How to Fix: Disable 'Unsupported Hardware' Error when attempting to Download Windows Updates

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Sam T. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently upgraded my motherboard and CPU to the Intel Core i7 7700k processor which is very fast! I loaded Windows 7 onto the machine and everything was working great - that is, until I went to check for Windows Updates and I received the error: 'Unsupported Hardware / Your PC uses a processor that is designed for the latest version of Windows. Because the processor is not supported together with the Windows version that you are currently using, your system will miss important security updates.' Is there any way to prevent this 'unsupported hardware' error message so I can keep getting Windows Updates? "

My response:

The reason you are receiving the "unsupported hardware" error message is because Microsoft is trying to push all of its customers to Windows 10.

That said: if you don't download all the latest Windows Updates (which include security patches), then your system will be at risk for hacking, as is the case with the latest WannaCry Internet worm which has recently infected an estimated 300,000+ PCs world-wide in a very short span of time. In this instance, the worm infects machines instantaneously (as long as it's connected to the Internet), then encrypts all the files on the system and demands a $300 USD ransom. If the ransom isn't paid, in two weeks, the ransom is doubled to $600 USD. If still no ransom paid, files are reportedly deleted.

From a technical perspective, it makes sense that Microsoft is pushing users to use Windows 10 because it is by far the most robust and most secure Windows operating system to date. That said, not everyone wants to run Windows 10 for various reasons.

How to Fix: Disable 'Unsupported Hardware' Error when attempting to Download Windows Updates

I did a bit of research on this issue and from what I understand, there is a 'windows update kill switch' built into a number of Windows Update KB patches that prevent you from downloading updates if you have a newer processor. Effected processors are: Intel 7th generation processors, including Sky Lake and Kabylake architecture, and the new AMD Ryzen processor line.

After more digging, I came across a website on github with an author named 'Zeffy' who has managed to scan for the programming code (kill switch) in Windows Update patches. From there, he's managed to reverse engineer his own patch which disables the kill switch. Zeffy's patches currently work on: Windows 7 x64 and x32, and Windows 8.1 x64 and x32.

You can download the patches here in .ZIP format (see: Downloads heading). You will need to unzip the files, then right click over top of the batch file called "aio-wuaueng.dll-patch_v0.5rc2" and select "Run as Administrator". This will run the batch file and patch the system. Once that is complete, you will need to reboot the system and then attempt to download Windows Update again. But, before you do that, please read the "Things to Consider Before you Patch" heading below.

For reference: Microsoft KB's that contain the Windows Update kill switch (as noted on this page) for Windows 7 include: KB4012218, KB4012218, KB4015546, KB4015549, KB4015552, KB4019264, KB4015546, KB4015549, KB4015552, KB4019264, KB4019265, and KB4019265; for Windows 8: KB4012219, KB4012219, KB4015547, KB4015550, KB4015553, KB4019215, KB4019217, KB4015547, KB4015550, KB4015553, KB4019215, and KB4019217.

IMPORTANT: Things to Consider Before you Patch

Please note that when you patch your system in this manner, a number of things will happen:

  1. As noted on the author's website: any time the Windows Update .DLL file (wuaueng.dll) gets updated, you will have to re-patch your system. There isn't a mechanism in place to tell you when this .DLL gets updated, though likely what will happen is that your Windows Update will stop working and you will receive the "Unsupported Hardware" error again.
     
  2. Also noted by the author: most likely your system will fail the 'sfc /scannow' test, which is used to fix a Windows system when it is corrupted. In this case, you may not be able to fix corrupted system files. As such you will need to rely on disk image backups, and roll back your disk image any time things go wonky.
     
  3. Based on my experience with another type of patch for termsrv.dll using RDPWRapper (which is not at all related to the "unsupported hardware" error, but essentially we're dealing with similar circumstances here) - you are at the mercy of the author who creates these patches.

    Put another way: if Microsoft releases a Windows Update that messes up the patch created by Zeffy, then you will simply have to wait until Zeffy releases yet another set of patches to fix the issue. This can take days to weeks and possibly months to fix, or Zeffy may decide he's no longer interested in the project and drops all support for it. At this point you will have to find another way to go about patching your system, if it's at all possible.

Based on that you may want to reconsider using Windows 10. In my own opinion, Windows 10 works very good now and can be configured to work similar to Windows 7, with a Windows 7-style Start menu put in place, the Windows 10 spying disabled, and various other things tweaked. It really isn't all that bad, plus Windows 10 will be supported (with security patches) longer than Windows 7 will be, which is always welcome news.

Help Updating to Windows 10 (free)

If you need help updating your system to Windows 10, I am more than happy to assist you using my remote desktop support service. In most cases I can upgrade you to Windows 10 without having to pay for Windows 10 (there are ways to still make the free upgrade possible, though it is tricky). Also, in most cases it is possible to keep all your installed programs during the upgrade. I have done this for many of my customers; if this is of any interest to you, simply contact me briefly describing your issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

I hope that helps.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

Rate this article: 
Average: 4.9 (10 votes)