Quick Fix: Windows update pending install [Windows 10 & 11]

by Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Windows & Software Expert
Madalina has been a Windows fan ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP computer. She is interested in all things technology, especially emerging technologies... read more
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  • When you see the Windows update pending install message, the updates don't actually install.
  • A solution to how to install pending updates in Windows 10 is to enable the Automatic Updates immediate installation feature.
  • Another good solution is to make some system changes by using a dedicated command-line app.
  • A last resort measure is to run the Windows Update reset script.
windows 10 update pending install

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Windows 10 updates are automatically downloaded when available and are usually installed automatically. However, some users reported the downloaded updates‘ status to be pending.

It seems that the updates simply stay idle and never actually install.

One user on Microsoft Answers described the issue as follows:

I did a Check for Updates and there are several available. There is no Install Now button or anything like that. How can I force the update program to download and install these pending updates?

In order to fix this issue, we managed to come up with a few solutions that you should try.

How do I fix a Windows 10 pending install error?

1. Enable Automatic Updates immediate installation

  1. Press the Windows logo key + R on your keyboard, type services.msc in the Run box, and hit Enter to open the Services window.
    services.msc run window windows 10 update pending install
  2. Right-click Windows Update and select Proprieties.
    properties windows update service windows 10 update pending install
  3. Set the Startup type to Automatic from the drop-down menu and click OK.
    startup type automatic windows 10 update pending install
  4. Right-click Background Intelligent Transfer Service and select Proprieties.
  5. Set the Startup type to Automatic from the drop-down menu and click OK.
  6. Right-click the Cryptographic Service option and select Proprieties.
  7. Set the Startup type to Automatic from the drop-down menu and click OK.
  8. Restart your PC and see if it fixed the issue.

2. Make system changes using Command Prompt

Type cmd in the search box, then click on Run as administrator under Command Prompt to run it with elevated privileges.

Now you have to input the following commands in the Command Prompt, pressing Enter after each:

net stop wuauserv
net stop cryptSvc
net stop bits
net stop msiserver
ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 catroot2.old
net start wuauserv
net start cryptSvc
net start bits
net start msiserver

You can also automate this process and make it a lot faster by using the Windows Update reset script.

How do I remove unfinished Windows updates?

Resetting the update file, as shown above, is a good way to delete pending, failed, or otherwise unsuccessful updates. Here are some more useful tips you can try.

How to remove pending install updates in Windows 10

  1. Empty the SoftwareDistribution folder. To do that, use the File Explorer to reach this path: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
  2. Within the folder, use the CTRL + A shortcut on your keyboard to select all contents and click Delete.
  3. Alternatively, you can remove the pending.xml file here: C:\Windows\WinSxS\
  4. Finally, you can also try to remove the temporary files and see if that helps.
  5. To do that, press the Win + R keys to bring up the Run menu.
  6. Type in the following command: %temp%
  7. Once the Temporary folder opens, select all the files within and delete them.

Insufficient storage capacity can also cause pending updates. If a button indicating “Windows needs more space” appears, it means you don’t have enough space to store an update, which is why it’s critical to free up some space. This article will assist you in freeing up some space on your Windows device.

We hope that our solutions could help you with the Windows update pending issue. If you liked this article, leave a comment in the comment section below.

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