Since I heard that about the new ransomware attack and the related Windows patch, I thought it would be a good idea to see if my computer had the patch from March.
When I went to check this, I had completely forgotten that I turned off automatic Windows updates downloads when Windows Update was trying to install Windows 10 (so that was about two years ago by now), so I didn't have the March patch, or many, many, many other security updates. The Windows Updates page within Control Panel had a giant list of updates I could download. Somehow, and I'm not sure how, this list has disappeared, and now all that I can see on the left sidebar is "Check for updates," "Change settings," "View update history," and "Restore hidden updates."
Several hours ago I pressed "Check for updates," and it has been "checking" for updates since then.
In addition, I found the download link for the KB4012216/KB4012213 patch on Microsoft's website and downloaded it. When I tried to install it, a Windows Update Standalone Installer popped up and said "Searching for updates on this computer." Just like with Windows Update, it's been doing this for several hours.
I should note that for the past year or two, whenever I try to update Windows Defender, it hangs and never finishes updating.
I've posted about my laptop (Windows 8.1, 64 bit) in previous posts on Bleeping Computer -- it's the same one I'm dealing with now. I have never reinstalled Windows or anything like that; I use my computer for browsing the internet and I only use a handful of programs (photo editing, video editing, etc.) so I'm not well-versed in how I should go about fixing this.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.