The last Service packs for the Windows 7 and Window Server 2008 R2 were published in 2011. After more than five years Microsoft published over 230 important updates. Installing those updates on a freshly installed computer will take more than an hour. In most instances we need even two hours to completely update the computer.
We can speed up the whole process with an offline updating solutions. However, we will shorten the whole process down to the time need to download all those updates. It will be good if we can also significantly shorten the installation time.
There are two answers to this problem. We can either slipstream (integrate) all updates into the installation or we can install the Convenience Update. I will speak about the first method in another post. Let me introduce the unofficial Service Pack 2 (SP2).
Users around the world were waiting for years for the Service Pack 2. In the April 2016 Microsoft eventually publish the super patch that contains all security updates published after Service Pack 1. This update can be installed on a newly installed computer and update it with all major updates in a fraction of the time requested for regular update.
Microsoft named this update the Convenience Update. As this update consists only of security updates and omitting all other updates, including IE11, it is not a real Service Pack 2. However, it contains more than 170 updates that will be installed in a single process.
This update is not available through the Windows Update channel. You can download it from the Microsoft Catalog website. You need to install one update before it and this can be done on the clean, freshly installed, Windows 7 SP1 or Server 2008 R2 SP1 computer.
Bear in mind that you must have the Service Pack 1 installed on the computer before installation of this “SP2” update. Moreover, it is highly recommended that you turn off the automatic updates, as I described in this post.
Step One – the Servicing stack update
We need to download the prerequisite update KB3020369. In case you are trying to download it from a computer with IE8, here are the links for direct download for the 32-bit and 64-bit computer. The 64-bit version is same for both the Windows 7 x64 SP1 and the Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.
This is a regular update in a single msu file. We can run this file manually from either the local hard disk or from the USB pen drive. It will check the environment and prompt us to install this update.
The installation process itself will take a couple of minutes. Be patient with the installation process.
When the update finishes we do not need to restart the computer. We can proceed immediately onto the second step.
Step two – Installation of the “SP2”
We just prepared our computer for the installation of the “Service pack 2”. As you can see, we didn’t apply any other update except the Servicing stack update.
You should visit the Microsoft Catalog web page to download this update. You can read more about it on this page. It’s very convenient that you can access the Microsoft Catalog web page even if you have just IE8 on the computer.
The Microsoft Catalog web page requests installation of the ActiveX component on your computer. Therefore, you need to right-click on the blue ribbon and choose the option Install This Add-on for All Users on This Computer…
It will take a few seconds to install this control and then we can enter the Microsoft Catalog web site. We can see all updates that are available here.
As you can see, we can download three updates. Although offered two downloads for the Windows 7 x64 and Windows 2008 R2, those update are the same. Choose all the updates that you need. As we discussed earlier, you can download both version on the USB pen drive and later apply them from that disk.
Click on the [ Add ] button to the right of every update you need. For this demonstration we will download only the 32-bit version, as our virtual machine for this test is 32-bit. However, the principle is the same for both versions.
When you selected all necessary updates, you can view the contents of the basket. Please, click on the text view basket to open the download basket.
If you’re satisfied with your choice, click on the button [ Download ] to start the download process. This process will last some time and that depends on the speed of your Internet link.
After a couple of the minutes, our download will be ready. Our new Service Pack 2 update will be placed inside the folder Update for Windows 7 (KB3125574). This folder is placed inside your download folder. Open it and you will find the update itself.
It’s time to run it and apply all those updates inside the computer. We will run it with double click. It will check the environment and prerequisites. This process will last for a few minutes. When it finishes, you will see the dialog window prompting you to install the update.
We will accept this and the installation will begin. The whole process of the installation lasts on my demo system around 10 minutes. That time can vary between the systems. However, this is significantly shorter than usual process of the installation.
When the process finishes, we must restart the computer, as all those updates inside need to update different system files.
The computer will begin the restart process and the Windows Update service will begin to change different files inside the Windows system. This phase will take a couple of minutes. Just be patient and let the computer finish it’s job.
After the computer reboots, we can apply the Windows Updates service update. It’s better to install the Rollup Update and with it the latest version of the Window Updates client. Moreover, we can update the Internet Explorer to version 11.
Checking the updates
We will now check for any remaining updates. We can change the Windows Updates settings back to Automatic or any other option we prefer. Even without that, we can manually initiate the check from the Windows Update site.
In our case, without updating Internet Explorer, we need to install 62 important updates. From those updates, 4 are related to the .net 3.5.1 platform and about 20 are security updates. Instead of about 230 updates in total, we need to install just a small number of them.
This process will be much faster and we will also avoid the update failures that often happens when we need to install too many updates at the same time. We can download all those new updates and then we can run the whole update process from the USB drive.