Fix: Windows 7 ESU system does not find updates

win7 [English]Today another small blog post about Extended Security Updates support (ESU) for Windows 7 SP1 and Server 2008 R2. I encountered the problem last year. Despite a valid ESU license, my Windows 7 SP1 production system wouldn't pull updates, nothing showed up. At the end of the day there was a surprising solution.


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What is ESU?

On 14.1.2020 Windows 7 SP1 reached the end of support – and there are no more security updates by default. However, corporate customers have the option to buy an ESU license for Windows 7 SP1 to continue receiving security updates between January 2020 and January 2023 at the latest. Microsoft has announced Extended Security Updates (ESU) support for this as a separate program for corporate customers (see Wow! Windows 7 get extended support until January 2023). ESU licenses are available for the following operating systems:

  • Windows 7 SP1
  • Windows 7 Professional for Embedded Systems
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 SP2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 for Embedded Systems and Windows Server 2008 SP2 for Embedded Systems

The first year of ESU support has expired in January 2021. I have a machine running WIndows 7 SP1 Ultimate here with an ESU license for 2020 and now 2021 (I had referred to the ESU package for the second year in the blog post Windows 7: Buy and manage ESU licenses – Part 1). 

Home users can use a solution like BypassESU, a solution created by a community enthusiast to get security updates for Windows 7 SP1 as well. In the blog post Windows 7: Forcing February 2020 Security Updates – Part 1, I had given some hints about this solution. Other blog posts like Windows 7 Sept. 2020 Updates: BypassESU v8 required also deal with the issue.

My system does not find updates

My Windows 7 SP1 was pulling security updates from Microsoft without any problems until January 2020. But after that, only security updates for Windows Defender came when I checked for updates in Windows Update. I had installed the ESU license in January 2020 and also activated it correctly (see Windows 7: Preparing for ESU and license activation – Part 2). Also post-processing such as the installation of various preparation updates, etc. (see Windows 7: ESU questions and more answers – Part 4) did not help.

The only thing that worked: I was able to download security updates from the Microsoft Update Catalog and then install them manually. That was the proof that the ESU license was recognized as valid by the system. I have tried various approaches for two months. The solution then fell off quasi incidentally in late 2020 / early 2021. Because at some point I had to realize that I could no longer install any programs under Windows 7 on this system. There was an error message that the files could not be saved.

As part of this troubleshooting, I then also reset the Windows Update component store. This folder is where the downloaded update packages are stored. As outlined in the article Windows 10: Upgrade Error 0x80244019, to reset the component store, various services need to be stopped and then the folder:


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C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution

may be renamed to SoftwareDistribution.old. After a restart Windows creates the folder again.  I was quite amazed when Windows 7 SP1 told me after a short time that security updates were found for installation. The approach should also help if BypassESU doesn't find updates.

Similar article:
Wow! Windows 7 get extended support until January 2023
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates buyable from April 2019
Microsoft offers Windows 7 Extended Update Support to SMBs
Prices for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates till 2023
Windows 7: Free Extended Update Support and usage
Windows 7: Office 365 ProPlus Updates till 2023
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) requirements
Windows 7 Extended Security Update (ESU) program available
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) program, price and source for SMEs

Windows 7: Buy and manage ESU licenses – Part 1
Windows 7: Preparing for ESU and license activation – Part 2
Windows 7: ESU Activation in Enterprise Environment – Part 3
Windows 7: ESU questions and more answers – Part 4

Windows 7: Forcing February 2020 Security Updates – Part 1
Windows 7: Securing with the 0patch solution – Part 2

Windows 7/Server 2008/R2: 0patch delivers security patches after support ends


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3 Responses to Fix: Windows 7 ESU system does not find updates

  1. microfix says:

    I stopped using Windows Update in March 2020 and prevented Windows Update from operation via GP settings. Once this was done, stopped the following: BITS and Cryptographic Services then proceeded to delete the entire contents of the SoftwareDistribution folder.
    That would explain why I've not seen an issue with ESU patches, as I have been obtaining ESU patches solely from the MSFT catalog.

    Benefits = No Windows Update that also frees prevents the use of unecessary system resources (which can be switched back on if ever needed again), a reduced OS footprint of 786mb x86 and over 1Gb in x64 , hence WIndows 7 runs like a charm.

  2. P.D. says:

    Windows Update Alternative #2: 0Patch.com
    $27 USD vs. $140 USD,, and far more responsive. Also minus the bugs and foul-ups FROM the updates.

    • guenni says:

      If you search the blog for 0patch, you will find a lot of articles about that stuff – beside the last link at the articles end above.

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