This is the thread I started on Microsoft Answers. http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-update/windows-update-gross-failure/205e57c1-d202-4604-bb9e-595117536ac1
shows the timeout errors. Its not up to date, because I'm really tired & want to give you an idea. But I got the idea to do them one at a time & I get "Downloading 0%" and it goes on for 2 hours, then succeeds. With 200+ important updates at 2 hours+ a time this isn't acceptable.
I found another link that went through various things to try & none of them indicated I had a problem. Then I got to a step that suggested I Opt in to a Microsoft Update service or something & now I can't go back to manual install of updates. Windows Update just says "checking for updates" & doesn't even have 0%. Before this happened I had over 200 important updates. I'm also worried that one day I will be forced to update to Windows 10, yuk.
The next thing on the list of things to try was checking your Firewall, which I don't know how to do.