Windows Update is slowness personified

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My main desktop computer dual-boots Linux and Windows. Specifically now, Fedora and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits. I keep Fedora in an old-ish 128 GB Intel SSD that works remarkably well and has more than enough space for what I use it and, until now, I kept Windows in a 500 GB hard drive. Last week, however, I bought a 500 GB Samsung 850 Evo SSD to replace the HDD (it was just €180 from Amazon and had the same capacity). The drive performance is amazing and games load incredibly faster. Actually, everything is incredibly fast now. Except for one thing: Windows Update.

I can’t imagine what Windows Update does to be so slow. Partitions are properly aligned for the SSD and everything’s in place. After installing SP1 it still had around 200 updates to do (196 if I recall correctly), and most of them were small security fixes and updates. In fact, the total download size was around 400 MB, so it averaged just a couple MB per update. Once they were downloaded, it took the system more than 1 hour and 20 minutes to install them, doing nothing else. That’s more than the time it took for the whole system to be installed. In that time I could have installed Fedora from an old image and updated the whole operating system and applications.

To put thing in perspective, AnandTech reviewed this hard drive and the slowest operation benchmarked was 4KB random reads at 104 MB/second. In 1 hour and 20 minutes it could have random-read around 500 GB, that is, the whole hard drive. I’m unable to imagine what makes Windows Update so slow. It also takes ages to find new updates, even if downloading them takes a few seconds and the servers are able to saturate my download bandwidth (100 Mbps).

By the way, after upgrading I signed up for the free upgrade to Windows 10. I can only hope Windows Update or its equivalent performs better there. Anyway, I feel good after writing the rant.

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