploy them to multiple systems.

Step 1: Download Updates

Go ahead and download the most recent version, extract the ZIP file, and run the UpdateGenerator.exe. Next, select which updates you would like to download; for example, Windows 7 x86 for your 32-bit Windows 7 system or Windows 8.1 x64 for your 64-bit Windows 8.1 installation.

Windows Update Won't Work on Windows 7 and 8.1 Running on New Hardware WSUS Offline UpdateGenerator 670x465

Under Options, you can choose to download security only updates rather than full rollups.


To burn the updates to CD / DVD or add them to your Windows installer, choose Create ISO image(s)… and check the appropriate option. If you’d like to transfer the updates to multiple machines, select USB medium > Copy updates for selected products into directory… If you select nothing, WSUS Offline will save the updates locally in the client folder.

Finally, click Start to initiate the download. This will open a command window where you can follow the current status.

Windows Update Won't Work on Windows 7 and 8.1 Running on New Hardware WSUS Offline 02 670x348

This can take a long while.

Step 2: Install Updates

To install the downloaded updates, open UpdateInstaller.exe (find it in the folder wsusoffline > client) on the target PC and check the relevant options under Installation.

Windows Update Won't Work on Windows 7 and 8.1 Running on New Hardware WSUS Offline UpdateInstaller

Also, check Control > Automatic reboot and recall. This option allows the Installer to go through all the motions of installing updates using a temporary user account. To do this, it will temporarily disable the User Account Control (UAC) so that it can proceed without user input.

WSUS Offline doesn’t offer an easy way to automate the entire process. However, you can use the Windows Task Scheduler 7 Nerdy Things You Can Automate with the Windows Task Scheduler The Windows Task Scheduler can automate almost anything. If you can make it happen in a command line or a Windows script, you can schedule it with the Task Scheduler. Let us demonstrate. Read More to launch the Generator a day after Patch Tuesday, followed by the Installer on the next day. Patch Tuesday occurs on the second and, sometimes, the fourth Tuesday of the month.

Update Windows on Your Own Terms

Should enough (Enterprise) users stick to Windows 7 and 8.1, Microsoft might still backtrack on its decision and extend support for new processors. In the meantime, you don’t have to let them ruin the show for you. Install Windows on whatever hardware you please and update it manually.

If all else fails, you could still bite the bullet and switch to Linux. However, you might find that the same hardware that blocks Windows Update for older Windows versions won’t even let you install some versions of Linux Will Linux No Longer Work on Future Windows 10 Hardware? Secure Boot can prevent some Linux distros from booting. On upcoming Windows 10 devices, manufacturers may remove the option to turn off Secure Boot. This will affect Linux Mint and several other popular distros. Read More . It looks like Microsoft really thought this through.

Would you rather upgrade to Windows 10 or continue using old hardware? What options are you considering? Let’s hear in the comments!

Related topics: AMD Processor, CPU, Intel, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Update.

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  1. PlaGeRaN
    March 22, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Glad to see WSUS is finally supporting Windows 10.

    The last time I checked their site, they were still considering their support for it.

    • Tina Sieber
      March 22, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Yeah, the software received an update earlier this year.

  2. Nick
    March 21, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    This is total BS. I work in IT for a living. Do not let this article scare you. Windows 7 updates are working just fine. This is a scare tactic that Microsoft is using to get people to switch to 10. You windows 7 pc is supported until January of 2020.

    • Tina Sieber
      March 21, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      Microsoft's plan is to not support Windows 7 on new hardware by disabling Windows Update. Extended support will continue until 2020 on old hardware. And -- as the article above states -- the Windows Update block hinted to in the KB entry has not yet come into effect.

  3. William Fitchard
    March 20, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    I'm running Win7 which was upgraded from Vista which was upgraded from XP. {Yes I know.... an old machine but it still runs great!)
    I had called Microsoft support and wad told that since the basic platform is XP, I cannot upgrade to 10.
    So as long as I can continue to receive and install updates, I will be running this machine until it dies!

    • Brigid Caomanaig
      March 21, 2017 at 2:18 am

      I upgraded from windows 8 to windows 10, Microsoft decided it was the thing to do....things went well for a while, and then the nightmare began, forced updates are not my cup of tea, lucky for me, my loved one gave me a MacBook Pro for Christmas, problem solved. I'm sooo happy!

      • Tina Sieber
        March 21, 2017 at 11:53 am

        Glad to hear you're enjoying your MacBook! Sounds like it was easy to adapt coming from Windows. Is there anything you miss? And what do you like most?

    • Tina Sieber
      March 21, 2017 at 11:55 am

      William, did you try the free Windows 10 upgrade from Windows 7? Did it not work? Or did Windows not offer you to upgrade in the first place?

      Microsoft will support Windows 7 until 2020. If your machine still works then, you can always install Linux for free and it might run even better than with Windows 7.

      • William Fitchard
        March 21, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        Before attempting to upgrade to win10, I called Microsoft tech support and was told that there would be performance/compatibility issues. Even though I'm running win7, its on XP infrastructure. That's the problem.
        I know 7 will be supported till 2020. I'm sure I'll be replacing my computer before then!

        • Tina Sieber
          March 21, 2017 at 3:22 pm

          Yeah, that makes sense. Depending on your hardware, performance could be an issue or driver support.

          Thank you for sharing!