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Windows 7 Virtual Machine

So often, procrastination pays off for me. But not this time. Windows 7 Support has ended but I still have Windows 7 machines, and truth be told, I prefer Windows 7 over Windows 10 by a long shot. Unfortunately now, finding all the tools needed to update Windows 7 as much as can has become tough. Links and files are disappearing off Microsoft’s site. To add insult to injury, in the move to Florida, I managed to lose the documentation with all my software keys. All this adds up to a bitch of a time creating a couple Windows VMs.

Windows Activation

First off, here is the key I used: KKM7J-3FTW3-XTRDY-P7GQJ-FBGQC Of course it would not validate even though I know this key is good (it came from a working machine). It is very likely this is the very reason it would not validate. However, I was lucky enough to stumble into a process using the “Other forms of Validation” that led me to making a phone call, followed by being texted a link to get a new, even longer number to re-validate my key. Here is that code:

A - 405024
B - 215312
C - 741243
D - 256752
E - 789730
F - 633873
G - 256945
H - 278580

Update to Service Pack 1

Unfortunately, even though I now had a valid license, attempts to run Windows Update failed. I vaguely recall Windows 7 going through a couple phases where you had to update the update tool and other related tools. This seems to be often referred to as the Windows 7 Fix It Tool. This is where things started to suck. The Microsoft Answer pages are still out there, but the links to the needed update files are dead. It should also be noted the version of Internet Explorer was version 8, which is part of the problem.

Eventually, I stumbled upon a link to the Microsoft Catalog that contained a Stand Alone version of Windows 7 SP1. Oh, I should also mentioned I downloaded the latest Chrome browser. Internet Explorer 8 was almost unusable.

I guess I should have mentioned I am working with the 32bit version of Windows 7. This was not my preference, but the active installs I happened to have of Windows 7 where the 32 bit versions. As I mentioned above, my records of other Activation Keys (like the Windows 7 Ultimate x64) are lost, possibly to all time.

Fortunately, the link above included a link for Windows 7 SP1. It included two files. One small msu and the other, a large executable (SP1). Downloading these in the VM and running them worked. Reboot required of course.

Windows Updates

Bummer though, Windows Update still did not work, so more googling…

Eventually, I found another site (like the Hackintosh related site) chock full of pop-ups. However, it reminded me to download and install Internet Explorer:

Still not working, but as it turns out, just one more step away. Next was to install fix KB3102810

Select the appropriate update and reboot.

Now, the article I was referencing at RepairWin Site also mentioned maybe needing to rebuild/repair the download directory structure. I did not have to do this. I fired up Windows Update and it seems to be working.

P.S. Be sure to watch for the Microsoft Security Essentials install wizard. It hides behind the main Windows Update window.

Another note. At some point I got four updates (3 important, 1 optional) and all failed. I also noticed I was building up quite a collection of other failed updates. I manually updated (downloaded the standalone update from the catalog again) for update KB4490628. That fixed at least those four failed updates.

Failed Updates

When I looked through the Update history, I counted exactly 40 failed updates. This spawned an inner dialog wherein I discussed with myself just how much I cared about Windows updates. I allowed myself a little googling and ran across a comment pointing out most failed updates are due to some underlying problem, like perhaps some other update that failed or got skipped for some reason. Recall I mentioned Windows 7 did have a couple hiccups in their update scheme that required manual updates of the update service. The commentor went on to say once you fix the glitch, Windows will often find the failed update and try again. The key was to look at the Installed Updates List to see if appeared there. If so, you were good to go.

So I decided to give it a try. I sorted the Update History by status so all the Failed updates would be together so I could get the KB number and search for it in the Installed Updates list. It turns out, this was a slightly sub-optimal approach. Had I sorted it by name first, and then scrolled down until I saw a status of fail, I would have eliminated many of the failed installs right quick because right above the failed install message was a successful install. That would have left me with a much shorter list to search through the Installed Updates list. It also turns out, a handful or so of packages showed successful install in the Install History but did NOT show up in the Installed Updates list. Go figure…

So, searching for the remaining KB numbers showed a few more actually in the Installed Updates list. I can only assume this was due to the package also being in some roll-up bundle. The end result, was about 7 packages that seem to have failed.

KB#Error CodeTypeUpdate Name
KB27294528007000EImportantSecurity Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1 on Windows 7 SP1 x86
KB27896458007000EImportantSecurity Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1 on Windows 7 SP1 x86
KB30314328007000EImportantSecurity Update for Windows 7
KB31707358007000ERecommendedUpdate for Windows 7
KB451606580242016Important2019-09 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 for x86-based Systems
KB453431080242016Important2020-01 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 for x86-based Systems

Turns out, none of these seem to need installed. Even though it does not appear in the Installed Updates list, KB3031432 reported as already being installed. All others popped up a message saying they did not apply to my system. It is possible they were superseded by other updates that got installed, basically, out of order.


By all appearances, I now have a fully working, patched up Windows 7 virtual machine! So long as I don’t lose it, I can just keep cloning this one and never need to rebuild this again. I will keep the needed downloads, however, just in case.

Now, on to getting a current Windows 10 VM. On the ToDo list:

  • Download media – check
  • Create and install VM – check
  • Activate using a known working Activation Key – not yet…