If you installed Windows 7 using either a DVD, or an earlier ISO image of the Windows 7 installer, you might find yourself waiting for a long time searching for updates to Windows 7, after the installation has completed, and you've run Windows Update. I don't know how typical this issue is, but there seems to be a significant number who experience Windows Update searching seemingly indefinitely without finding, or starting to install updates. Sometimes just waiting long enough is the solution, but here are a list of options a person can try, if they've had Windows Update running for a long time, and they don't want to wait any longer.
The most direct way to update Windows 7, including fixing Windows Update, without actually dealing with Windows Update, is to follow this guide:
Alternatively, it might be to follow the instructions on this web page and use the links it provides to install Servicing Stack update for Windows 7, and then the April 2015 Servicing Pack, and then the Windows 7 SP1 Convenience Rollup: http://www.howtogeek.com/255435/how-to-update-windows-7-all-at-once-with-microsofts-convenience-rollup/
If you already have Service Pack 1 installed, then you can start following the above directions after the part where it says to download and install SP1 and gives a link for it.
Alternatively, if you already have Service Pack 1 installed, and you just want to fix Window Updates, and then get your updates through Windows Update, you can try downloading and installing this update: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3138612, and then running Windows Update. Hopefully Windows Update will find updates quickly after that one update is installed.
Another method to fix Windows Update, if you already have Service Pack 1 installed, is to download and extract this archive, and then install the 4 Windows 7 updates that are contained within it, in order:
Another method is to try to restart the Windows Update service, to see if it will quickly find updates on its own after that. To do this:
1) open cmd (as admin)
2) type "net stop wuauserv" (this will stop windows update )
3) Wait for a few minutes
4) type "net start "wuauserv" (this will start windows update ).
If this doesn't get Windows Update working after one try, it might work after trying a few times.
Beyond those solutions, here are others:
Download WSUS, and use it to update Windows 7: http://download.wsusoffline.net/
"Used in two parts. First it creates a local copy of updates. Then the client part applies it to machine. If you have multiple systems, stick the whole thing on a USB drive and you can move it around to do others, or network it. I find once you have caught up with updates, the Windows built in one runs relatively quickly once again and may find extra optional stuff not included."
Try the steps listed in this thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin/comments/3w1kfp/windows_update_is_broken_for_w7_x64_ent_wsp1_and/cxso3r4
Create your own custom updated Windows 7 installation ISO / DVD that has all the updates you want pre-installed: https://www.raymond.cc/blog/create-an-integrated-up-to-date-windows-7-install-disc/
A clean, 2011-updated (by Microsoft) Windows ISO of either Home, Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise can be obtained from here: http://mirror.corenoc.de/digitalrivercontent.net/
Here is a straight-forward fix for the issue, but it includes installing the April 2016 rollup update for Windows 7 which likely contains the telemetry and data-collection updates that Microsoft back-added into Windows 7 in August 2015 (and for that reason is less desirable): http://www.freenode-windows.org/resources/vista-7/windows-update
Try the things mentioned in the responses to this person asking about the same issue: http://superuser.com/questions/951960/windows-7-sp1-windows-update-stuck-checking-for-updates
You can also look through the troubleshooting information information in this link from Microsoft support: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2509997
Contact Microsoft support about it ( https://support.microsoft.com/contactus ), and choose the Live Chat option. They should be able to force Windows Update to work.
Microsoft has provided convenience roll-up updates that contains all security fixes and non security updates to Windows 7 up till April 2016. You can read about them here: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2016/05/17/simplifying-updates-for-windows-7-and-8-1/
And the direct link to download them is here. But this link only works with newer versions of Internet Explorer:
There are 3 files to download. Two are 476 MB, and one is 316 MB.
Download the update pack from this page and apply it to a Windows 7 installation media: http://forum.oszone.net/thread-257198.html
The page is only in Russian.
My personal recommendation is to find a way to install all the Win 7 updates without using the convenience roll-up updates that MS offers for download on that page, because those convenience roll-up updates include the telemetry updates that Microsoft released for Windows 7 in August - September of 2015, packaged up in a manner that makes them not easily removed from the system, and maybe not possibly removed at all (which is probably why Microsoft made the 2016 "convenience" rolled-up update for Windows 7).
If you download Windows 7 stand-alone update packages outside of Windows Update, and the update process with them doesn't seem to work properly, try this: