Apparently, patches fail to download and affected users simply receive an error message when running Windows Update on their PCs.
However, Microsoft is yet to comment on the issue, which means that Windows 7 users will have to wait until the problem is resolved by the company.
A thread on Microsoft's Answers forum indicates that the issue is widespread.
On the other hand, Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet came across a different error message, which read, " Windows could not search for new updates". Windows Update encountered an unknown error. For now, there are at least two workarounds to fix the broken Windows update system on Windows 7.
The problematic file is found in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\AuthCabs\authcab.cab that contains an XML file called authorization.xml set to expire on 12/3/2017 at 11:59:25 PST.
SOME USERS of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system are complaining that Windows Update has gone to Borksville.
"When I clicked on the Windows Update icon today to start the updates it said that my computer was up to date and that there were no updates available which I know was not the truth because I hadn't installed any of the [recent ones]", one user said. He suggests, based on a user report on his Ask Woody website, that Microsoft may have missed updating the Expiry Date of a file, and that this may be the cause for the update issues.
Usually, a reboot can fix such problems, but that's not the case this time around. Currently, the only temporary solution is to set the date to something older than December 3, 2017, and run Windows Update.
Update: Günter Born discovered that disabling "Give me updates for Microsoft products and check for new optional Microsoft software when I update Windows" in the update settings fixed the issue on his end.
There's been no official announcement or acknowledgement from Microsoft yet, though, so your mileage could vary - but we'd certainly hope that a fix would have been quickly implemented.